Audiences Will Agree Sammy Johnson’s New LP Is “Cool” And “Easy” On The Ears

Courtesy: Mensch House Records

It goes without saying that reggae and R&B are two very closely related musical genres.  Sure, one originated in Jamaica and the other in the United States, but the relaxed stylistic approach to the two genres and the sound of each blends well with the other.  What’s more, the lyrical themes that feature in so many songs from each genre are equally accessible.  So it only makes sense that the two genres occasionally find themselves intersecting and forming some very popular works.  Independent artist Sammy Johnson has joined the two genres effectively in his brand new album Cool & Easy, to the end that this 10-song record assures its appeal among audiences of both genres.  That is noted in part because of the album’s musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The equally accessible lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical content adds even more to its appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The album’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make the album in whole, an interesting presentation that reggae and R&B fans alike will find worth hearing at least once.

Sammy Johnson’s latest full-length studio recording Cool & Easy is a presentation that definitely lives up to its name.  It is a record that will find wide appeal among audiences.   That is due in no small part to its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question blend the best elements of R&B and reggae for a unique sound that stands out against so much of today’s reggae and R&B works.  Given, this outing is hardly the first time that Johnson has taken this approach of melding the two genres, but he still manages to keep the arrangements fresh in this case.  He doesn’t stick to just one style of R&B to compliment his more constant reggae arrangements.  For instance, ‘She’s A Keeper,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is something of a slow jam style work.  It, against the noted familiar reggae work makes for a great song for any date night or even wedding.  Meanwhile, a song, such as ‘For Your Love’ throws back to the R&B and soul jams of the late 80s, what with its keyboards.  It is a distinctly different work than the more modern slow jam styling of ‘She’s A Keeper.’  On yet another note, the album’s title track, which comes late in the album’s presentation, lives up to its title with its light, laid back approach.  The R&B influence is here, but in this case, Johnson’s reggae influence takes more of the limelight.  The very title and companion musical arrangement makes the song feel like a work that would help set the mood for a relaxed evening at the beach.  Yet again here audiences see why the album’s musical arrangements are so important to its presentation.  Each one is accessible for any listener while still using subtle changes to make each composition its own unique work.  Between the songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the album’s musical presentation builds a solid foundation for the record.  It ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own right.  The lyrical content that accompanies the musical content featured here adds to that engagement and entertainment.

The lyrical content that is featured throughout Johnson’s new LP follows one central theme, that of romance and relationships.  Right from the record’s outset, audiences get a song in ‘Come A Little Closer’ whose title is self-explanatory.  This song is sung from a man’s standpoint as he is trying to coax a woman to…well…come closer.  Early on he even sings to that woman, “I just wonder/Can I get your number?/Can we go out for a night on the town/’Cause I just want to get to know you baby.”  This is relatively obvious.  This is that opening moment of a budding relationship.  On another level, ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ will relate in its own way to listeners, lyrically speaking.  This song finds the song’s subject having doubts about the state of his relationship with his romantic interest.  He says early on in the song, “You say you love me/But sometimes I get to thinking/Your heart’s getting restless/From time to time/I hear talking different…Maybe it’s just my mind playing  tricks on me/Maybe I’m just making it up, now/And if it’s true, then I don’t wanna know.”  The rest of the song follows in similar fashion in regards to its lyrics.  Keeping that in mind, it is pretty obvious here, too, what the subject is saying.  Audiences have gone here, from the early stage of any relationship to that point that everyone reaches, wondering if that connection is still there.  This will certainly connect with its own share of listeners because it is just a reality of any relationship.  It is just one more way in which the album’s lyrical content proves so important to its presentation.  ‘The Edge,’ the record’s penultimate song, seems to take things even farther, literally to the edge.  Some of the lyrical content here is difficult to decipher, but the mention of looking in the mirror and seeing one’s self alongside the note of a person’s face showing one thing, but another emotion being felt inside seems to hint perhaps at that relationship sitting precariously at a critical point.  If that is in fact the case, then what audiences get in this song, is a completion of what is otherwise a story of a relationship’s infancy, growth and potential death.  Add in the other songs in regards to their lyrical themes (also which focus on relationships in various situations) and again what audiences get overall is a series of songs whose lyrical content centers on a very accessible topic in a variety of ways.  Together with the record’s musical content, the whole makes the album a presentation that will appeal even more to audiences.  The overall content is just a portion of what makes the album successful.  The production of the collective content puts the finishing touch to its presentation.

The production of Sammy Johnson’s new album is important to note because, again, it does blend the noted reggae and R&B influences in each song.  The genres are so similar that it would have been easy for the arrangements to get muddied and bogged down in themselves without proper production.  Had that happened, what would have happened is that the two would have been impossible to differentiate from one another.  Luckily, painstaking efforts were clearly taken to ensure that the two related genres were balanced to the utmost throughout.  What’s more, the subtleties in the arrangement, letting listeners know that they were not just getting the same song from one to the next, are just as well balanced within the songs.  The extra elements are so subtle that listeners have to commit themselves to really listening to each song, but that is actually a good thing.  That added attention means that listeners will in turn have more appreciation for each composition and the album in whole.  They will also catch all of the minutiae noted here as to the musical and lyrical content.  In turn, listeners will agree that the album in whole is indeed a welcome presentation that fans of both genres will appreciate.

Sammy Johnson’s new album Cool & Easy is a presentation that lives up to its title and that audiences will find worth hearing at least once.  That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements, which do so well blending Johnson’s familiar R&B leanings with some subtle reggae influences here.  The whole is a presentation that is fully accessible for audiences in its own right.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical content builds in the foundation formed through the album’s musical content.  That content is just as accessible to audiences because it follows a real, overarching theme – that of romance and relationships.  The production that went into the album’s presentation blends the two musical influences expertly together with the arrangements’ subtleties to make the record in whole a solid whole.  Each item noted here is clearly important in its own right to this album.  All things considered, the album proves itself that R&B and reggae fans alike will find well worth hearing at least once if not more.  Cool & Easy is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Sammy Johnson’s latest news at:

Website: https://sammyjohnsonmusic.com

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

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Soulfly Working On Its Next Album

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Soulfly is officially back in the studio.

The announcement was made Friday through a news release distributed to the media. The document states the band is now working on the follow-up to its 2018 album Ritual. Additionally, it states the band is working with producer Arthur Rizk (Cavalera Conspiracy, Code Orange, Power trip) on the album. Expectations are that the album will release in late 2021.

According to front man Max Cavalera, work on the album was already underway prior to getting back into the studio.

“I’ve been working on this record with my son, Zyon, since June of last year,” he said. “We are in the studio now with producer Arthur Rizk, creating a really wild record. Expect the unexpected! No rules, no limits, not holding anything back, just pure SOULFLY!”

More information on Soulfly’s next record is available along with all of Soulfly’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.soulfly.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SoulflyOfficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheSoulflyTribe

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Blackmore’s Night Debuts New Single, ‘Four Winds’

Courtesy: earMusic/BFD/The Orchard

Blackmore’s Night unveiled another single from its forthcoming weekend this week.

The band debuted its new single ‘Four Winds‘ Friday. The song is the second single from the band’s forthcoming album Nature’s Light, which is scheduled for release March 12 through earMusic (distributed by BFD/The Orchard). It follows the debut of the album’s lead single, ‘Once Upon December‘ last month. The band has scheduled the debut of the ‘Four Winds’ lyric video for Jan. 29.

The band’s new single boasts in its musical arrangement, its familiar Renaissance syle approach, complete with lute and guitar. The addition of the operatic style vocals from Candice Night and drums give the song a more modern sound at the same time. The balance of the elements makes the arrangement in whole its own unique presentation from the band.

Night discussed the lyrical content featured in the new single in a prepared statement.

“‘Four Winds’ is the story of two girls, actually inspired by two of my oldest friendships”, said Night. “One who left Long Island and moved to California and one who left to move to Virginia. Going to across the country to California and living on the water was where the first girl felt the call to her soul, being able to watch the dolphins in the water and living the life by the ocean, while the other one took a very different path and felt the call to the woods inspired by wolves and other woodland creatures.”

“They both have equal importance in this storyline and are ultimately a part of me and perhaps of everyone, being pulled away from the stress of their current surroundings and looking for escape,” added Night. “If you feel stagnant or repressed in your surroundings, it’s important to take a break from the mundane and go where your heart leads you. It allows you to recharge and begin again with fresh and renewed energy. For some it is the ocean, for some the woods, for some feeling the sun on your face, others need to immerse in moonlight. Ultimately, we are all a part of the same story, the same picture and as the song says, “we’re all part of the trees and part of the seas and ready to start again…”.

Pre-orders are open for Nature’s Light.

The album will release on CD, digital, 180-gram gatefold vinyl, limited edition heavyweight yellow vinyl gatefold and limited edition 2CD hardcover mediabook The second disc featured in the limited edition release will contain a variety of songs from the band’s catalog.

The album’s track listing is noted below.

TRACKLIST

1.) ONCE UPON DECEMBER
2.) FOUR WINDS
3.) FEATHER IN THE WIND
4.) DARKER SHADE OF BLACK (INSTRUMENTAL)
5.) THE TWISTED OAK
6.) NATURE’S LIGHT
7.) DER LETZTE MUSKETIER (INSTRUMENTAL)
8.) WISH YOU WERE HERE (2021)
9.) GOING TO THE FAIRE
10.) SECOND ELEMENT

More information on Blackmore’s Night’s new album, single, and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.Blackmoresnight.com

Facbeookhttp://www.facebook.com/blackmoresnightofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/TruCandiceNight

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Liquid Tension Experiment Debuts ‘The Passage Of Time’ Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Liquid tension Experiment fans are getting their first full preview of the band’s next album.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘The Passage of Time‘ Friday. The song is the lead single from the quartet’s forthcoming album LTE3, which is scheduled for release March 26 through InsideOut Music.

The video features footage of the band members — Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci, Tony Levin, and Jordan Rudess — performing their respective parts to the song as images of multi-colored liquid plays over the noted footage. The musical arrangement that accompanies the video is everything that audiences have come to expect from Liquid Tension Experiment and from Dream Theater.

Two of the LTE’s members — John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess — are band mates in Dream Theater. Founding member and drummer Portnoy departed the band in 2010. To that end, it is understandable why this latest song sound stylistically so much like much of the body of work from Dream Theater.

Portnoy talked about the creation of ‘The Passage of Time’ during a recent interview with himself and his LTE band mates.

“‘The Passage of Time’ was the very first song we composed together when we reunited this past summer, he said. “It was so exciting to be back in a room creating together again after so long (22 years for all 4 of us and over 10 years for the 3 of us since being together in DT).  This serves as a great first taste for the listeners as it combines so many of the musical elements that makes LTE unique”

Petrucci expanded on Portnoy’s comments.

“This was the first song we worked on and when it was done, we all knew once again how amazing it was to be working together,” said Petrucci. “We knew we were on to something and that this was going to be a really amazing album. Nothing about the passage of over two decades could’ve done anything to change that. To me this song truly reflects the collaborative songwriting efforts of all four of us.”

Ruddess also shared his thoughts during the interview.

There is an undeniable chemistry that happens when the four of us are together,” he added. “Entering the studio and starting work on ‘The Passage of Time’ after 22 years literally gave me a whole new perspective on these important musical (and personal) relationships and the way time is so relative. We just jumped right in, it was like no time had passed at all, and we created a song that has so many of the elements that make LTE unique. Not a day has gone by since our last release when I wasn’t asked, “When is LTE getting back together again?” Now we can finally deliver, and I can’t wait for everybody to hear our creation.”

Levin put the accent to the discussion, noting there is more to come from Liquid Tension Experiment.

“From the murky depths of the lockdown, LTE has re-emerged, galvanized, dripping with ideas, and taking no prisoners,” said Levin. “‘The Passage of Time’ is just the beginning.”

More than two decades have passed since the quartet released its then most recent record Liquid Tension Experiment 2. That record, released in 1999, was followed up by the release of the album Spontaneous Combustion in October 2007 by three quarters of the group, which opted to call itself Liquid Tension Trio. Portnoy, Levin, and Rudess recorded the album while Petrucci and his wife welcomed their then baby.

The new album’s track listing is noted below.

Tracklisting:
 
1. Hypersonic (8:22)
2. Beating The Odds (6:09)
3. Liquid Evolution (3:23)
4. The Passage Of Time (7:32)
5. Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey (5:04)
6. Rhapsody In Blue (13:16)
7. Shades Of Hope (4:42)
8. Key To The Imagination (13:14)
 
Bonus Disc: Includes almost an hour of improvised jams.

The album will release on the platforms noted below. Pre-orders open now.

•Limited deluxe hot pink 3LP+2CD+Blu-ray Box Set (incl. a poster and 4 artcards, Blu-ray includes a 5.1 surround mix with visuals, and full band interview from the studio)
•Limited 2CD+Blu-ray Artbook
•Limited 2CD Digipak
•Gatefold black 2LP+CD
• Digital album (2CD)

More information on this and other titles from InsideOut Music is available along with the label’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.insideoutmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/InsideOutUSA

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hyro The Hero Debuts New Single, ‘Retaliation Generation,’ Companion Lyric Video; Announces Livestream Show

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Independent rapper Hyro The Hero debuted his latest single this week along with its companion video.

The rapper (a.k.a. Hyron Louis Fenton, Jr.) debuted his new single ‘Retaliation Generation’ and its lyric video Friday. The song features guest vocals by Ice Nine Kills front man Spencer Charnas. Charnas’ familiar vocal delivery style compliments Fenton’s own familiar flow as he raps about what today’s youth is going through. Meanwhile, the familiar Rage Against The Machine style musical approach for which Fenton has come to be known joins the noted vocal performances to make the song complete.

The lyric video for ‘Retaliation Generation’ places the song’s lyrics over a post apocalyptic backdrop, complete with images of zombies, a perfect fit for Charnas. That is because Charnas and his Ice Nine Kills band mates are known for crafting songs based off of horror flicks. In the case of this song though, the imagery is used to help translate the message in the song’s lyrical content.

Fenton talked about the song’s lyrical content during a recent interview.

“I think this song captures the emotion of what this generation feels in this crazy time we are living in,” he added. “It’s full on attack mode right from the beginning it’s such a great feeling when an artist like Spencer helps take a song like this to the next level. I want anybody who listens to this song to be a voice. Stand up for what you believe in.”

Additionally, Fenton talked about the song’s creation, including the addition of Charnas’ guest vocals.

“‘Retaliation Generation’ is a great song that represents the style of music I have come to be known for,” said Fenton. “Having Spencer sing the hook and Matt Good on production blasted this track into ‘anthem’ territory.”

Charnas added to Fenton’s thoughts with his own comments.

“I think with everything going on in the last several years, our generation is holding people accountable,” he said. “It’s a movement in terms of a ‘You ain’t getting away with this s*** anymore.’ It’s a battle cry. I think it’s got such a cool overall message of not letting trials and tribulations of the world get you down. I think people can be their own worst enemy, and this is a song of empowerment. You can fight for what you believe in. It’s up to you to put up or shut up.”

Hyro The Hero’s collaboration is just his latest big name team-up. He most recently worked with Hellyeah and former Mudvayne front man Chad Gray on the inspirational song ‘Fight.’ Prior to that song’s release, he worked with Disturbed front man David Draiman on the song ‘We Believe.’

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

In other news, Hyro The Hero will host a livestream even at 4 p.m. ET today through his official Twitch channel. Charnas, AJ Channer (Fire From the Gods), and Ben Bruce (Asking Alexandria) will also make appearances during the livestream show. Fans can RSVP here. Additionally, Hyro The Hero will be a guest for Fire From the Gods’ own livestream even Jan. 30. Tickets for that event are available here.

More information on Hyro The Hero’s new single, video, and livestreatm is available online now along with all of Hyro The Hero’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.hyrothehero.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/HyroTheHero

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/hyrothehero

More information on Ice Nine Kills is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://iceninekills.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/IceNineKills

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/iceninekills

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Gemini Syndrome Debuts New Single, ‘IDK,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Another Century/Century Media/Century Media Records

Gemini Syndrome debuted its latest single this week along with the song’s companion video.

The band debuted its new single ‘IDK‘ and its video Tuesday. The song and its video are the second from the band’s forthcoming as yet untitled album. The debuts come more than a month after the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘Reintegration‘ and its video.

The video for ‘IDK’ features the band performing its new single against a psychedelic backdrop superimposed behind the band on a green screen. A variety of video effects is used to heighten the visual experience for audiences.

The musical arrangement featured in the band’s new single is a heavy melodic presentation. The contrast of the more melodic rock style verses and the aggression in the song’s chorus makes for even more impact for the song.

The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement presents something of an existential discussion, according to front man Aaron Nordstrom.

“IDK plays with the double entendre, ‘I decay’ and ‘IDK’ (I don’t know) to illustrate the Voltaire quote, ‘The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing,“ he said.

Drummer Brian Steele Medina added to Nordstrom’s comments.

“IDK opens the door to the idea that we have to be willing to discard our old ideas and identity to give space for new ideas to grow and allow a more evolved identity to flourish,“ said Medina.  The last thing we want to do is to get stuck in old patterns of thought and behavior. This is an essential principal as we progress through the various degrees of the initiatory traditions.”

More information on Gemini Syndrome’s new single and forthcoming album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://geminisyndrome.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/GeminiSyndrome

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/GeminiSyndrome

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.

Seasons Debuts New Single, ‘Killing Season,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: MVK Music Group

Metalcore outfit Seasons debuted its latest single and video this month.

The band debuted its new single ‘Killing Season‘ and its video Jan. 6. Following in the tracks of Ice Nine Kills, Seasons’ new single and video focus on the infamous cinema murderer Jason from New Line Cinema/Paramount Pictures’ Friday the 13th franchise.

The release of the band’s new single and video comes ahead of the pending release of the second independent sequel to the franchise, Friday The 13th: Vengeance 2. The movie is expected for release this fall.

The band discussed its new single and video in a prepared statement.

“This song was written from the perspective of the fictional masked murderer Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th franchise,” the statement reads. “The song is loaded with references to different aspects of Jason and events that happen to the character throughout the movie franchise. We are very excited and proud to say that the song will be featured on the soundtrack for the movie Friday the 13th: Vengeance 2. This movie is expected to be released in the fall of 2021.”

The musical arrangement that accompanies Seasons’ new single is stylistically speaking, very much in the same vein as the arrangement at the center of Ice Nine Kills’ own Friday the 13th story, ‘Thank God It’s Friday. While the two songs are their own works, the stylistic approach and sound in Seasons’ work is still very similar to Ice Nine Kills’ song.

More information on Seasons’ new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: https://seasonsbandofficial.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeasonsRVA

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

Dead Original Debuts New Single, ‘Blasted,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: INgrooves/The Label Group

Dead Original debuted its latest single and video last week.

The band debuted its new single ‘Blasted‘ Jan. 14 along with its companion video. The song and its video are the sixth from the band’s forthcoming album Bought and Sold, which is scheduled for release Feb. 26. Their premieres follow those of the album’s other singles, ‘Let It Burn,’ ‘Bought & Sold,’ ‘Fade To Light,’ ‘Hard To See,’ and ‘Restrained.’

As with many of the band’s existing videos, the video for ‘Blasted’ features the band performing its single in what looks to be the band’s rehearsal space. The song’s featured musical arrangement is a steady, mid-tempo modern rock arrangement that will fit well with any active rock radio station’s daily play list.

The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement presents a distinct introspective statement according to front man Paul Wandtke.

“‘Blasted’ is kind of a self-reflection song like when you go outside and stare at the sky and think to yourself, ‘You know, things might be all right,” he said.

More information on Dead Original’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.deadoriginal.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/DeadOriginal

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/deadoriginal_

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.

CMG Succeeds Again With Its Fourth Buster Keaton Cinematic Collection

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

It goes without saying that Hollywood has fallen far from its former greatness over the course of the past 30 years or so.  The last time that Hollywood’s “Big Six” created anything truly worth watching on the big screen (and small) was the late 1990s.  Ever since then, Hollywood’s cinematic output has consisted primarily of prequels, sequels, reboots, and overly embellished movies based on actual events.  It has made independent studios increasingly important outlets for those looking for alternative outlets for audiences looking for their cinematic entertainment.  Cohen Media Group has succeeded in that avenue quite well over the course of the past two years through its re-issues of physical comedian Buster Keaton’s classic silent films.  The latest of those re-issues came early last month in the form of the company’s fourth collection of Keaton classics, The Buster Keaton Collection:  Volume 4.  As with its predecessors, which were released between May 2019 and August 2019, this fourth volume offers plenty for audiences to enjoy, beginning with its featured stories.  Those stories will be discussed shortly.  The look and sound of the restored films adds its own appeal for audiences and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the stories puts the finishing touch to the collection’s presentation.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the set’s presentation.  All things considered, they make The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4 one more important presentation for any classic cinephile and Buster Keaton fan.

Cohen Media Group’s latest Buster Keaton cinematic collection, is yet another enjoyable alternative to the endless stream of prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events that Hollywood’s “Big Six” continue to churn out annually.  It is a presentation that will appeal equally to fans of Keaton’s work and to classic cinephiles.  That is proven in large part through its featured stories.  Featured this time are the 1925 movie Go West and its 1927 follow-up CollegeGo West is not as well-known as some of Keaton’s other silent offerings, but offers audiences plenty of entertainment.  It stars Keaton as a down-on-his-luck man who ends up becoming a ranch hand in his search for work.  In the process, Keaton’s unnamed character ends up befriending a cow when he is sent to help round up a herd of cattle that will soon thereafter be carried via train to stockyards in Los Angeles.  That friendship that Keaton’s character develops with the wayward soon after becomes the central point of the story because he starts out the story being friendless and basically penniless.  Audiences will note that throughout the course of Go West’s one hour, nine minute run time, the pratfalls and other physical comedy for which Keaton had come to be known over his career were less prominent here.  It was one of those rare moments in which Keaton relied more on his pure acting skills to tell a story than his physical comedy. It makes the movie somewhat less memorable than many of his other movies, but no less entertaining.  It really shows another side of Keaton that audiences are sure to enjoy.

College by comparison is among the most well-known of Keaton’s silent film career.  This movie’s story finds Keaton’s character Ronald trying to win the heart of a young woman following graduation from their high school.  He tries to win her over by showing he can be athletic as well as smart as a member of one of Clayton College’s sports teams.  Audiences cannot help but root for him as he tries his hand – unsuccessfully – at baseball and a variety of track and field events.  Alas Ronald struggles through it all, but unknown to him, the young woman whose heart he wants to win is watching, and she eventually does develop a soft spot for him.  When he is appointed coxswain of the college’s rowing team, it leads to a happy ending between the pair.  How the ending happens will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  It should be noted here that for all of the enjoyment the story brings, there is one scene in which Ronald dons black face in order to get himself a job.  Ronald’s intent was good at heart, being that he was just trying to get a job.  At the same time though, the scene in itself played zero part in the overall story.  To that end, it is clear that the story’s creative heads put that scene in for no reason other than racist tendencies.  Keeping that in mind, that scene really should have been omitted from the movie.  Such portrayal was wrong then and is wrong now.  Keaton does so well in his underdog performance this time out. That is due in part to Keaton breaking some from his typical stone face demeanor and actually emoting some.  The physical comedy that he utilizes –especially in the track and field moments and during the big rowing race – adds even more enjoyment for audiences. Viewers will laugh riotously at the result of Ronald trying his hand at the high jump and hammer thrown, and even what he does to try and keep his rowing team’s boat straight in the big finale race.  Between the familiar physical comedy, Keaton’s general performance and the story itself here, audiences have so much to appreciate in this classic movie.  Together with the touching and entertaining story of friendship in Go West, the two movies are themselves more than enough reason for audiences to add this collection to their movie libraries. Building on the appeal of the movies is their production values. 

The production values of the movies featured in Cohen Media Group’s first three volumes of Buster Keaton movies played a big part into their presentations.  The painstaking efforts that were made in order to restore the nearly century-old footage, both in terms of its visual and audio quality paid off in each presentation.  The same applies to this pair of movies.  The grainy look of the original presentation was kept.  At the same time, it is clear that those responsible for the touch up went to great lengths to retain the original look of the film.  Even the original edits are there and have been touched up just enough to keep them from being distracting.  The result of the intensive work put in to restore the footage clearly paid off, with the result being a presentation that creates such a positive aesthetic sense.  In the same breath, the re-worked musical track adds its own touch to the overall presentation.  The whole of the re-mastered audio and video makes watching these latest re-issues just as enjoyable for their production values as for their stories and for Keaton’s acting.  These elements are just a portion of what makes the collection so enjoyable.  The bonus content that accompanies the set’s primary content rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus content that is featured in CMG’s latest Buster Keaton collection adds its own touch to the set’s presentation because it is so much unlike that of the previous collections.  The bonus content that is featured with the first three collections is just a series of discussions lifted from CMG’s 2019 Keaton documentary The Great Buster.  That trend was not repeated here.  Instead, audiences get a full hour-length audio recording of Keaton pitching a TV show script and an original Western short also titled Go West.  The audio recording of Keaton’s script pitch is interesting, though somewhat difficult to hear.  Viewers have to turn the volume very high in order to be able to really hear it.  It leaves one wondering if any work was done to restore that audio.  On the other hand, the short Go West makes for some wonderful entertainment.  The silent short tells the story of a young man who ends up moving to the Wild West after being kicked out of his home by his own father.  The story is enacted by a group of trained Capuchin Monkeys.  The monkeys’ acting, the model train and old west town that are presented here give the story such a great look and feel while the story itself is just as entertaining and engaging for audiences.  The outcome will be left for audiences themselves to discover.  Though, it should be noted that as entertaining and engaging as it all is, there are mentions of alcohol in this story so parents who watch the otherwise family friendly story with their children might have to figure out a way to explain that aspect to their kids.  That aside, the story still makes for a great accent to everything else featured in this latest collection.  When it is considered along with the collection’s primary content and its related production values, the whole becomes a presentation that Keaton’s most devoted fans will enjoy just as much as any true cinephiles.  It leaves audiences hoping that as with the first three collections, this one will not be the last since there are still some classic Buster Keaton flicks that have yet to be released to the masses.

Cohen Media Group’s fourth installment of Buster Keaton movies is another presentation that cinephiles and Keaton fans will find equally interesting.  That is due in part to the stories that are featured in this collection’s pairing of movies.  Each story puts Keaton into his familiar lovable underdog role and does so in its own unique fashion.  The work put in to restore the footage in each movie paid off, adding even more appeal to the overall presentation.  That includes the re-mastering of the footage and the newly recorded score for each film.  The bonus short that accompanies the set’s primary content rounds out its most important elements.  Each element noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4 another overall presentation that will appeal equally to Keaton’s most devoted fans and cinephiles alike.  The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4 is available now. 

More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.cohenmedia.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/cohenmediagroup

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.

20 Watt Tombstone’s New EP Proves Big Things Can And Do Come In Small Packages

Courtesy: Dewar PR

Imitation, it’s often said, is the sincerest form of flattery.  If that is indeed the case, then independent rock band 20 Watt Tombstone’s new two-song EP Year of the Jackalope is will certainly flatter country singer Chris Stapleton and the members of ZZ Top.  Additionally, the record, which is scheduled for release Friday, will likely flatter fans of the noted acts as much as the noted acts themselves.  That is proven through the covers of songs from the two hugely respected acts that are featured in the record.  The covers make for a strong new offering for the duo – Tom Jordan and Mitch Ostrowski – and a new overall presentation that is certain to help build the band’s name even more in the rock community.

20 Watt Tombstone’s new forthcoming EP Year of the Jackalope is a record that will appeal equally to its own fans as to fans of the bands whose music is covered in the presentation.  There is no doubt about that.  The EP opens with an amped up cover of ZZ Top’s song ‘Just Got Paid.’  Originally featured in ZZ Top’s 1972 album Rio Grande Mud, the song was never used as a single for the record.  As a matter of fact, the album in question produced one single, ‘Francine.’  That aside, the song has since gone on to become a favorite of fans and bands alike.  20 Watt Tombstone’s take on the now timeless song stays largely true to its source material.  There are no changes to the song’s lyrical content.  The only real change comes in the approach that the band took to the song here.  As noted already, 20 Watt Tombstone’s take on the song is quite amped up in comparison to its source material.  The guitars and drums are both so much fuller in this rendition than in ZZ Top’s take.  That is not to say that ZZ Top’s original composition is bad by any means.  That should not be misconstrued.  It is just a sign of the evolution of recording technology and of instruments themselves.  The twang of the original guitar line is there along with everything else.  The only real difference is that this amped up take gives the song a little bit more of a stoner rock sound than the original song.  That combination of the added stoner element to the original southern rock sound makes for a song in whole that will reach a wide range of listeners.  The song’s companion composition, the cover of Chris Stapleton’s ‘Midnight Train to Memphis’ works with this work to make for even more appeal.

As with 20 Watt Tombstone’s cover of ‘Just Got Paid,’ the duo’s take on ‘Midnight Train to Memphis’ amps up Chris Stapleton’s song, too.  The original song, featured in Stapleton’s 2017 album From A Room: Volume 2 was, like ZZ Top’s song, not featured as a single on his own record.  That aside, it has also gone on to be a favorite in its own right among Stapleton’s fans.  20 Watt Tombstone’s take of ‘Midnight Train to Memphis’ continues the stoner rock approach that the duo presented in its cover of ‘Just Got Paid’ while also staying true to its source material.  It gives the original song, which is enjoyable in its own right, a hard/stoner rock infusion that takes that song to a whole new level.  The hybrid country/stoner/hard rock approach here is certain to bring in Stapleton and his fans as well as 20 Watt Tombstone’s own fans.  When the song is considered along with 20 Watt Tombstone’s cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Just Got Paid,’ the two songs together make Year of the Jackalope a record that while small still packs quite a punch.  That punch makes this record a presentation that could make 2021 a big year for 20 Watt Tombstone.

20 Watt Tombstone’s forthcoming EP Year of the Jackalope is proof that big things can and often do come in small packages.  It proves over the course of just two songs and little more than seven minutes, this band deserves its own share of attention among the next generation of hard and stoner rock bands.  That is proven through each of its two covers, which are takes on songs that while themselves not even singles from their respective acts, have still proven to be fan favorites.  20 Watt Tombstone’s take on the songs takes the original songs, which are enjoyable in their own right and gives them a hard rock infusion that gives each song a whole new life.  Each song is enjoyable in its own right to the whole of this brief presentation.  Collectively speaking, they make Year of the Jackalope a record that, given the right support, could make 2021 a big year in itself for 20 Watt Tombstone.  Year of the Jackalope is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://20watttombstone.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/20watttombstone

Twitter: https://twitter.com/20watttombstone

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