Every Listener Will Be Glad That They Found Lost And Found

Courtesy:  Nonesuch Records

Courtesy: Nonesuch Records

On September 16th, 1997 Ry Cooder and Juan de Marcos Gonzalez released the very first album from the musical conglomerate known as Buena Vista Social Club. That was seventeen years ago. Fast forward to 2015. Cooder and de Marcos Gonzalez have both kept themselves quite busy with their own projects; so busy in fact that up until this past March, the pair had released only one other recording under the Buena Vista Social Club moniker. The recording, a live recording titled Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall, was released in 2008 via World Circuit Records around the World and on Nonesuch Records domestically in North America. Despite keeping so busy with their own projects Cooder and de Carlos Gonzalez did record some other pieces both in studio and live that until now had never seen the light of day so to speak. And thanks to the efforts of those at both World Circuit and Nonesuch, Buena Vista Social Club’s fans now have some of those recordings in the form of the group’s new compilation record Lost and Found. Lost and Found is a wonderful addition to any true music lover’s music library first and foremost because it is not just another compilation of “previously unreleased songs” and “new” songs. Instead it balances both some of the group’s previously unreleased songs with some of its live recordings, too. It really makes a valid effort to balance both elements, too. Both the live and studio elements offer their own enjoyment, too as audiences will hear. That is especially the case when examining the audio mix in the live recordings. Last but hardly least worth noting of the compilation is that even those audiences that don’t speak Spanish won’t have to worry about knowing any Spanish. That is because the songs’ musical side speaks volumes. The old adage that music is the universal language proves true time and again throughout each song. Audiences will find this for themselves when they listen to this collection of songs. It speaks volumes, too saying to audiences of all ages that Lost and Found is another record that proves itself one more of this year’s best new hits compilations.

Lost and Found is only the third overall collection of songs to be released by Buena Vista Social Club since it released its debut self-titled album in 1997. While not technically a collection of new studio recordings, it is still a record that proves itself well worth the listen. the main reason that it proves itself so worth the listen is that it isn’t just another contractually obligated space filler that has been haphazardly thrown together. Rather it is obvious in listening to the album’s fourteen total tracks that a lot of thought was put into the compilation’s assembly. While the group’s previously unreleased songs dominate the record, there are at least three live recordings included throughout the record, too. What is more, neither the members of BVSC nor the label reps at World Circuit or Nonesuch try to make them anything but what they are–b-sides that simply never made it to record because of the group’s commitments to other projects. This is different from compilation records churned out by so many other acts across the musical universe. Other acts try to market their compilation records as some sort of huge bonus for audiences and fans. They throw in “bonus making of DVDs” or “bonus live tracks, etc.” to try to convince audiences to pay for records that really end up bring hardly worth the money. It’s good to see that none of the parties involved here took that route. It creates within itself a solid foundation for the record and all the more reason for audiences to hear it regardless of their familiarity with BVSC.

The overall makeup of Lost and Found in regards to its sequencing makes for more than enough reason for audiences to hear this record. It’s just part of the reason that audiences will want to hear this record. The record’s production values add even more reason for audiences to hear this record especially with the live recordings included in the record. the audience noise is kept so well in check in the live recordings both on the front end and the back that they almost don’t feel like live recordings. There is just enough of that noise to let audiences know they are in fact hearing live performances. On another level, the musicians themselves are just as expertly balanced throughout each of the live performances, too. That means that each part can easily be heard. Just as impressive is that in hearing each performer, each part sounds so full that yet again one almost wouldn’t know one was hearing a live performance if not for the slightest amount of crowd noise just underneath the performers. It really is a tribute to the work of those charged with handling the audio mix in the noted recordings. That isn’t to take away from those that handled the production of the studio tracks of course. The production values of those tracks is just as impressive as that of the live recordings. All things considered, the work of those charged with handling the recordings’ production are to be commended. Their wok paid off in spades here, leading to yet another reason that any listener will enjoy this record.

The work that went into getting Lost and Found’s songs to record is definitely worth the mention in examining what makes this compilation so enjoyable. When partnered with the mix of live and previously unreleased studio tracks (as well as the compilation’s marketing), audiences are presented with double the reason to check out Lost and Found. For all of the value of these elements, the value of the songs’ musical side is just as worth noting. Regardless of whether or not audiences speak Spanish, every listener will appreciate the record’s musical side equally. It is said after all that music is the universal language. though for those that speak at least a little bit of Spanish, those audiences will appreciate the balance of the songs’ musical content with their lyrical content. From one song to the next each song presents its own depth and enjoyment thanks to the balance of music and lyrics. Such impressive balance of musical and lyrical content throughout the record solidifies Lost and Found’s success. Together with the record’s mix of songs and their marketing, and the production values of the songs, all three elements together make Lost and Found a record that every listener will be glad that they found.

Lost and Found may not necessarily be a new record from BVSC. Even being a compilation record, it is still an impressive record in its own right. That is thanks in large part to its included songs and related marketing of said songs. It doesn’t try to claim to be some special bonus record for audiences that is in reality just an obligatory space filler. It is a collection of songs that paints its own special picture of BVSC. The record’s production values are just as much worth noting both in terms of its studio tracks and its live recordings. Last but not least is the fact that whether or not audiences speak even the slightest bit of Spanish, the musical side of these songs will offer more than its own share of enjoyment. For those that do speak at least some Spanish, those audiences will appreciate the attention paid by the musicians to the link between the songs’ lyrical and musical content. All three elements together show clearly that Lost and Found is a record that every music lover will be glad to have found. Lost and Found is available in stores and online now and can be ordered online direct from Nonesuch Records’ online store at http://www.nonesuch.com/store/buena-vista-social-club. More information on this and other titles from Nonesuch Records is available online now at:

Website: http://www.nonesuch.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/NoneSuchRecords

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Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions Are Also Some Of The Original Series’ Greatest Episodes

Courtesy:  CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

When NBC first brought Star Trek to the airwaves in 1966, it was not the only sci-fi series to come to audiences at the time.  The Twilight Zone ran on CBS from 1959 – 1964.  ABC responded in 1963 with The Outer Limits.  From 1964 to 1968, ABC took audiences beneath the waves in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which itself stemmed from the 1961 big screen feature of the same name.  CBS also had Lost in Space from 1965 – ’68 and My Favorite Martian from 1963’66.  From 1967 – ’68, ABC also ran The Invaders.  Looking at all of this, it goes without saying that Gene Roddenberry’s series had its fair share of competition in its original run on television.  And interestingly enough, it actually ran for about the same amount of time—three seasons—as those other series.  In some cases, it ran longer than its competition.  Yet having only run three seasons it has gone on to become the most successful of all of the franchises that came before and after.  From the time of its original broadcast on NBC, Star Trek has gone on to spawn no fewer than six big screen features, five more series, four more movies linked to one of those series, and countless video games, books and box sets.  The latest of those box sets—Star Trek: The Original SeriesCaptain Kirk’s Boldest Missions—was just released this past March.  More specifically, it was released March 17th.  Regardless of audiences’ familiarity or loyalty to Star Trek: TOS, this latest collection of episodes proves itself a worthwhile addition to any fan’s Star Trek collection.  The main way in which it proves itself a worthwhile addition to any fan’s collection is through the episodes culled for the collection.  From playing a game of cat and mouse in “The Corbomite Maneuver” and “Balance of Terror” to facing off against a device that could destroy entire worlds, Kirk and company face some huge odds in the episodes collected for the set.  And these are just a few examples of what fans have to expect from this set.  There is much more for audiences to enjoy from these and the set’s other episodes in whole, proving why the episodes collected for the set are the foundation of its enjoyment.  The bonus commentary included with the set adds even more enjoyment to the set even as limited as it proves to be.  It is one more reason that audiences should check out Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions.  Last but not least worth noting of this collection is its collective production values.  The episodes presented here look and sound just as impressive as in their previous DVD and Blu-ray releases with the other episodes from the series’ full season sets.  That means that all eight episodes prove just as enjoyable to watch here as in the series’ full-season sets.  And it solidifies Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions as quite the bold outing itself.  It is a collection that Star Trek fans of all ages should have in their collection regardless of whether they already own the previously released stand-alone full season sets or not.

Star Trek: The Original SeriesCaptain Kirk’s Boldest Missions is obviously not the first collection of classic Star Trek episodes to have been released since the series first hit the airwaves in 1966.  It is however a great addition to any Star Trek fan’s personal collection regardless of their familiarity or loyalty to the series.  It holds its own quite well against all of the other TOS collections that have come before (including the stand-alone full-season sets).  The main way in which it holds its own so well is through its featured episodes.  It features eight total episodes spread across two discs.  The episodes culled for this set are not just some of Captain Kirk’s boldest missions but also some of the most memorable episodes of the series’ overall.  Disc one sees Kirk and company playing a high stakes game of cat and mouse in “The Corbomite Maneuver” and “Balance of Terror.”  They also come face to face with Khan for the first time in “Space Seed.”  “The Conscience of the King” features an interstellar murder mystery of sorts.  Disc Two presents just as much entertainment for audiences.  It offers up two alternate timeline/universe stories in the form of “The City on the Edge of Forever” and “Mirror.”  Both stories are classic alternate universe stories in their own right, too.  “Mirror Mirror’s” alternate story sees Kirk thrust into a universe in which the crew of the Enterprise is anything but honorable.  “The City on the Edge of Forever” sends Kirk and company back in time to an Earth that is ruled by the Nazi party.  And it’s up to them to change that.  “The Doomsday Machine” is just as gripping and thought provoking.  That is because the machine in question was a humanly created machine meant solely for warfare.  And it has gone rogue so to speak.  Now it’s yet again up to Kirk to lead his crew and stop the machine before it destroys the Enterprise.  “Return To Tomorrow” offers its own interest as it raises the question of whether or not beings from other worlds visited Earth eons ago. The manner in which the show’s writers raised this discussion is itself short. But it definitely opens up the door for that discussion. And it’s just another way in which the episodes featured in Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions prove themselves the most important part of the set’s enjoyment.

The episodes collected for Kirk’s Boldest Missions each offer audiences their own share of enjoyment, showing from one to the next why they sit at the center of this set’s enjoyment. As enjoyable as each episode proves itself to be, the episodes can only go so far on their own merits. Luckily for fans, there is additional commentary included with the set, too. Of course it is limited. There is no commentary within the episodes per se. But there is still commentary included on both discs. The most extensive commentary precedes “The City on The Edge of Forever.” William Shatner and co-star Joan Collins (who guest stars on the episode in question) discuss the importance of the episode and the implications of World War II’s outcome. It drives home the importance of what the Allied Forces accomplished in stopping Hitler’s Nazi regime. Didn’t think that sci-fi could be so deep? It most certainly can be. And as in this episode, it most certainly is deeper than many people think. Speaking of that depth, Shatner offers even more depth in the bonus commentary included in the set’s first disc as he discusses the importance of the captain keeping a log on Star Trek and how that mirrors a person keeping a personal journal in real life. He also relates the characteristics of a good captain to a good leader in real life, and the legacy left behind by Captain Kirk. Yet again, he makes a real world comparison to the legacy that people leave in their own lives. These discussions continue the depth presented in the one episodic commentary included in the set’s second disc. All of the commentaries combined, they offer their own insight and entertainment for audiences. Those commentaries added to the episodes prove even stronger why Kirk’s Boldest Missions is a great addition to any Star Trek fan’s collection even if said fan(s) already own the series’ stand-alone season sets.

The bonus commentary and episodes featured at the center of Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions collectively give Star Trek fans plenty of reason to add the compilation to their own DVD libraries. Having noted both elements, there is still one more element to note to its positive. That last element is the look and sound of the episodes, or its overall production values. The episodes culled for Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions look and sound just as good as they do alongside the series’ other episodes in its previously released stand-alone season sets. As lacking as this seems in terms of importance to the whole, it is actually rather important. There are some companies out there that try to churn out compilations such as this one for other series without trying at all to make them look or sound even presentable. Those companies will remain nameless here. But they do exist. Luckily for fans, those at Paramount and CBS Video have made certain to make these episodes look and sound their best once more for fans regardless of whether or not fans already own the series’ standalone sets. Because the episodes sound and look as good as they do, they make for all the reason for fans to watch the episodes and commentary and add this set to their personal Star Trek collections.

Star Trek: The Original SeriesCaptain Kirk’s Boldest Missions offers the series’ fans plenty of reason to add this collection to their own personal DVD libraries. It offers audiences eight episodes that are not only some of Captain Kirk’s greatest (and boldest) missions, but eight episodes that are also fan favorites. On top of that, it also includes some rather in-depth commentary form Captain Kirk himself. Topping of the ways in which this set proves itself worthy of Star Trek fans around the world is its collective production values. The episodes presented here look and sound just as good as in their previous presentations. All three elements combined together prove this double-disc set one that every Star Trek fan of every age will appreciate with every watch and should have in their own home DVD collection. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from CBS Home Entertainment at http://cbshe.com/STKirk. More information on this and other titles available from CBS Home Entertainment is available online now at:


Website: http://www.cbshomeentertainment.com

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


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Lionsgate Announces Release Date, Specs For Ex Machina

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Lionsgate’s hit sci-fi thriller ex machina is coming to DVD and Blu-ray this summer.

Officials with Lionsgate have announced that ex machina will be released Tuesday, July 14th. It will be releaed both on Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and DVD + Digital combo pack. The movie stars Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens, Unbroken), Alicia Vikander (The Circle, A Royal Affair) Golden Globe®-nominated actor Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens, A Most Violent Year) and is helmed by Alex Garland (Dredd, writer of 28 Days) in his directorial debut.

The story behind ex machina is centered on young computer programmer Caleb (Domhnall). Caleb has won a competition to spend a week at the mountain retreat of his company’s CEO Nathan (Isaac). What Caleb doesn’t realize is that he didn’t necessarily win a contest. He has actually been chosen to be part of a study involving an artificial intelligence (played here by Alicia Vikander). Caleb has been sworn to secrecy and what’s more, he has been cut off from the rest of the world in the study. Upon meeting the android Caleb is pulled into a world that he never thought possible. Both the DVD + Digital combo pack and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack will feature a handful of bonuses including a making of featurette, a panel discussion from South X Southwest with the cast and crew, and a number of behind the scenes videos. The Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack will retail for MSRP of $24.99 and DVD for MSRP of $19.98. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

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

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.

ESPN Announces Early Details For PBC Debut Broadcast

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s long-running weekly boxing program Friday Night Fights may be done. But boxing is anything but gone from the worldwide leader in sports. Officials with ESPN announced the details for the premiere episode of its new boxing series Premiere Boxing Champions ahead of last Friday’s series-ending broadcast of FNF.

Premiere Boxing Champions will air its premiere episode on Saturday, July 11th at 9pm ET on ESPN live from a yet-to-be-named venue in Tampa, Florida. The debut episode of the network’s new boxing program will be a big one. The evening’s main event will be a twelve-round welterweight matchup between currently undefeated Keith “One Time” Thurman (25 – 0, 21 KOs) and Luis Callazo (36 – 6, 19 KOs). The evening’s opening bout will be aten-round junior middleweight fight between undefeated Tony Harrison (21 – 0, 18 KOs) and Willie Nelson (23 – 2 – 1, 13 KOs). And for those with access to ESPN3, ESPN3 will carry the evening’s preliminary bouts. The details on those fights will be announced at a later date. Thurman is considered by many to be the heir apparent in the division to Floyd Mayweather once Mayweather retires. He comes into the premiere episode of PBC on ESPN on the heels of a unanimous decision win over welterweight contender Robert Guerro in his most recent match. Collazo also will look to make a splash in the debut episode of PBC on ESPN by adding yet another notch to his “W” column, as he defeated Christopher Degollado courtesy of a 2nd-round TKO in his most recent match. In the night’s other bout, Harrison will be looking to keep his winning ways going, as he comes in to the night’s fight on the heels of a 3rd-round TKO win over Pablo Munguia in his most recent fight. Nelson on the other hand will look to get back into the “W” column having suffered a tough unanimous decision loss to Vanes Matrirosyan in his last fight.

The upcoming boxing series was created for television by Haymon Boxing and will feature top-tier fights between some of boxing’s biggest names each week. Each season’s broadcast schedule will include twelve two-hour shows annually on ESPN and ABC. ESPN Deportes will also carry each week’s broadcast on its Noche de Combates series. On an even larger scale, ESPN International will carry coverage of PBC on ESPN in Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, and Pacific Rim. Fans that won’t be near a television during each fight’s broadcast can always see PBC on ESPN online via WatchESPN on computers, smartphones, tablets, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via an affiliated video provider.

The long-time FNF broadcast team of Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will have the call for each broadcast of PBC on ESPN.

More information on PBC on ESPN is available online now at:

Website: http://www.premierboxingchampions.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/premierboxing

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.

Dragonforce Announces Release Date, Specs For Upcoming Live Recording

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

It is finally official. Dragonforce’s new live recording will finally become reality this summer.

Officials with Metal Blade Records announced on Friday that Dragonforce’s new live recording In The Line Of Fire will be released on Friday, July 10th. That is the first official release day on the music world’s new “Global Release Day.” The recording will be released both on double-disc Blu-ray and double-disc DVD presentation. One disc of the DVD presentation will feature the band’s performance on DVD, The other will feature the performance on CD. Both presentations feature the band’s Ultimate Stage headlining performance from the 2014 Loud Park Festival at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. Regardless of which platform fans choose, they can pre-order either or both right now online at http://www.metalblade.com/dragonforce. Audiences can check out the trailer for the recording online now along with one of the songs included in the show’s setlist–‘Three Hammers–via SoundCloud at http://www.metalblade.com/dragonforce. Fans can also see the band performing that same song via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIv3cmvZRTI.

Dragonforce is currently wrapping up a tour alongside Kamelot, which is also touring in support of its latest new release Haven. The bands will perform live today, May 23rd at Iron City in Birmingham, Alabama. Once that show is done, the band will take some much-needed time off before heading overseas for the European leg of its tour beginning with the famed Download Festival at Donington, U.K. It will begin the Asian leg of its tour in Bangkok, Thailand on August 29th. That tour runs through September 11th in Tokyo, Japan. As an added note, the band will return to the United States this fall on November 13th for the second leg of its tour with Kamelot. That tour includes a stop in North Carolina’s “Queen City” on November 17th at The Fillmore. Fans can keep up with the band’s latest tour updates and news online now, including news on its upcoming live recording, at:

Website: http://www.dragonforce.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dragonforce

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.

ESPN Names Host For 2015 ESPYS Broadcast

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Audiences now know who will host this year’s installment of ESPN’s annual ESPYS.

Joel McHale, host of E!’s The Soup, will emcee this year’s awards show, which will air live July 15th at 8pm ET on ABC. This year is not the first time that he has appeared on The ESPYS. he has also served as a presented on the annual awards program. Regarding that appearance and his love for the sports world and ESPN, ESPYS Executive Producer Maura Mandt said “I’ve had the opportunity to work with Joel on previous projects, including when he presented at The ESPYS, and he’s an enthusiastic fan whose talents will bring a new spin to the night’s celebration.”

Along with his previous appearance on The ESPYS, McHale also hosted the annual White House Correspoondent’s dinner last year. Conner Schell, Senior VP of ESPN Films and Original Content heads ESPN’s annual ESPYS broadcast. He explained the reason for choosing McHale noting his talent and love for sports. “Joel is an extremely talented performer, a unique voice and a huge sports fan,” he said. “His experience as a comedian and love of sports make Joel the perfect host for The ESPYS inaugural broadcast on ABC.”

McHale was originally a member of the University of Washington’s football team while in college before eventually being recruited for its rowing program. He kept the mood light in discussing the announcement of his appointment saying, “I’m thrilled to be hosting The ESPYS. Just ecstatic. After my stunning victory in the Iditarod this year by only using six Bichon Frises and a lamb, I think the sports world saw me as the logical host.”

ESPN will precede its annual ESPYS broadcast with a special broadcast of SportsCenter at The ESPYS from 6 – 7pm ET and The ESPYS Countdown Show Presented by Capital One from 7 – 8pm ET. Fans that want to attend this year’s ESPYS can purchase tickets online now at AXS.com. More information on this year’s ESPYS broadcast is available online now via Twitter at http://twitter.com/ESPYS.

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.

Slayer Posts New Announcement Online

Photo Credit: Andrew Stuart

Photo Credit: Andrew Stuart

Slayer has just released a special message for its fans.

The message is presented via a rather cryptic video. The video flashes images of the band recording music in studio before flashing the word “Repentless” and 9/11 at its very end. The whole thing runs for a total of only thirty-four seconds. perhaps a hint at the title for the band’s new release and its release date? Audiences can check it out for themselves online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMR7qx3XjxI.

More hints at the message behind the message is available online along with all of the latest news from the band itself at:

Website: http://www.slayer.net

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

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.