Blacktop Mojo’s ‘Static’ Holds Its Own Against Its EP Counterparts

Courtesy: Sand Hill Records

Blacktop Mojo is scheduled to hold a live streaming performance Wednesday afternoon.  The concert, scheduled to take place from 4:35 p.m. – 5:05 p.m., is part of a bigger event headlined b Clutch.  The event in question is a fundraiser that is meant to benefit the nonprofit agencies MusiCares and Angel Flight West.  It will be available to watch until May 30.  Tickets are available for the May 27 show here.  The ticket price — $9 — will remain the same for the concert’s On Demand stream as for its live stream.  Blacktop Mojo’s performance will be in support of its forthcoming EP Static, which is scheduled for release May 29.  The four-song record, which will come less than a year after the release of the band’s third album Under The Sun, is an interesting offering from the group.  That is because over the course of its 18-minute run time, it proves to be a rather brooding presentation.  That is not entirely a negative, though.  It’s not like it’s some goth/emo type of work that relies so much on lyrical themes of “oh-woe-is-me.”  It is pretty heavy, though, in both its lyrical and music content.  ‘Watch Me Drown,’ the EP’s second single proves the brooding is not all bad.  It will be addressed shortly.  The record’s opener, ‘The End’ (How’s hat for irony, the record’s opener is called ‘The End’).  ‘Leave It Alone,’ the EP’s third entry, is one more example of what makes the EP engaging.  It will also be addressed later.  All three of these songs and the EP’s closer, ‘Signal’s Gone’ work together to make the record in while a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.

Blacktop Mojo’s forthcoming EP Static is an engaging presentation that is worth hearing at least once thanks to its heavy musical arrangements and equally heavy lyrical content.  That is proven in part through the EP’s second single ‘Watch Me Drown.’  The song’s brooding nature will keep listeners engaged throughout the course of its nearly four-minute run time.  The verses present a soft, yet very contemplative sense, while the choruses are far more fiery, creating a strong emotional impact through that dichotomy.  The juxtaposition of sounds also serves to help translate the song’s lyrical theme, adding even more to the song’s impact.

The song’s lyrical theme in question seems to center on someone addressing one of those false individuals who claim to be a friend, but in the end proves to be anything but.  This is inferred as front man Matt James sings, “Call for help/I’m going under/I need you to keep me alive/In my head I had to wonder/What was going through your mind/When you watched me drown/You watched me drown/Drown.”  He continues in the song’s second verse and chorus reprise, “You’ve go the rope in hand/Won’t you please throw me a line/You could have pulled me back to shore/But you ha that look in your eye/When you watched me drown/You watched me drown/Drown/Don’t you dare to chicken out now/You know you can’t turn around now.”  This obviously isn’t actually about someone physically drowning in the water.  It is metaphorical writing that is meant to make the song an allegory about someone who thought he/she knew another person, only to find out that same person wasn’t quite who he/she was believed to have been.  Everyone has been in that proverbial boat at some point, thinking they knew someone, only to find out that person was just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Considering this, it strengthens the song’s presentation even more in the song’s ability to connect with listeners through this message.  The well-crafted musical arrangement that accompanies the song’s lyrical content adds to that ability of the song to connect with listeners.  The two elements make the song a work that while brooding, is still powerful and will connect with listeners.  It is just one of the songs featured in Blacktop Mojo’s new EP that makes the record stand out.  ‘The End,’ the record’s opener, is another notable addition to the EP.

Much as is the case with ‘Watch Me Drown,’ the musical arrangement at the center of ‘The End’ is very brooding.  Again, the song’s verses find James and his band mates contemplating while the chorus is a stark contrast to that sound, adding to the impact of the arrangement and song in whole.  On a side note, James’ vocal delivery is comparable to that of former Creed front man turned solo artist Scott Stapp while the work of his band mates – Nathan Gillis (drums), Ryan Keifer (guitar), Chck Wepfer (guitar) and Matt Curtis (bass) – create a sound that is akin to so many songs from Alter Bridge.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion possible.  The emotion exhibited through the song’s musical arrangement does well in its own right to make the song engaging in its own right.  The addition of the lyrical content to the mix strengthens the song’s presentation even more.

The song’s lyrical content comes across as a story about a relationship of some sort that has reached…well…its end.  The lyrics do not signify whether this is a romantic or plutonic relationship, but it leaves little doubt as to the fact that it is about a personal relationship of some sort coming to a difficult end.  This is inferred as James sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Do you feel like you’re dying/Did you know that I was lying/What was I supposed to do/I always run away from you/Well I know you don’t like surprises.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “But I’m tired of compromises/There’s nothing left that I can do/Cry today/Tomorrow live.”  He adds to the song’s chorus in its refrain, “I don’t know how we got here.”  That final statement is interesting to note.  It’s the song’s subject looking back and pointing out he/she had no other choice considering everything.  Again, this is content to which listeners will have an easy time relating.  That person is saying to the other individual that person knew the end was coming, but was essentially in denial, so he/she should not be surprised by what has transpired.  It, again, is something that will connect with listeners.  In turn, that ability to relate to the song’s lyrics makes the song that much more notable, especially when it is accompanied by its musical arrangement.  All things considered, the song is another example of the EP’s strength, despite being an overwhelmingly brooding presentation.  It is just one more of the record’s most notable works.  ‘Leave It Alone’ does its own job to show the EP’s strength.

‘Leave It Alone’ is contemplative in its own right in its musical arrangement, and sounds even more like something akin to works from Creed like the record’s other songs.  Again, that is due in part to each musician’s own contribution to the song.  The emotional impact of the song’s musical arrangement couples with its equally thought provoking lyrical content to make the song stand out in whole even more.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Leave It Alone’ is just as engaging as that in the other two songs noted here and of ‘Signal’s Gone,’ the EP’s closer.  This time out, the song seems to come across as someone who has gone through quite a bit telling someone much younger that he needs to “slow his role” so to speak, and realize his place.  That is inferred right from the song’s outset, “Hard eyes swallow whole/Body full of foreign soil/Stare down 1,000 miles/Let that be boy/Leave it alone/Don’t speak no more/Hold your tongue/That ain’t for you/It’s mine to hold/Let that be/Leave it alone.”  The song’s subject continues addressing that other person in the song’s second verse, telling that person, “Heart pounds with bygone rage/Keep it locked there in its cage/Weathered hands can’t let go/Pain captured in kodachrome.”  This hints even more at the song’s subject being someone older who is telling that younger person who perhaps thinks he/she knows more than the subject in no uncertain terms, “you don’t know anything” and to know his/her place.  That is of course this critic’s interpretation.  Hopefully it is close to being the correct interpretation.  If in fact that is the song’s story, then it is one that will put a smile on listeners’ faces, too.  That is because everyone can relate to this situation, too. We have all been in a position in which we have had to remind someone of his/her place.  This is just one of those cases.  That ability of the song’s lyrical content to connect with listeners along with the ability of the song’s musical arrangement to engage and entertain listeners adds to the song’s impact.  All things considered here, the song shows once more why this record, despite having a very distinct overall musical sound and sense, is still worth hearing at least once.  That argument is strengthened even more as the other songs noted here are considered along with this work and the EP’s closer, ‘Signal’s Gone.’  When all four songs are assembled and examined together, they make Static a record that deserves its own share of applause.

Blacktop Mojo’s forthcoming EP Static is a work that is deserving of its own share of attention and applause.  There is a lot of heavy lyrical content and some equally heavy musical content throughout the course of its 18-minute run time.  What is interesting, as has been pointed out here, is that even with all that of that musical and lyrical heaviness, the record still is able to connect with listeners.  All three of the songs addressed here serve to support that statement.  When they are considered along with the record’s closer, the whole of the record proves itself to be another positive offering from Blacktop Mojo that deserves its own share of attention and applause.  Static is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.blacktopmojo.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

 

 

 

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Clutch To Hold Fundraiser Concert Next Week

Courtesy: New Ocean Media

Clutch will hold a special new streaming live event next week.

The band will perform a streamed concert May 27 titled “Live From The Doom Saloon Volume 1.  The concert, which will raise money for the nonprofit agencies MusiCares and Angel Flight, has been produced in conjunction with Sound Talent Group and LiveFrom Events.

Clutch’s concert, which is on the back of its new Weathermaker Series and its 2018 album Book of Bad Decsisions, will be available for On Demand viewing starting at 4 p.m. EST on May 28.  It will be available to watch until May 30.  Tickets are available for the May 27 show here.  The ticket price — $9 — will remain the same for the concert’s On Demand stream as for its live stream.

Crowbar, Blacktop Mojo and Saul will join Clutch as support for the concert.  Their performances will be held remotely.

Blacktop Mojo’s performance will be in support of its forthcoming EP Static, which is scheduled for release May 29.  Crowbar front man Kirk Windstein released his new solo album Dream in Motion Jan. 24 through eOne, while Crowbar’s most recent album The Serpent Only Lies was released Oct. 28 through eOne.  Saul’s performance is in support of its debut EP Aeons, which was released in March 2019.

MusiCares is a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to musicians for items, such as medical bills, rehabilitation resources and general financial aid.

Angel Flight is a network of volunteer pilots that free air transportation for people in need of medical treatment far from their homes, but who cannot afford the flights.

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

 

Website: http://www.pro-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/clutchofficial

 

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

Hannah Williams & The Affirmations Stand Tall Among 2019’s New Independent Albums

Courtesy: Record Kicks

The old year is almost gone and the new year is on the way.  With the countdown to the calendar change nearing its annual end, critics are preparing their annual year-ender lists or have already posted said “Best Of” lists.  This critic has waited a while to make sure as many albums and EPs have been considered, and now with less than two weeks left in the year, the time is right to offer the first of many “Best Of” lists.

Opening this year’s multitude of year end “Best Of” lists from Phil’s Picks is the year’s top new independent albums.  Independent can mean acts signed to independent labels — of which there are many — and those who are straight up unsigned.  This year’s list presents a variety of acts and sounds, not the least of which is Hannah Williams & The Affirmations’ new album 50 Foot Woman.  Also featured in this year’s list is the surprisingly enjoyable self-titled album from Am I Dead Yet.  Its mix of David Bowie, Pink Floyd and other similar acts makes its musical content strong in its own right.  The addition of its lyrical content adds even more interest to its whole.  Hard rock band Bad Blood is also featured in this year’s list with its self-titled debut.  These are just some of the acts featured in Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Independent Albums.  It should be noted that while the list is the “Top 10,” it features five additional honorable mention titles for a grand total of 15 albums, as in every past year.

It should be noted that the choices featured on this list were not easy.  The honorable mention titles are not bad albums.  They are all good in their own way.  It was just that difficult to choose, as every listed album had its own positives. Some had more positives than others. Now with all that said here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Independent Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW INDEPENDENT ALBUMS

1.Hannah Williams & The Affirmations — 50 Foot Woman

2. Am I Dead Yet? — Am I Dead Yet?

3. Bad Blood — Bad Blood

4. The Sh-Booms — The Blurred Odyssey

5. Aree And The Pure Hearts — Never Gonna Die

6. Wargirl — Wargirl

7. Lullwater — Voodoo

8. Sara Potenza — Road To Rome

9. Corroded — Bitter

10. Awake At Last — The Change

11. Blacktop Mojo — Under The Sun

12. Stone Leaders — Stone Leaders

13. Dark Station — Down in The Dark

14. Them Guns — From The Shadows

15. Damn Your Eyes — Kill The Outside

 

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Blacktop Mojo Announces New Album Release, Tour Dates; Premieres Album’s Lead Single, Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Blacktop Mojo announced this week, the release date for its new album.

The band announced it will release Under The Sun, its third full-length studio recording, on Sept. 13.  Pre-orders for Under The Sun are open now.  The band debuted the music video for the album’s lead single ‘Can’t Sleep‘ on Wednesday.

The dark, breeding song presents a musical arrangement whose choruses lend themselves to comparisons to Nonpoint’s cover of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ while the verses are more akin to so many songs from Breaking Benjamin.  The video is just as dark as the song’s arrangement, finding the band’s front man Matt James carrying a shovel through a forested backdrop at night.  The revelation as to why he is carrying the shovel is even darker.

 

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Blacktop Mojo will tour in support of Under The Sun this summer.  The band’s tour is scheduled to launch July 12 in Dallas, TX and to run through Sept. 24 in Quapaw, OK.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Catch BLACKTOP MOJO Live on the 2019 CAN’T SLEEP TOUR w/Special Guests LULLWATER

07/12 @ The Blue Lights – Dallas, TX
07/13 @ Aftershock – Kansas City, MO
07/14 @ Apollo Theatre – Rockford, IL *
07/16 @ Spicolis – Waterloo, IA +
07/18 @ Durty Nellies – Palatine, IL
07/19 @ Rock USA – Oshkosh, WI
07/20 @ Kentucky Bike Rally – Sturgis, KY
07/21 @ Exit/In – Nashville, TN ^
07/23 @ Winchester Music Tavern – Cleveland, OH
07/25 @ Hard Times Cafe – Four Mile Fork @ Fredericksburg, VA
07/26 @ Muddy Creek Saloon – Heath, OH
07/27 @ Cotter Pin – La Crosse, WI
07/28 @ Q and Z – Ringle, Wi
07/31 @ Token Lounge – Detroit, MI
08/01 @ Manchester Music Hall – Lexington, KY
08/02 @ Madam Caroll Boat – Monticello, IN
08/03 @ Moefest – Monticello, IN
08/04 @ Madison Theater – Covington, KY +
08/06 @ Hard Rock Café – Pittsburgh, PA +
08/07 @ The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY
08/08 @ Wally’s – Manchester, NH +
08/09 @ Alchemy – Providence, RI +
08/10 @ Spook Hill Bar & Grill – Adams Center, NY
08/11 @ Woodbury Brewing Company – Woodbury, CT
08/14 @ Eclectic Room – Angola, IN +
08/15 @ Illinois State Fair – Grand Central – Springfield, IL
08/16 @ Rose Music Hall – Columbia, MO
08/17 @ ABATE Summerfest 2019 – Bristol, IN
08/18 @ The Warehouse – Clarksville, TN
08/20 @ Sidetracks – Huntsville, AL +
08/21 @ 1884 Lounge – Memphis, TN +
08/22 @ Temple Live Commandry – Ft. Smith, AR
08/23 @ City Limits – Oklahoma City, OK
08/24 @ Downstream Casino – Quapaw, OK

+ w/ Lullwater
* Supporting Nonpoint
^ w/ The Georgia Thunderbolts

Tickets are available here while VIP packages are available here.

 

More information on the album is available online now along with all of Blacktop Mojo’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.blacktopmojo.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

 

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Blacktop Mojo Debuts ‘Prodigal’ Video

Courtesy: High Road Publicity/TAG Publicity

Blacktop Mojo debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band premiered the video for its new single ‘Prodigal‘ on Tuesday.  The song is taken from the band’s most recent full-length studio recording, Burn The Ships (2017).  Musically speaking, the song presents a power ballad style composition that is familiar to a wide range of listeners.

In regards to its lyrical content, front man Matt James explained in an interview that the song centers, lyrically, on that drive that everyone has to get out and explore the world.

“We had fun making this video with some of our good friends from our hometown acting out the main parts,” James said.  “We felt like the father-son dynamic in the video  really reflected the song’s theme.  The song is sort of autobiographical.  It’s about the experience of growing up in a small town and always talking about ‘getting out’ one day.  No matter where or how far you go, though, you always have a little bit of where you came from that you take with you.”

‘Prodigal’ is just the latest single that the band has released from Burn The Ships.  The album has also produced the singles ‘Where The Wind Blows,’ ‘Underneath‘ and ‘Dream On‘ (Aerosmith cover).  Burn The Ships is streaming online now here.  The album’s full track listing is noted below.

Burn The Ships Track Listing:
1. Where The Wind Blows
2. End Of Days
3. Burn The Ships
4. Prodigal
5. Shadows On The Wall
6. Sweat
7. Pyromaniac
8. 8000 Lines
9. Dog On A Leash
10. Make A Difference
11. Chains
12. Dream On
13. Underneath

Blacktop Mojo announced late last year that it had launched a PledgeMusic campaign to fund the creation of its third as-yet untitled full-length studio recording.  In the time since that announcement, the band reached its goal.

More information on Blacktop Mojo’s next album, its latest video and single, and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.blacktopmpjo.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

 

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.

Blacktop Mojo Announces PledgeMusic Campaign To Fund Third Album

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Blacktop Mojo is working on its new album, and is asking for fans’ help finishing the record.

The band recently launched a PledgeMusic campaign to fund the record’s creation.  The campaign allows fans to order various items from the band, such as signed vinyl test pressings of the band’s as yet untitled album, signed CD bundle, clay shooting with the band, studio listening party and private show with guest list control in return for contributing to the record’s creation.

The band noted in its discussions that “due to the high cost of travel for us to get overseas, we’re going to have to limit the private shows to the U.S. only.”

Each item, listed here, is a different price.  According to the band all of the money spent by fans goes toward the record’s creation.

“As independent artists, everything we do is fan-funded,” the band said in a written statement.  “We don’t have a record label loaning us a ton of money to make a record.  With that comes some financial pitfalls, but it also means nobody tells us how to make music for you guys, and we think that’s pretty cool.”

As of Sept. 23, the band has reached 42 percent of its PledgeMusic Goal with 49 days left to meet that goal.  Items are available only while they last.

More information on Blacktop Mojo’s PledgeMusic campaign is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.blacktopmojo.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

 

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.

Blacktop Mojo To Launch 2nd Leg Of Its N. American Tour Next Week

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Blacktop Mojo has announced a new slate of live dates.

The Texas-based southern rock band will launch the second leg of its current North American tour July 12 in Cadott, WI.  The nearly month-long tour is currently scheduled to run through August 11 and to include performances in Jacksonville, North Carolina; Mankato, Wisconin; Denver, Colorado and other cities.

Along with its headlining dates, the band’s tour also includes select dates with Shaman’s Harvest, Gemini Syndrome and Black Stone Cherry.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Tour Dates:
07/12 @ Rock Fest – Cadott, WI
07/13 @ Nikki’s – Sturgis
07/14 @ Machine Shop – Flint, MI
07/15 @ The Outpost – Kent, OH
07/18 @ Hooligan’s – Jacksonville, NC
07/19 @ Purple Buffalo – Charleston, SC
07/20 @ Georgia Theatre – Athens, GA
07/21 @ Soundbar – Orlando, FL
07/22 @ Kelly’s Live – Sarasota, FL
07/26 @ Rusty’s – Cape Coral, FL
07/27 @ Crowbar – Tampa, FL
07/28 @ Southport Hall – New Orleans, LA
07/31 @ El Rey – Albuquerque, NM
08/01 @ Globe Hall – Denver, CO
08/03 @ Iron Horse Saloon – Sturgis, SD
08/04 @ Icon Lounge – Sioux Falls, SD
08/05 @ What’s Up Lounge – Mankato, MN
08/07 @ The Annex – Madison, WI
08/08 @ Subterranean – Chicago, IL
08/09 @ The Monarch – Peoria, IL
08/10 @ The Landing – Topeka, KS
08/11 @ Pierre’s – Ft Wayne, IN

#blacktopmojo #mojonation #burntheships

 

Courtesy: High Road Publicity/TAG Publicity

Blacktop Mojo’s latest tour schedule is in support of its new album Burn The Ships. That album has produced three singles so far — ‘Burn the Ships,’ ‘Where The Wind Blows‘ and ‘Dream On.’  The band also recently released performances of covers of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams‘ and Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight.’  The band also has covers of Jamey Johnson’s ‘In Color‘ and Fuel’s ‘Hemmorhage.’

More information on Blacktop Mojo’s new tour dates, music and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.blacktopmojo.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BlackTopMojo

 

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.