Michael Franti And Spearhead Premiere Latest LP’s Lead Single

Courtesy: Fantasy Records

Courtesy: Fantasy Records

Michael Franti and Spearhead will release their latest full-length studio recording this summer.  The album, Soulrocker, is currently scheduled to be released Friday, June 3rd in stores and online.  Ahead of the album’s release the duo debuted one of the album’s songs over the weekend.

‘We Are All Earthlings’ was debuted this past Friday in honor of Earth Day.  The song, Franti explains, is a tribute to all of the people of the planet and to the planet itself.  “I believe in making music for one reason, which is, I care about people and the planet,” he said.  ‘We Are All Earthlings’ is a song that honors the beauty and importance of every single living thing on this Earth; a reminder that we are ALL Earthlings and we are in this together.”  Audiences can stream the song online now via Soundcloud.  The song was released in partnership with the Earth Day Network.  Earth Day Network representative Tim McHugh discussed the song’s premiere and its importance in spreading the message of concer for the Earth to more people.  “Earth Day is the single largest worldwide environmental event each year,” McHugh said.  And each year something special happens to set it apart and move our cause just a little bit further down the road. This year we are glad to be able to partner with Michael Franti and his incredible new song ‘We Are All Earthlings.’ It will help us reach out and communicate to new groups of people and make our common concern for the earth just that much more vital and powerful.”

Along with the song’s stream Franti also recently released a mini-documentary titled Why I Make Music.  The presentation backs up Franti’s words, proving that he not only talks the talk but walks the walk, too.  Audiences can view the program now online via Franti’s official YouTube channel.

Michael Franti and Spearhead recently wrapped the first leg of their tour in support of Soulrocker and is taking some time off before heading back out on the road on Friday, May 27th in Napa, California. The duo’s upcoming tour currently runs through Sunday, August 28th in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The pair’s current tour schedule is noted below.

 

CATCH MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD ON TOUR:
 
^ w/ Chali 2na & The Funk Hunters
* w/ G. Love & Special Sauce
** w/ Zella Day
 
DATE                          CITY                                       VENUE
Fri
4/22
New Orleans, LA
Nolafunk Jazzfest Series @ Republic
Sat
4/23
Oxford, MS
Double Decker Arts Festival
Sun
4/24
Atlanta, GA
Sweetwater 420 Festival
Fri
5/27
Napa, CA
BottleRock Music Festival
Sun
5/29
Monterey, CA
California Roots Music and Arts Festival
Thu
6/2
Jim Thorpe, PA
Penn’s Peak
Fri
6/3
Pittsburgh, PA
Three Rivers Festival
Sun
6/5
Hunter, NY
Mountain Jam
Sun
6/12
Russell Township, OH
LaurelLive
^Wed
6/15
Portland, ME
Thompson’s Point
^Thu
6/16
Boston, MA
House of Blues
^Fri
6/17
Silver Spring, MD
The Fillmore
Sat
6/18
Stratton, VT
Wanderlust Festival
^Sun
6/19
Philadelphia, PA
The Fillmore
^Tue
6/21
Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor Summer Festival
^Wed
6/22
Grand Rapids, MI
Meijer Gardens
Fri
6/24
Des Moines, IA
Simon Estes Amphitheater
Sat
6/25
St. Paul, MN
Twin Cities Jazz Fest
^Sun
6/26
Bayfield, WI
Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua
^Tue
6/28
Chicago, IL
Concord Music Hall
Thu
6/30
Milwaukee, WI
Summerfest
Sat
7/2
Ottawa, ON
Ottawa Jazz Festival
Fri
7/29
Kaslo, BC
Kaslo Jazz Festival
Wed
8/3
Costa Mesa, CA
Pacific Amphitheatre*
Thu
8/4
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mammoth Festival**
Fri
8/5
Flagstaff, AZ
Pepsi Amphitheater**
Sat
8/6
Durango, CO
Three Springs**
Sun
8/7
Morrison, CO
Red Rocks Amphitheatre**
Tue
8/9
Salt Lake City, UT
Red Butte Garden
Thu
8/11
Bend, OR
Les Schwab Amphitheater**
Fri
8/12
Troutdale, OR
Edgefield**
Sat
8/13
Tamarack, ID
The Huckleberry Jam
Tue
8/16
Missoula, MT
Big Sky Brewing Company**
Wed
8/17
Spokane, WA
Knitting Factory Concert House**
Fri
8/19
Lake Tahoe, NV
MontBleu Resort & Casino**
Sat
8/20
Lincoln, CA
Thundervibes
Thu
8/25
San Luis Obispo, CA
Avila Beach Resorts**
Fri
8/26
Las Vegas, NV
Brooklyn Bowl**
Sat
8/27
Tucson, AZ
The Rialto Theatre**
Sun
8/28
Santa Fe, NM
The Santa Fe Opera House**

 

Soulrocker will be available in stores and online on Friday, Jun e 3rd.  It can be pre-ordered now via iTunes, Amazon, and Michael Franti’s official online store.  It is available in a variety of bundles at Franti’s store.  Those that pre-order the album now via iTunes and Amazon will get an instant download of ‘We Are All Earthlings.’  More information on Soulrocker is available online now along with all of the latest news on Michael Franti and Spearhead’s tour, the duo’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.michaelfranti.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/michaelfranti

 

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.

Soilwork Announces Upcoming Dates With Arch Enemy

Courtesy:  Nuclear Blast Records

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Soilwork has announced a handful of new live dates for this summer.

Soilwork, currently touring in support of its latest album The Ride Majestic, will open for Arch Enemy on a handful of its upcoming European dates this summer.  The band’s schedule with Arch Enemy runs from Monday, August 21st to Thursday, August 24th.  That stretch is followed by a headlining date by Soilwork on Friday, August 25th in London, England.  As noted by the band’s front man Bjorn “Speed” Strid, the tour marks the first time since Ozzfest 2005 that both bands have shared the stage.  “We are very excited to announce this UK run together with our fellow Swedes in Arch Enemy. For the first time since Ozzfest 2005, we are once again sharing the stage!,” he said.  “It will be one hell of a riff-and shred fest, ladies and gents! We’re also announcing a special one off headline show at the Underworld in London on August 25th. It’s been a long time coming… do not miss out! See you in August!”

Tickets for the upcoming shows go on sale today, April 25th, at 9am.  They can be purchased online at seetickets.com.  The complete schedule for Soilwork’s tour with Arch Enemy is listed below.

 

21st August: (Support to Arch Enemy) Norwich -Waterfront

22nd August (Support to Arch Enemy) Sheffield – Corporation

23rd August (Support to Arch Enemy) Cardiff –Tramshed

24th August (Support to Arch Enemy) Southampton – Engine Rooms

25th August: (HEADLINE) London – The Underworld (tickets)

 

The Ride Majestic is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online via Nuclear Blast Records’ online store, and downloaded via iTunes, Amazon, and Nuclear Blast’s digital store.  Audiences can check out the videos for two of the album’s singles—‘Death in General,’ ‘Enemies in Fidelity,’—and the lyric video for the album’s title track via Nuclear Blast’s official YouTube channel.  More information on Soilwork’s upcoming tour, album, music, and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.soilwork.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/soilwork

 

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.

Holy Grail Announces New Headlining Tour Schedule

Holy Grail has announced a new slate of tour dates.

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

The band has announced that it will embark on an extensive new headlining tour beginning late next month in Las Vegas, NV.  The tour currently runs through June 18th in San Diego, California.  It also includes a performance in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Maywood Tavern on Sunday, June 5th.  Also along for the ride on this tour will be Devildriver, Hemlock, Incite, and Savage Master.  While fans wait for the band’s new schedule to launch next month, they can check out the video for the song ‘Sudden Death’ online now via Prosthetic Records’ official YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6Y2VY7bWGM.  The song is taken from the band’s latest album Times of Pride and Peril.  It can be purchased in stores and online via iTunes, Amazon, BandCamp, and Prosthetic Records’ online store.

 

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

 

The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

HOLY GRAIL TOUR DATES
4/27 Las Vegas, NV – Vinyl &
4/28 Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Bar (w/ Incite only)
4/29 Boise, ID – Knitting Factory & 
4/30 Seattle, WA – Studio Seven & 
5/1 Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory & 
5/3 Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theatre & 
5/5 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room & 
5/6 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave &
5/8 Flint, MI – Machine Shop & 
5/9 Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts & 
5/10 Nashville, TN – Exit/In &  
5/11 Grand Rapids, MI  – The Stache & 
5/13 Tulsa, OK – Downtown Lounge
5/28 Fullerton, CA – Slidebar #
5/29 Phoenix, AZ – Pub Rock #
5/31 Austin, TX – The Dirty Dog #
6/1 Dallas, TX – The Rail Club #
6/2 Houston, TX – Walters # 
6/3 New Orleans, LA – Siberia # 
6/4 Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn # 
6/5 Raleigh, NC – Maywood Tavern #
6/7 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus # 
6/8 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie # 
6/9 Worcester, MA – Ralphs #
6/10 Clifton Park, NY – Trickshots #
6/13 Columbus, OH – Park Street Saloon & 
6/14 St. Louis, MO – Fubar & 
6/16 Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater & 
6/17 Window Rock, AZ – Window Rock Sports Center & 
6/18 San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick & 
& with DevilDriver, Incite & Hemlock 
# with Savage Master 

More information on Holy Grail’s upcoming tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.holygrailofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/holygrailband

 

 

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.

Paramount, CBS DVD’s New Hogan’s Heroes Series Set Is Enjoyable Even Being A Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Paramount Studios Home Entertainment/CBS DVD

Courtesy: Paramount Studios Home Entertainment/CBS DVD

CBS DVD and Paramount have been on quite the roll in the past year or so.  Between April and November of 2015 the two companies partnered to turn out no fewer than nine of CBS’ classic series in their full-series sets.  A small handful of those releases were first time releases while a number of others were re-issues including: JAG: The Complete Series, I Love Lucy: The Complete Series, Walker Texas Ranger: The Complete Series, and Star Trek The Original Series just to name a handful of those titles.  There were even re-issues of all eight seasons of The Andy Griffith Show in their own standalone sets courtesy of Paramount.  As busy as Paramount and CBS DVD proved to be in 2015, one would think that the companies would pull back a little bit this year.  That apparently has not been the case.  The Andy Griffith Show was re-issued in whole this past February on DVD.  And earlier this month another classic CBS series—Hogan’s Heroes—was re-issued (again) on DVD.  It marked the third time since 2007 that the series had been released in whole on DVD.  Even despite this it is still another welcome addition to any classic TV buff’s home DVD library.

Paramount and CBS DVD’s latest re-issue of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series is not the first release of the classic sitcom.  It is the third time since 2007 that the series has been released in full on DVD.  Despite this it is still a welcome addition to any classic TV buff’s home DVD library.  It is just as welcome in the library of any of the series’ fans that might perhaps not already own the series in its entirety.  For those that perhaps have never had the pleasure of enjoying Hogan’s Heroes the series’ writing behind the series is the central point of this box set’s presentation.  This applies both to the show’s premise and the stories within its episodes.  The premise presents a group of Allied POWs (led by Col. Robert Hogan), in a Nazi concentration camp that is helping the Allies defeat the Nazis.  They also help other Allied forces escape the Nazis along the way.  All the while Hogan and his band of misfits generate plenty of laughs as they outsmart Col. Klink and his bumbling head of security Sgt. Schultz in order to accomplish their missions.  All of this is important to note because over the course of its nearly six years on the air (It aired from September 17th, 1965 – April 4th, 1971.  That is just short of six years) there was nothing like it on the air.  This includes both the huge variety of sitcoms that populated television’s then limited channels and its dramas, as well.  Even more interesting is that the series, thanks to its premise, caused its own share of controversy because of its playful, lighthearted approach to the life of POWs in WWII-era Germany.  Thankfully though, that controversy has turned to appreciation over the years since the series presented Klink, Schultz, and the rest of the Germans as being rather dumb and gullible.  It is the American equivalent of the propaganda films used by the Axis forces during the war.  Sure, it came along two decades after the end of the war.  But one could argue that since it came along during the Vietnam War, it actually could have served, in its own right, to be a way for people to get escape the tragedies of one war with a comical approach to another war.  That’s probably a stretch on the part of this critic.  Regardless it was—and is—still an original premise.  For that reason alone, the premise behind the series makes it an important part of the series’ writing.  It is just one part of the writing that makes this element so important in the series’ presentation.

The premise behind Hogan’s Heroes is in itself hugely important to the series’ presentation.  That is because in comparison to other series of the time, it was just one more series that made television so great in what has become known as television’s golden age.  That is because it was unlike its counterparts at the time much in the same way that those series were unlike other series at the time.  It’s just one part of what makes the series’ writing so important to its presentation.  The stories that were crafted for each of the series’ one hundred sixty-eight episodes are just as important to the series’ presentation as the series’ premise.  Over the course of its nearly two hundred episodes, the series’ writers came up time and again with totally original stories that kept the series fresh and entertaining.  “Kommandant Schultz” (Season 6) is just one example of what makes the series’ episodes so entertaining.  This episode puts Schultz in charge of Stalag 13 for a short period of time in order to train him how to be a commanding officer.  The reason for the training is that Hitler had requested all NCOs in every camp be trained.  The end result is a story line that while tried and true, is still just as entertaining her as in any other series.  Viewers will love watching as Schultz tries to overcome his bumbling personality and become a respectable officer, only to come up short.  He still gets the last laugh in the end, though.  Viewers really can’t help but root for him here even though he is supposed to be one of the bad guys.  Of course audiences can’t really help but root for Schultz throughout the series. And that is likely linked to John Banner’s (the actor who portrayed Schultz) real life personality.  This will be discussed later.

“The Great Brinksmeyer Robbery” (Season 2) is another example of how the stories crafted for Hogan’s Heroes prove so important to the series’ presentation.  This episode is so important to note because it was one of the many times throughout the series in which the series’ writers took Hogan and company out of the confines of Stalag 13 for its story.  The story itself is just as important to note.  Hogan’s morals are tested somewhat when he is forced with the realization that he and the other men will have to rob a bank in order to purchase a map that would help the Allies’ efforts in the war.  He obviously doesn’t want to have to rob a bank.  But he reminds himself that it would be a German bank.  That in turn sets up the funny story that follows.  The episode’s bank heist story is just part of what makes the episode so entertaining.  Schultz does catch Hogan and his men as they are planning their operation.  But they turn the tables, blackmailing Schultz because he is not supposed to be away on leave.  Schultz’s reaction is timeless, especially as calm and collected as Hogan is in the moment.  It is just one of the great moments presented in this episode that make it so fun and funny.  The others will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  The end result of the episode’s story is just as entertaining.  All things considered, the whole of this episode’s story—from the story itself to the story’s smaller elements—shows once again why it is one more example of the importance of the stories’ importance to the series’ overall presentation.  It is hardly the last example, too.  “Is There A Traitor In The House?” (Season 5) is another example of what makes the series’ stories so important to its presentation.

“Kommandant Schutlz” and “The Great Brinksmeyer Robbery” are both prime examples of what makes the stories behind Hogan’s Heroes’ episodes so important to the series’ presentation.  They are not the only episodes that can be cited in proving this argument.  ‘Is There A Traitor In The House?” This episode is a good example of the strength of the series’ writing because it shows that the series could be entertaining even when Hogan wasn’t at the center of the episodes.  This episode puts Newkirk (Richard Dawson) at the center of its story.  Newkirk has to convince Klink, Schultz, and Berlin Betty that he has turned in support of the Nazis in order to get bombing coordinates to the British.  This happens after a bombing at the camp knocks out the Allies’ radio connection to Britain.  Even more interesting is how the story is executed.  At first audiences are actually led to believe that Newkirk has turned.  Though, it is revealed soon after that he hadn’t.  At the same time Berlin Betty has her own secret (or secrets).  That will be left for audiences to discover for themselves, too.  It’s just one of the story’s elements that makes it so engaging and even somewhat moving.  Audiences will understand and appreciate this when they see this episode for themselves.  It’s just one more way in which the episodes’ stories prove so important to the series’ presentation.  And it is hardly the last story/episode combination that can be cited in making this argument, too.  There are plenty of other stories presented across the series’ six-season run that could be cited just as easily.  Those stories and the stories cited here combine to show why the episodes’ stories are just as important in the bigger picture of the series’ writing as the show’s premise.  While the show’s premise and all of its stories combine to show the importance of its writing in the series’ presentation, the writing is hardly the only element within this box set that makes the set such a welcome addition to any classic TV buff’s home DVD library.  The bonus material contained within the series’ new box set is just as important as its writing to its presentation.

The writing behind Hogan’s Heroes is hugely important to the series’ presentation in its latest full series box set.  The bonus material included in the set is important in its own right to the set’s presentation.  The bonus material featured in this re-issue includes: a pair of original promo spots for the series, Air Force recruitment spots starring series star Bob Crane, a vintage add for Jell-o and Dream Whip starring the series’ whole cast, and behind-the-scenes movies narrated by Crane’s wife Patricia among much more.  The vintage TV spots are fun little additions to the set’s bonus material offerings.  That is because they haven’t been touched up or spit-shined for their presentation here.  They will take viewers back to another age of television in so many ways.  From cast-involved ads to direct recruiting spots, such promotion is rarely to never seen on television today.  So for television historians and classic TV buffs alike the spots are hugely important if only for their historical value.  The behind-the-scenes footage is just as important to the set’s presentation as any of the other bonuses.  In fact it could be argued that this bonus is the set’s key bonus.  That is because of the information shared by Crane’s wife Patricia.  Over the course of the “movie” audiences learn that John Banner’s portrayal of Schultz may have been rather natural.  That is because, as Crane reveals, he was considered to be very much like Santa Claus.  That is because of how much Banner loved kids and just how personable he was off camera.  Comparing Banner to Schultz, one could see how the connection could be made.  On another level viewers also learn about the proximity of the Hogan’s Heroes soundstage to that of The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.  Sure it might not seem all that important on the surface.  But it shows just how busy Paramount’s lot was at the time of Hogan’s Heroes’ run.  It’s just one more way in which the bonus material included in this set proves to be an important part of the series’ presentation in this newly re-issued box set.  There are other bonuses not noted here that were also included in the set’s presentation.  Those extras along with the bonuses noted here make clear why the bonus material in whole is so pivotal to the set’s presentation in its own right.  They are collectively just one more part of the whole that makes this new re-issue of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series so enjoyable for audiences.  The set’s packaging is just as noteworthy as its bonus material and its writing.

The writing incorporated into Hogan’s Heroes and the bonus material that accompanies the series writing are both important elements in the whole of the series’ newly re-issued DVD box set.  The writing, both in terms of the set’s premise and its stories, will keep audiences entertained and engaged from the series’ first season to its sixth.  The bonus material included in the set adds even more enjoyment to the set thanks to its historical value.  Even as entertaining and valuable as the series’ writing and bonus material prove to be in its presentation here, they are not the only important elements to examine in the set’s presentation.  The set’s packaging rounds out its overall presentation.  The set’s packaging is a little bit of a mixed bag.  The box set’s exterior packaging is much more ergonomic for audiences than owning each of the series’ standalone season sets.  However, a closer look at the packaging reveals a different picture.  The series’ first four seasons are spread across nineteen discs contained within one box.  Seasons Five and Six are presented in a separate box set.  Here’s where things get a little bit dicey.  The discs that make up the series’ first four seasons are placed one on top of the other top to bottom on either side of five connected leafs inside their box.  In other words they are packaged much in the older style of multi-disc DVD box sets.  This same method was used in Paramount and CBS DVD’s other recent DVD box set re-issues.  The problem with this style of packaging is that it greatly increases the chances of the discs becoming scratched and unusable over time.  On the other side of the proverbial coin, Seasons Five an Six are presented in the more modern style of packaging, with one disc on either side of the box’s leafs.  This is just as ergonomic if not more so.  It also serves to better protect the discs from scratching.  So while the packaging is in itself a good thing and somewhat better than that of the series’ previous DVD sets, it is also problematic in its own right.  Keeping this in mind, one can’t help but wonder what a Blu-ray box set of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series would look like.  It definitely shows that a Blu-ray set would be a real positive for audiences if only for the set’s packaging.  A Blu-ray presentation could potentially even present even more bonus material.  Even if that shouldn’t happen anytime soon Paramount and CBS DVD’s new re-issue of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series still proves itself to be a good addition to any classic TV buff’s home DVD library and that of any of the series’ fans.

Paramount and CBS DVD’s new re-issue of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series is not the first time that this classic sitcom has been released on DVD.  Even despite that it is still a welcome addition to the home DVD library of any classic TV buff and that of the series’ fans.  That applies more so to those fans that don’t already own the series in its standalone season sets or its previous full series incarnations.  This is proven primarily through the set’s writing.  The original premise and equally original story lines will entertain audiences from beginning to end.  The bonus material included in this, the series’ most recent re-issue.  It adds even more enjoyment thanks to its overall historical value.  The set’s packaging, while at least somewhat problematic, is also more ergonomic than the series’ previous full series DVD box sets.  Though, it can be argued that the packaging alone necessitates a Blu-ray release for the series.  A blu-ray presentation would potentially be even more ergonomic than this DVD box set or any of the series’ previous full-series incarnations.  All things considered Paramount and CBS DVD’s new Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series re-issue is still a welcome addition to the home DVD library of any classic TV buff not already in possession of the series’ previous DVD sets and that of the show’s original fans in the same situation.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Hogans-Heroes-Complete-Richard-Dawson/dp/B017Q8QNJK/?tag=cbcoofsiofcb-20.

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.

Volume Is A Loud, Clear New Statement From Skindred

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Late last year Skindred released its latest full-length studio recording to its fans.  Volume, the band’s sixth full-length studio effort, That’s quite a statement from a band that originally formed right at the cusp of the “musical gold rush of 2000” (as this critic has come to coin it).  The album, with its hybrid sound and its equally attention-grabbing lyrical content, is another example of why the Welsh rock outfit has outlasted so many others of its ilk and gone on to remain a fan favorite even without support from mainstream rock outlets.  This is clear right off the top in the album’s socio-politically charged opener ‘Under Attack.’  The album’s title track is another of the album’s strong points.  ‘Shut Ya Mouth,’ with its mix of social commentary and funk-infused hard rock makes it yet another standout moment from this record.  All three songs are clear examples of what makes Volume another solid offering from Skindred.  Those songs, when set alongside the album’s remaining eleven songs (technically eight songs since three of those eleven are short interludes), make Volume one a record that every rock aficionado will want to turn on and *ahem* turn up.

Skindred’s sixth full-length studio recording Volume is quite the statement from the band.  That is because in itself it shows the band’s longevity and the love and respect that fans have for the Welsh rock act.  The album’s overall content exhibits this even more right from the album’s hard rocking opener ‘Under Attack.’  Guitarist Mikey Demus, drummer Arya Goggin and bassist Dan Pugsley set the tone for the song in its opening bars before front man Benji Webbe comes in with his hard-hitting lyrics.  What audiences will appreciate about this song is the ability of Webbe’s band mates to capture the urgency of Webbe’s message.  The message in question seems to center on the state of the nation and the damage being done to the country because of that divisiveness.  This is illustrated as Webbe raps in the song’s lead verse, “Now if you really want war/You’ve got to be sick/All of the people/They need to hear this/From the sound of the rhythm/You can’t refuse it/Shocking, dropping wrongs and killing/Graduation that’s what we want/F*** the nation/That’s not the answer/They’re coming at you with shots in the dark/And the shot that dem ah give you/Ah go rip out your heart.”  He seems to be addressing people on both sides of the nation’s debates in this one verse alone.  And if that is the case then it’s quite the clear and efficient way of doing so.  Not to mention it is a powerful statement in itself.  The message is illustrated even more in the song’s second verse in which Webbe raps, “We ah go stack dem 5,7, and 8/No bother with the badness, man/We don’t appreciate/We ah go mark them 6, 7, and 9/Put them on the hit list every time/Life’s at stake and everyone’s shaking/Dancehall breaking/Everyone’s faking/It’s going down now/It’s going down now/It’s going down down da down da down.”  He and his band mates accent the message in these verse even more in the song’s chorus in which they ask, “Who’s gonna help take care of all of them?” before Webbe responds, “And now I realize you can’t cut me down to size/And now I realize we’re under attack.”  The song’s final verse echoes the sentiment established in its lead and second verse with that same sort of awareness of what is going on and correlating message of concern.  It’s not the first time that a band or performer has ever crafted a song that raises awareness about serious socio-political issues.  Despite that, the manner in which it is delivered here makes the song original in its own right.   It shows in its own way why despite being labeled to this day as nu metal and rap metal the band has outlasted its counterparts and still stands tall even without help from mainstream music outlets.  It’s just one example of why Volume is a welcome return for the band and why it is a record that every rock aficionado will want to turn on and turn up.  Audiences can view the song’s video online now via Napalm Records’ official YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkJuB656AVc.  The album’s title track is another of its strong points.

‘Under Attack’ is a strong opener for Skindred in its latest full-length release Volume.  That is exhibited both through the song’s heavy musical arrangement and its equally interesting socio-politically charged lyrical theme.  As important as it is to the album’s overall presentation it is just one of the album’s strong points.  The album’s title track is another of its strong points.  Unlike the album’s opener this song takes a completely different lyrical tone while maintaining the album’s heavy sound.  This song lyrically comes across more as a declaration than anything else as Webbe raps, “And so again you know we’re on it/Don’t even bother trying to tell me to stop it/I’ll take them straight to the hanging tree/This is the sound that makes me nasty/Nobody ramp with this sound quality/Believing in the rockers and the rhythm that’s in me/We come to rock your spot/Bring the energy.”  In case there was any doubt left by this verse Webbe and company go on to sing outright later in the song, “Play your music every day/Woop/Gotta keep it loud now/Play your sound and feel no way/Woop woop/Gotta keep it loud now/I can’t keep it down.”  This is a blatant response to those that would tell the masses not to give in to those that think certain parties’ music is too loud.  As a well-known figure once said, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old!”  For all intents it is an anthem for the rock and metal masses alike in response to their detractors.  The intensity of the song’s musical arrangement makes the song even harder-hitting, showing once again why it is another of the album’s strong points. Audiences can view this song’s companion video online now via Napalm Records’ official YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vKPnLhmyBs and via the band’s official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/skindredofficial. It isn’t the last of the album’s strong points either.  The social commentary and equally positive message of ‘Shut Ya Mouth’ coupled with the song’s musical arrangement makes it one more solid of the album’s most notable moments.

‘Under Attack’ and ‘Volume’ are solid additions to Skindred’s latest album.  That is because of the combination of their musical and lyrical content.  While both songs are key in exhibiting what makes Volume such a welcome return for Skindred, they are hardly the only songs that could be cited in making this argument. ‘Shut Ya Mouth’ is another prime example of what makes Volume worth at least one listen. In regards to its musical arrangement its tempo is less than that of ‘Under Attack’ and ‘Volume.’ Even with a slower tempo it is no less impacting. Drummer Arya Goggin sets the song’s tone with a solidly timed beat before Demus, Webbe and bassist Pugsley come in to round out the song’s musical base. The song builds even more from here until it reaches its peak in its chorus at which point the band absolutely lets loose. That gradual growth of power in the song’s musical arrangement is important to the song in its own right. However when examining the song’s lyrical content it becomes even more important. That is because it serves to better illustrate said content. The verses send a message of positivity as exhibited in the song’s lead verse. Webbe raps here, “You see the difference between you and me/Is that I like you/But you don’t like me/Face each day optimistically/Breath and talk a lot of positivity/If anything bad it’s gonna happen to me/That’s not the attitude seriously/Nah, not the way to perceive it/If they tell you so don’t believe it.” The musical backing to this and each of the song’s verse is straight forward but with a groove that will keep listeners engaged. It helps to establish that straightforward tone in the song’s verses. In the same vein, the pummeling energy of the song’s musical arrangement in its chorus illustrates the energy and emotion there, too. Webbe raps in the chorus, “Shut your mouth boy/come out of here/Shut your mouth boy/Come out of here/We tell them/Do you hear me, hear me now/You won’t break this/Here’s my raised fist/And I’m telling you no, no, no.” Webbe means business as he delivers these lines. And that is quite clear, again, thanks to the song’s musical arrangement. The back and forth of the song’s musical and lyrical content continues throughout the course of the song’s nearly four-minute run time. And over that time it keeps listeners completely engaged especially thanks to the overall positive vibe established through both elements. Taking that into consideration the song shows why, once again, it is another key example of what makes Volume a welcome return for Skindred. Alongside ‘Under Attack,’ ‘Volume,’ and the remainder of the album’s eight full-length tracks (again there are eleven other tracks on this record but only eight are full-length songs) the album shows in whole to be a record that any real rocker will want to turn on and turn up.

Skindred’s sixth full-length record Volume is an impressive new release for the Wales-based band. That is not just because of the fact that the band has made it this far without help from major mainstream rock outlets but also because the band has managed to impress yet again with this latest offering. That is clear in the combination of the album’s musical and lyrical content. It is exemplified in the album’s opener ‘Under Attack,’ its title track, and the equally engaging ‘Shut Ya Mouth.’ All three songs are in their own way solid offerings from the album. Together with the rest of the album’s full-length songs the album in whole proves to be a welcome return for the band and a record that every real rocker will want to turn on and turn up. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered via iTunes and Amazon direct via the band’s official website. More information on Volume is available online now along with all of Skindred’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.skindred.net

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

 Twitter: http://twitter.com/skindredmusic

 

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Holy Grail Announces More Live Dates

Holy Grail Devildriver Tour PosterHoly Grail just kicked off its latest tour yesterday and already the California-based five-piece has announced plans for even more dates.

Holy Grail announced this week that it will join Devildriver on the road this spring.  This comes as the band has just embarked on a thirty-seven date tour alongside Black Tusk and The Well.  The band’s upcoming tour will see it serve as support act for Devildriver.  The tour launches Wednesday, April 27th in Las Vegas, NV and runs through Saturday, June 18th in San Diego, California.  It also includes dates in Colorado, Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri, and a number of other cities.  Incite and Hemlock are also scheduled to serve as support acts to Devildriver for the upcoming tour.  Holy Grail’s upcoming dates and current tour schedule are listed in whole below.

 

TOUR DATES

2/24 Richmond, VA – 25 Watt #

2/25 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie #

2/26 Boston, MA – Once Ballroom #

2/27 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus #

2/29 Burlington, VT – Nectars #

3/1 Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle #

3/2 Montreal, QC – Foufounes Electriques #

3/3 Toronto, ON – Hard Luck #

3/4 Detroit, MI – Berserker Fest @ The Masonic Temple #

3/5 Chicago, IL – Reggies #

3/6 Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon #

3/7 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock #

3/8 Fargo, ND – The Aquarium #

3/9 Winnipeg, MB – The Windsor Hotel #

3/11 Saskatoon, SK – Amigos Cantina #

3/12 Edmonton, AB – Brixx #

3/13 Calgary, AB – Palomino #

3/14 Kamloops, BC – The Office #

3/16 Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore #

3/19 Portland, OR – Panic Room #

3/20 Bend, OR – Volcanic Theatre Pub #

3/22 Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst #

3/23 San Francisco, CA – DNA Lounge #

3/24 Los Angeles, CA – Viper Room #

4/27 Las Vegas, NV – Vinyl &

4/29 Boise,  ID – Knitting Factory &

4/30 Seattle, WA – Studio Seven &

5/1 Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory &

5/3 Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theatre &

5/5 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room &

5/6 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave &

5/8 Flint, MI – Machine Shop &

5/9 Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts &

5/10 Nashville, TN – Exit/In &

5/11 Grand Rapids, MI  – The Stache &

6/13 Columbus, OH – Park Street Saloon &

6/14 St. Louis, MO – Fubar &

6/16 Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater &

6/17 Window Rock, AZ – Window Rock Sports Center &

6/18 San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick &

# with Black Tusk

& with DevilDriver, Incite & Hemlock

 

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

The newly announced dates for Holy Grail’s upcoming tour are just the latest in the band’s ongoing efforts to promote its latest full-length studio recording Times of Pride and Peril.  The band also toured with Night Demon late last year and performed at Death Angel’s 2nd Annual Christmas Show last December.  And as noted, the band just hit the road for a late winter/spring tour in support of Times of Pride and Peril on February 23rdTimes of Pride and Peril debuted at #9 on Billboard’s New Artists Chart in its release earlier this month.  It also landed at #14 in the magazine’s Hard Music Chart, and #35 in the Independent Artist Chart.  It sold more than 1,500 copies within its first week of release.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and Prosthetic Records’ online store.  More information on Holy Grail’s tour schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.holygrailofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/holygrailband

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.

Little House On The Prairie Closes Its Doors For The Last Time This Spring

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The Little House on the Prairie will finally close its doors for the last time this spring when Lionsgate releases the series’ ninth and final season.

Lionsgate will release Little House on the Prairie: Season Nine Deluxe Remastered Editionon Tuesday, April 19th. It will be released on digital combo pack and will include the bonus episode “Bless All The Dear Children” alongside the season’s twenty-one total original episodes. Big changes are in store this season for the Ingalls family. The family takes in Michael and Karen’s niece Jenny. Laura wins a book-writing contest in another episode. And in another interesting turn of events Nancy runs away. If that isn’t enough to interest audiences, Willie surprises the family with his engagement. It is just one more story that will keep audiences engaged from the season premiere to its finale (and that of the series).

As an added bonus for fans of this classic family-friendly series, Little House on the Prairie: Season 8 Deluxe Remastered Edition and l are both currently available for pre-order on Blu-ray exclusively via Amazon. Each is available for MSRP of $29.99. More information on each set is available via Amazon. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

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

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.