‘Vibrating’ Is A Successful New Offering From Collective Soul

Courtesy: Fuzze-Flex Records

Veteran rock band Collective Soul released its latest album, Vibrating, Friday through Fuzze-Flex Records and in conjunction with its release, launched a nearly two-month long North American tour in support of the album July 30 in Grantville, PA.  The tour is set to make its way to Cary, NC Sept. 7 (as a heads up for this critic’s fellow North Carolinians).  The album has already produced two singles in the form of ‘All Our Pieces’ and ‘Cut The Cord,’ both of which are engaging and entertaining songs in their own right.  They are just two of the notable additions to the record, too.  ‘Reason,’ the album’s second entry is also of note.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Rule #1,’ which comes later in the album’s 50-minute run time, is another notable addition to Vibrating.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Where Do I Go,’ the record’s finale, is just as much of note as those songs, and as the record’s singles and other tracks.  All in all, the overall content featured in this record makes it a record that will appeal just as much to Collective Soul’s established audiences as more casual listeners.

Vibrating, Collective Soul’s latest (its 11th) album, is a presentation that is certain to find appeal among a wide range of audiences.  Having come roughly three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Blood, the 10-song record has already shown reason for engagement and entertainment through each of its two singles.  They are just a sampling of what makes the record worth hearing.  ‘Reason,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another notable addition to the record.  The song stands out in part because of its musical arrangement, which is a steady, blues-infused mid-tempo rocker.  The stylistic approach taken here what with the sound and feel of the arrangement is something that the band’s established audiences will appreciate.  That is because it echoes back to so much of the band’s existing catalog but still somehow manages to remain fresh.  Front man/founder Ed Roland’s vocals are just as rich in their simplicity here as in those works, too.  The whole makes the song’s musical content reason enough to make this song yet another representative single for the album.

The musical content featured in this song is only one part of what makes it stand out.  Its lyrical content is just as engaging as that musical content.  The lyrical content here comes across as being somewhat contemplative in nature.  That is of note considering the energy in the song’s musical arrangement.  The seeming contemplation comes as Roland sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Sunday school just kicked me out/It’s a Tuesday afternoon/A perfect storm now percolates/With thoughts of new and used/Been chasing after shadows/Chasing what who really knows/Been catching up to nothing/Catching up on TV shows/There’s a reason to explore/There’s a reason to explain/There’s a reason always/So they say/There’s a reason for some lies/There’s a reason for some truth/There’s a reason, babe/For me and you.”  Now that final line would seem to hint that this song centers on a relationship, but it is only one line.  The bigger picture here, again, comes across as a bigger, more contemplative almost existential commentary.  Again, if that is in fact somewhere in the proverbial ballpark, then it is especially interest considering that most contemplative works are far less energetic in their musical arrangements.  It makes for that much more interest here.  The contemplation continues in the song’s second verse, in which Roland sings, “Head lights beam no/View is clear/It’s a sunny afternoon/The tires they roar and stimulate/My mind’s battered and bruised/Driving in the open/Driving hot to nowhere/Been breaking with my conscience/Been breaking up with joy and fear.”  The song returns to its chorus from here.  That contemplation, juxtaposed against the energy in the song’s musical arrangement makes for quite the engagement and entertainment.  It is certain to get audiences talking, proving further, its engagement and entertainment.  It is just one of the many other songs worth examining in this album.  ‘Rule #1,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is also of note.

‘Rule #1’ is of note in part because of its musical arrangement.  The arrangement here is in direct contrast to that of ‘Reason.’  In the case of this work, it is actually quite contemplative, even with its clear blues-influence.  Even with that in note, the band’s familiar 90s rock sound and stylistic approach is just as evident here as in ‘Reason’ and the rest of the album’s entries.  The balance of the strings against the more rock-leaning instrumentation makes for its own interest, too.  Overall, the musical arrangement featured here gives the composition its own unique identity while still giving audiences something familiar in the sound and style.

Speaking of familiarity, the song’s lyrical theme is just as familiar.  In this case, the theme is familiar because it is clearly on the all-too-familiar topic of relationships.  This is clear as Roland sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “It’s only love if it hurts/Bow down load/Face in the dirt/Hop that train to God knows where/It’s only love should we change/It’s only love should we choose to stay the same/It’s only love if we feel/It’s only love if we’re real/It’s only real if we cross borders of emotions we know have been lost/It’s only love if we fear happiness as much as the tears.”  This is pretty straight forward.  This is someone seemingly contemplating if what he or she is feeling is love and not just general feelings. Roland adds in the song’s second verse, “If we’re real down dirty/And life’s still swirling/While God’s out surfing/So we’re left learning to love.”  Again, this is that contemplation taking place.  When it is considered along with the slightly melancholy mood set through the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes this song stand on its own merits and worth hearing in its own right, too.  It is yet one more of the songs that makes Vibrations worth hearing.  ‘Where Do I Go,’ the album’s closer, is yet another noteworthy addition to its body.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Where Do I Go’ is interesting because it almost has something of a neo-classic rock approach.  It is a composition that is just as unlike the other compositions examined here as they are from each other and from the rest of the album’s other songs.  The use of the piano against the guitars and the secondary elements, such as the bells and choral element make the whole such a unique addition that is sure to engage listeners in its own right.  Even the use of the strings adds its own touch to the whole that is sure to entertain listeners.  Overall, the musical arrangement featured in this song is reason enough to make it stand out.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song is of its own interest.

The lyrical theme featured in this song is another work centered on a broken relationship.  This is made clear right from the song’s lead verse and chorus, in which Roland sings, “Traveling abroad/Landed here and now/Crawled out to nowhere/To be found/Searched in darkness/Stumbled in the light/Even showed my weakness with my might/Where do I go?/Where do I go without your heart?”  The contemplation about that seeming lost love continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Those fast decisions/Some right, some wrong/Caravan keeps moving/Burning on/Driving to the distance/Many miles to roam/All emotions numb/Another show.”  Again, what audiences get here is someone mourning that lost love.  This is clear.  The contemplative mood set through the song’s musical arrangement adds to the impact of these poetic words and make it all the more accessible for audiences.  The whole makes the song another notable addition to Vibrating.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the songs that make up the album’s body, the whole makes Vibrating a record that a wide range of audiences is certain to find worth hearing.

Vibrating, the latest album from Collective Soul, is a largely successful new offering from the veteran rock band.  That is proven through its variety of musical arrangements, which themselves are accessible and through its lyrical themes, which will engage listeners in their own right.  The songs examined do well to support the noted statements.  When they are considered along with the album’s singles and with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes Vibrations a mostly successful new offering from Collective Soul that is worth hearing at least once.

Vibrating is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Collective Soul’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://collectivesoul.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/collectivesoul

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/collectivesoul

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

The Reed Effect Debuts New Single, ‘Trampled Under,’ Video

Courtesy: Cowgirlzen Entertainment

The Reed Effect premiered its latest single and video this week.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Trampled Under’ and its companion video Wednesday. Their premiere follows that of ‘Rise Up‘ and its companion video, which the band premiered in September, and ‘Fine Here,‘ which the band premiered in March. All three songs are featured in the band’s album, 1973.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Trampled Under’ is a unique presentation that stands apart from its counterparts on the band’s new album. Front man Kirk Reeds’ vocals are comparable to those of Collective Soul front man Ed Roland. His vocal delivery style and sound pairs with the guitar arrangement to make the song even more comparable to works from Collective Soul. On the other side though, are the inclusion of the sitar and tabla to the mix. Their addition to the song makes for even more interest to the overall arrangement.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the debut of the band’s new single and video. Lyrics were not provided with the song’s video, either.

The song’s video features Reed bound by ropes, and pairs that with footage of him and his band mates performing their new single on a sound stage meant to look like a live setting. Eventually, Reed breaks free from the ropes in the video’s final scenes. One has to assume that this plays into the song’s lyrical theme, considering that Reed said of the song that it is “the darkest and most emotional” song on the band’s new album.

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

Websitehttps://thereedeffect.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/reedeffect

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/thereedeffect

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.

Collective Soul Announces Tour With Switchfoot

Courtesy: ABC PR

Collective Soul will hit the road alongside Switchfoot this summer.

The tour, which is in support of the band’s latest album, Blood, is scheduled to launch July 15 in Gary, IN and to run through Sept. 24 in San Antonio, TX. It features performances in cities nationwide, such as Denver, CO; Cary, NC and Flagstaff, AZ. Tickets are available now. A promo video for the tour is streaming here.

Front man Ed Roland talked about the tour in a recent interview.

“It’s always a thrill to go on tour, but this year is going to be so special because we get to be with not only our friends but a great band, Switchfoot!,” Roland said. “Southern boys meet Southern California boys, which will be a fun time for all!”

Switchfoot front man Jon Foreman shared Roland’s enthusiasm.

“Been fans of COLLECTIVE SOUL and their songs from day one,” he said. “Can’t believe it took this long for us to finally tour together. Psyched it’s finally happening!”

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Check out COLLECTIVE SOUL and Switchfoot at any of the following stops:

DATE               CITY                             VENUE

With Switchfoot:

Fri 7/15             Gary, IN                        Hard Rock Casino

Sat 7/16            Council Bluffs, IA          Harrah’s Council Bluffs – Stir Cove

Sun 7/17           Maryland Heights, MO   Saint Louis Music Park

Tue 7/19           Cleveland, OH               Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica

Wed 7/20          Columbus, OH               KEMBA Live! – Indoor Music Hall

Sat 7/23            Fond du Lac, WI            Fond du Lac Fair

Sun 7/24           Wabash, IN                   Honeywell Center

Tue 7/26           Newport, KY                 PromoWest Pavilion at OVATION

* Wed 7/27        Midlothian, VA               AfterHours Southside

Sat 7/30            Grantville, PA                Penn National Racecourse – Hollywood Casino

Sun 7/31           Hampton, NH                Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom

Tue 8/2             Silver Spring, MD          The Fillmore Silver Spring

Wed 8/3            Huntington, NY              The Paramount

Thu 8/4             New York, NY               Palladium Times Square

Sat 8/6              Webster, MA                 Indian Ranch

Sun 8/7             Pittsburgh, PA               Stage AE

Mon 8/8            Jackson, MI                  Jackson County Fairgrounds

* Sat 8/13          Billings, MT                   MetraPark – First Interstate Arena

Sun 8/14           Denver, CO                   The Mission Ballroom

Mon 8/15          Sandy, UT                     Sandy City Amphitheater

Wed 8/17          Jacksonville, OR           Britt Pavilion

Sat 8/20            Paso Robles, CA           Vina Robles Amphitheatre

* Sun 8/21         Saratoga, CA                The Mountain Winery

Tue 8/23           Inglewood, CA               YouTube Theater

Wed 8/24          San Diego, CA              Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

Fri 8/26             Henderson, NV             Sunset Station Outdoor Amphitheater

Sat 8/27            Flagstaff, AZ                 Fort Tuthill Park – Pepsi Amphitheater

Mon 9/5            New Haven, KY             The Amphitheater at Dant Crossing

Wed 9/7            Cary, NC                       Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park

Fri 9/9               Charleston, SC              The Riviera Theater – Sottile Ballroom

Sat 9/10            Atlanta, GA                   Cadence Park Amphitheatre at Chastain Park

Sun 9/11           Nashville, TN                 Grand Ole Opry House

Tue 9/13           Jacksonville, FL            Florida Theatre

Wed 9/14          Clearwater, FL              Ruth Eckerd Hall

Fri 9/16             Orlando, FL                   Hard Rock Live

Sat 9/17            Pompano Beach, FL      Pompano Beach Amphitheatre

Tue 9/20           New Orleans, LA           Mahalia Jackson Theater

Wed 9/21          Sugar Land, TX             Smart Financial Centre

Fri 9/23             Austin, TX                     Austin City Limits Live

Sat 9/24            San Antonio, TX            Majestic Theatre

* See venue website for on-sale date.

More information on Collective’ Soul’s upcoming tour and its album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.collectivesoul.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/collectivesoul

More information on Switchfoot’s upcoming run with Collective Soul is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.switchfoot.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/switchfoot

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.

Collective Soul Launches New Eco-Friendly Merchandise Line

Courtesy: ABC-PR/One Golden Thread

Collective Soul has partnered with eco-friendly company One Golden Thread to release a new line of shirts.

The shirts are available online and at all of the band’s tour stops. According to information provided in a news release, the collaboration happened by chance. It states that Collective Soul front man Ed Roland had been wearing the company’s clothing for some time, and that when the company’s founder, Jeff Scult, learned of Roland’s love of the apparel, the two eventually got together at Roland’s home in Georgia and created the new “tree shirt.”

The term “tree shirt” is used because the cloth from which the shirt is made comes from regenerative beech trees, manufactured in love shops, and shipped in eco-friendly packaging.

On a related note, Roland and Scult have each lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s. In an effort to help fans who have also lost loved ones due to Alzheimer’s a new beech tree will be planted in honor of those fans’ loved ones when they purchase one of the new shirts. Additionally, a portion of proceeds from the shirts’ sales will go to benefit Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.

In other news, Collective Soul will continue its tour in support of its latest album, Blood, Thursday alongside Goo Goo Dolls, Tonic, and Better Than Ezra. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Check out COLLECTIVE SOUL at any of the following stops, including the shows with Better Than Ezra and Tonic:

DATE               CITY                             VENUE

Thu 9/9             Bethlehem, PA              Levitt Pavilion Steelstacks *

Fri 9/10             Roanoke, VA                Elmwood Park Amphitheatre *

Sat 9/11            Huber Heights, OH        Rose Music Center *

Sat 9/18            Laughlin, NV                 The Laughlin Event Center +

Thu 9/23           Huntsville, AL                Von Braun Center

Fri 9/24             Mobile, AL                    Mobile Civic Center

Sat 9/25            Lake Charles, LA           Golden Nugget

Fri 10/1             Salina, KS                     Stiefel Theatre

Sat 10/2            Catoosa, OK                 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Thu 10/7           Columbia, SC                Township Auditorium *

Fri 10/8             Charlotte, NC                Circle K Speedstreet *

Sat 10/9            Bristol, VA                    The Cameo Theater

Fri 10/29           Morristown, NJ              Mayo Performing Arts Center *

Sat 10/30          Atlantic City, NJ             Ocean Resorts & Casino *

Sat 11/6            Mashantucket, CT          Foxwoods Resort Casino *

Sun 11/7           Washington, DC            The Anthem *

Thu 11/11         Macon, GA                    Macon City Auditorium

Fri 11/12           Albany, GA                   Albany Municipal Auditorium

Sat 11/13          Jacksonville, FL            Naval Mayport Station

* with Better Than Ezra & Tonic

+ with Goo Goo Dolls

More information on Collective Soul’s new merchandise line and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.collectivesoul.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/collectivesoul

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.

American Idol Star’s Latest LP Takes Top Honors In Phil’s Picks 2019 Top New Rock Albums List

Courtesy: Big Johnson Records

Rock fans had a lot of reason this year to raise their horns.  From January right up to this month, rock music fans received lots of strong new offerings this year.  That includes both mainstream and independent acts.  Buckcherry’s new album Warpaint, which came out early this year, proved to be everything that audiences have come to expect from the band.  DuG Pinnick’s King’s X side band KXM also released a new record this year — Circle of Dolls — that was a step up from its predecessor.  80s rockers L.A. Guns even produced its own strong new effort in The Devil You Know while prog rock star Neil Morse’s Jesus ChristThe Exorcist developed its own fans, too.  Between those albums and so many others, rock fans had a lot to be happy about.  It made creating the list of this year’s top new rock records quite difficult to arrange.

This year’s list, like others from Phil’s Picks, features the Top 10 picks as well as five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  The list was compiled from consideration of the titles’ overall musical and lyrical content.  That content taken into consideration made this list anything but easy.  No offense was meant to any of the band featured on this list.  With that in mind, here is Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Rock Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS

  1. Caleb Johnson — Born From Southern Ground
  2. Set It Off — Midnight
  3. Neal Morse — Jesus ChristThe Exorcist
  4. KXM — Circle of Dolls
  5. Buckcherry — Warpaint
  6. Collective Soul — Blood
  7. Aree & The Pure Hearts — Never Gonna Die
  8. The Sh-Booms — The Blurred Odyssey
  9. Lullwater — Voodoo
  10. The Magpie Salute — Highwater II
  11. Queensryche — The Verdict
  12. L.A. Guns — The Devil You Know
  13. Them Guns — From The Shadows
  14. Myrath — Shehili
  15. Stone Leaders — Stone Leaders

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://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.

‘Blood’ Shows Collective Soul Still Has Heart

Courtesy: Fuzze-Flex Records

Veteran rock outfit Collective Soul is back on the road, touring in support of its upcoming album Blood.  The band’s 10th full-length studio recording, it is scheduled for release June 21 through Fuzze-Flex Records.  The record’s 10-song, 34-minute record is a strong new offering from the band thanks to its diverse musical arrangements and lyrical themes, both of which are easily accessible and radio ready.  One of the songs that serves to support that statement comes early in the record’s run in the form of ‘Crushed.’ It will be addressed shortly.  ‘Good Place To Start,’ which comes a little more than halfway through the album, is another example of what makes this record a positive effort.  It will be discussed a little later.  The Wallflowers-esque finale that is ‘Porch Swing’ is yet another example of what makes Blood another interesting effort from Collective Soul and will also be addressed later.  Each song is important in its own way to the whole of Blood.  When they are considered along with the seven other songs not directly noted here, the whole of Blood becomes a new work from Collective Soul that has plenty of heart.

Collective Soul’s 10th full-length studio recording Blood is another positive effort from the band.  It is a collection of songs that shows this band still has plenty of heart.  That is proven early on in the form of the song ‘Crushed.’  The song’s musical arrangement plays its own important part in helping to support the noted statement.  It is a solid, driving work that puts the talents of drummer Johnny Rabb and the guitar duo of Dean Roland and Jessee Triplett on display.  Rabb’s time keeping is seamless throughout the song, which clocks in at just under three minutes.  In regards to Rabb’s work, the use of the ghost notes in the verses and the driving floor toms in the choruses couple with the seasoning added through the cymbals to make the percussion its own key addition to the song while Triplett and Roland’s pairing creates an easily accessible rock and roll sound that is sure to become a fan favorite.  Bassist Will Turpin and front man Ed Roland add their own touches to the song to form a foundation for the song that makes the song an easy candidate for a single if it is not already a single.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as noteworthy as its musical arrangement.

The lyrical theme at the center of ‘Crushed’ comes across as a statement about a woman who seemingly is a bit stuck on herself.  That is inferred as [Ed] Roland sings in the song’s lead verse, “Hey little girl/What you living with?/The 90s rocked, but they came and went/You got some heart/But you need more soul/Yeah, dig down deep ‘til you find that gold.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Hey little girl/What you speaking of?/Life is hard/Yeah, life is tough/What’s this? (attitude)/Back it up slow ‘til you catch that groove.”  He adds later in the song’s run, “There’s something in your eyes/There’s something with your lies/Something in your eyes/There’s something with your lies.”  This is important to note because he sings alongside his band mates in the song’s chorus, “The whole world is your pain/Who’s to blame/Another lover you drained/You crush once again.”  This comes across quite blatantly of a woman needs a bit of a reality check; a drama queen of sorts almost.  Considering this seeming message, the edge in the song’s musical arrangement makes more sense.  That is because if this critic’s interpretation of the song’s lyrics is right, then the energy in the arrangement serves well to illustrate perhaps the frustration that someone might have with such an individual.  Keeping all of this in mind, the whole of ‘Crushed’ becomes its own interesting addition to Blood, and just one example of the importance of the record’s musical and lyrical diversity.  ‘Good Place To Start,’ which comes a little later in the record’s run, is another example of the musical and lyrical diversity presented in Blood.

‘Good Place To Start’ is a start contrast to ‘Crushed’ both in terms of its musical and lyrical content.  The song’s arrangement is upbeat, but is much more subdued than that of ‘Crushed.’  This work is centered more on a keyboard line performed by Ed Roland.  Rabb’s solid time keeping couples with Turpin’s low-end and the guitars of Triplett and Dean Roland to make the song’s arrangement even more interesting.  The result of the group’s work here is a song that could fit into any Top 40 radio programmer’s list just as well as that of any rock radio programmer.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its seeming social commentary plays into its appeal just as much as its musical arrangement.

The seeming social commentary presented in this song is inferred as Ed Roland sings in the song’s lead verse, “There’s a guy with a gun/He swears he’s the chosen one/I think his pride is swollen with inflammation/We got weed we can’t smoke/But the prescriptions are afloat/My temple can’t take all this inflammation.”  The reference of a “chosen one” with a gun seems to hint at David Koresh while the mention of the “weed we can’t smoke” and “prescriptions” seems to address the ongoing debates over the legalization of marijuana and the cost of health care in America.  Roland continues in the song’s second verse, “There’s tourists in flux/I think we killed lady luck/Or at least that’s what they say/There’s moments I’m involved/And there’s moments I can’t solve/But I take all these moments day-by-day.”  The band in whole joins in during the chorus, singing, “Let’s love where we’ve been/And let’s love where we are/Yeah, that’s a good place to start/A good place to start.”  Simply put, the song in whole comes across as a message of appreciating and making the best of our lives because of all the bad that is going on.  It is a seeming message that is definitely welcome, especially considering the current sociopolitical state of the world, which, again, Roland seems to be addressing.  This is not the first time that any band has ever addressed the state of the world.  That goes back decades, obviously.  Even despite that, it is still a good new delivery of said message (again, if that is indeed the song’s message).  Keeping this in mind, the combination of the song’s lyrical and musical content make ‘Good Place To Start’ yet another positive addition to Blood that shows even more why this new record is another positive effort from Collective Soul.  It still is not the last of the songs that most serve to support that statement.  The album’s finale is yet another example of the album’s strength.

‘Porch Swing,’ the finale for Collective Soul’s latest LP, is yet another example of the strength of Blood through its musical and lyrical diversity in part because of its musical arrangement.  It is even more of a stark contrast for the album’s opener (and the rest of the album’s works) as they are from one another.  The bongos, organ and gentle, flowing guitar line join together with the Roland’s own vocal delivery and that of his band mates in the chorus to make the song so similar to the best works from The Wallflowers.  That is not a bad thing, either.  Again, it is that much more musical contrast and diversity exhibited in the record, showing that much more what makes the album such a strong new offering from the band.  Of course the song’s musical side is just one of its sides.  The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to its whole.

Roland sings in the song’s lead verse, “Everybody swears/They care/They share/Opinions I don’t want to hear/Everybody lies/They try/To hide/Underneath their social fears/I am made of simple thread/A common man/wanting peace for one and all/I am just a comedy/In life’s symphony/Listening for some resolve/So I won’t mind when you’re gone/No I won’t mind/When you’re gone/I’ll just be here on my porch swing/Rockin’ all day long.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Everybody’s bruised/From news/the views/That work to further their own cause/everybody needs/To bleed/To see/We’re all human after all/I am made of simple thread/A common man/Wanting peace for one and all/I am just a comedy/In life’s symphony/Listening for some resolve/So I won’t mind when you’re gone/No I won’t mind/When you’re gone/I’ll just be here on my porch swing/Rockin’ all day long.”  Roland further adds in the song’s third verse, “Let the summer breeze/Cool our knees/Right or wrong/Let tomorrow bring/Love to move us on/Til then I’ll be here on my porch swing/Rockin’ all day long/Till I rock the next song.”  This is another song of unity.  It preaches a message of coming together and overcoming the division that has so torn our nation (and world) apart.  What is really interesting here is the subdued nature in the overall nature of that delivery.  This is a message that could have come across as quite strong.  Roland and company took another road that, while maybe not less traveled, was still powerful in its subtlety.  That subtlety, coupled with the song’s equally subdued musical arrangement, makes the song in whole a work that is certain to become another fan favorite while also proving even more how the diversity in Blood’s musical and lyrical content makes the record such a strong effort from the band.  When this song in whole is considered along with the other two songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, that diversity is put on full display.  It in turn, shows fully why Blood is another successful effort from Collective Soul.

Collective Soul’s 10th full-length studio recording Blood is a strong, positive new effort from the veteran rock band.  That is thanks to the diversity in the record’s musical and lyrical content exhibited throughout the album’s 10 total songs.  The songs discussed here are just a sample of that diversity.  When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s songs not directly noted here, that diversity is put on full display.  The noted display will lead listeners to agree that this record proves Collective Soul still has a certain amount of heart.  Blood is scheduled for release June 21.  More information on Blood is available online now along with all of Collective Soul’s current tour dates, news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.collectivesoul.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/collectivesoul

 

 

 

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.

Atlanta Based Indie Hip-Hop Duo Ready To Break Out On Its Debut LP

Courtesy:  Autumn + Colour

Courtesy: Autumn + Colour

Atlanta, Georgia is home to some of the biggest names in the music industry.  It is home to Sevendust, Collective Soul, Stuck Mojo, and Stuck Mojo just to name a few.  It’s also home to hip-hop duo Outkast, whose members just recently announced that they are heading back on the road together after an extended hiatus to work on their own projects.  For all of the big name acts that call “Hotlanta” home, there are just as many lesser known acts that call that great city home, too.  One of those acts in question is another hip-hop duo that goes by the name of Ante Meridian.  The duo—Rozewood and Mr. Enok—re-issued its debut album this week.  At a time when mainstream hip-hop has become as tried and boring as mainstream rock, Ante Meridian’s debut proves to be a breath of fresh air for purist hip-hop and rap fans.

‘True Friend’ is the perfect kickoff to Sons of Heaven, the duo’s debut record.  Emcee Rozewood ruminates in this song about the loss of a friend to what would seem like gang violence.  He writes on the track, “Today I cried/Lookin’ at your photo/My n****s is gone/Thought about buying a gun and comin’ along/But it’s time for revenge/Return death to death givers/And dump they body in the soon to be red river/Sittin’ in my crib/On the stress mode/Loadin’ the clip…I can’t take it/The beauty of a childhood has been forsaken/Dear God please forgive me/For the acts I will do/The gats I will choose to spray s***…” There’s obviously some deep emotion expressed through this song.  What really makes the song interesting is the control that both Rozewood and Mr.Enok exhibit through the song.  The easy thing to do would have been to craft a battle rap style song.  Instead, the duo crafted a song that presents a figure with what would seem a much more collected thought process.  The song’s almost eerie, underlying piano lick set against Rozewood’s cool, collected rhymes creates a truly powerful first impression for the pair. It’s only the beginning of what fans will appreciate from this record, too.

Sons of Heaven’s second track, ‘N.Y. Thing’ is another impressive track.  The song is quite literally a lyrical love letter to the city that never sleeps.  Rozewood and Mr. Enok pay tribute to New York in this song.  It opens with a short sample with a man stating, “You’re a New Yorker/That will never change/You got New York in your bones/Spend the rest of your life out West/But you’re still a New Yorker.”  From here, the duo goes on to write of their favorite city, “If you’ve ever been to New York/You would understand what feel like to be caught in a wasteland/Trying to survive with a gun on your waistband/No matter where I’m at/I know where I am.”  The tribute goes on from here , bringing up memories of friends from the duo’s past that lived in New York’s five boroughs.  It might be pushing it, but it almost presents a song much in the same vein of Scarface’s ‘My Block’ just with a slightly different attitude.  It’s one more song that given the chance could be the duo’s next single.

The songs mentioned here are just small portions of what listeners have to look forward to from Ante Meridian’s new album.  Just as worth noting from Sons of Heaven are the likes of: ‘Remember My Eyes’, ‘Limitless’, ‘Red Lotus Blossom’ and ‘13th Floor’ with its gentle string backing. That backing set against Rozewood’s talents make this one of the highest of highs on this record.  These songs and all of the rest that make up the album’s seventeen total tracks are available now online on Ante Meridian’s Band Camp website, http://antemeridian.bandcamp.com and via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Sons-Heaven-Explicit-Ante-Meridian/dp/B00GYCIBRC/ref=sr_1_cc_3?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1389905971&sr=1-3-catcorr&keywords=Ante+Meridian.  More information on Ante Meridian’s debut re-issue and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/antemeridianhiphop.  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.

HEARTCAKEPARTY Releases Hard Hitting New LP in “Mock Heroic”

Courtesy: Indianola Records/Persistent Heart Media

Georgia is one of the biggest hotbeds of music in the country.  For years, some of the biggest names in the business have come from Georgia.  Among some of the biggest bands to come from Georgia are:  Collective Soul, R.E.M. The B-52’s, and Sevendust, just to name a handful.  Now, another Georgia based band is looking to add its name to the ranks of some of the state’s biggest bands.  That band is Summerville, Georgia’s HEARTCAKEPARTY.  This post-hardcore band recently released new album, “Mock Heroic” via Indianola Records.  This is a record for all the fans of bands the likes of All That Remains, Dillinger Escape Plan, Killswitch Engage, and As I Lay Dying.

The album opens with pummeling, “K.O.T.W.O.F.F.L.”  Front man Casey Smith unleashes his vocal fury with precision while his band mates—Shelby Short (bass), Blake Sprayberry (guitar), Jeremy Muse (guitar), and Chris Blankenship (drums)—provide the equally pounding backing that will have any listener moving.  ‘Fun is just F’n Without You’ sees the band lighten up somewhat, offering a more melodic sound with Smith opting to sing instead of his guttural screams.  The band wastes no time after this getting back to its musical brutality when it launches into ‘The Opposition.’ 

“Mock Heroic” continues in much the same fashion through the remainder of the album, with tracks such as ‘Sings of a Sinking Ship’ and ‘Your Friend’s a Killer’ serving as standout tracks.  Perhaps the most standout track on the entire album is the band’s cover of Cee Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’ (to clean it up).  Whoever would have thought a hard rock/metal cover of a hip-hop /R&B song would work.  But somehow it does work.  And it makes for one more of the album’s high marks.

HEARTCAKEPARTY will be performing live tomorrow at The Seven Venue with Scream Out Loud in Douglasville, Georgia.  To get any more tour dates and news from HEARTCAKEPARTY, fans can go online to http://www.facebook.com/HEARTCAKEPARTY, http://www.myspace.com/HEARTCAKEPARTY, and http://twitter.com/TheRealHCP.

To keep up with all the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.