Am I Dead Yet? Proves The Independent Music Realm Is Alive With Talent

Courtesy: Wire-Sound

The United Kingdom has, for decades, offered the music industry so many great musical acts.  From The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Motorhead and Judas Priest to David Bowie and Pink Floyd and others, the list of great bands is almost endless.  For all of the great acts that have come from the United Kingdom, it has also produced a variety of noteworthy independent acts throughout the years.  Late this past April Am I Dead Yet? added itself to that list of notable indie UK acts with its debut self-titled album.  The 11-song, 47-minute album is an interesting record whose musical arrangements will appeal to fans of David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and even Pink Floyd while its lyrical content will appeal to an even wider array of listeners.  That is proven early on in the form of the song ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘People Are Dangerous’ uses its music and lyrics to show just as much as ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth’ to help show what makes this record stand out.  It will be addressed a little later.  ‘Futuristic Paranoia,’ which immediately follows ‘People Are Dangerous,’ is yet another example of what makes Am I Dead Yet? stand out as one of this year’s most notable indie music acts.  When it is considered along with the likes of ‘Loneliness,’ ‘Thanks For Sharing’ and ‘Leaving Me Behind,’ – three more of the album’s featured songs – the album becomes that much more impressive.  When all of these songs are considered with the five remaining songs not noted here, the whole of Am I Dead Yet? becomes a record that reminds people the independent music world is just as alive (bad pun fully intended) as the mainstream realm with great acts.

Am I Dead Yet?’s debut self-titled album is one of the most surprising albums of 2019.  It is a record that proves, over the course of its 47-minute run time, that the independent music realm is just as alive with talent as the mainstream realm.  That is proven in part early on in the album’s run in the form of ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’  The song’s musical arrangement is one part of what makes it such an interesting offering.  The use of the keyboards, the gong, guitars and general production generates a sound and feeling in the arrangement that conjures thoughts of some of David Bowie’s best works.  One could even argue a comparison to some of Depeche Mode’s best works, too.  That is not a bad thing, either.  It is an amalgam that translates quite well even with its melancholic feeling.  That melancholic feeling is important to note because it is in such stark contrast to the song’s lyrical content, which seems actually quite uplifting.

The song’s lead verse reads, “Britain’s got talent/You bet the f*** it has/But it’s not on a game show/On the pages of a sad celebrity mag/Laugh now/For one day, we’ll be in control, oh yeah/It’s coming up from the sewers and the cracks in the walls/Lost souls/Tired of it all/weirdos…queers in padded cells/We salute you/The anti-heroes/Dream out loud/For all that you’re worth/The meek shall inherit the Earth, my friend/The meek shall inherit the Earth.”  The song continues in its second verse, which reads, “If they say they want it enough/Will they deserve it?/Not in a million years/Fame ain’t easy…not even if you cry me a river of tears/Laugh  now, for one day/We’ll be in control, oh yeah/And we won’t have even earned it from the school/Where they teach you to rock and roll.”  This is a full-on message of hope and empowerment.  It is using a timeless adage to remind listeners that hope is possible.  It empowers those people who have felt themselves the dregs of society, but who are in fact the underdogs who so deservedly will one day in fact inherit the earth.  That positive message, set against the melancholic vibe to make that lyrical message that much more impacting.  The arrangement’s sound and feel will connect with listeners because it touches on the feelings and emotions of said listeners.  The positive message reminds listeners that something good is out there. The whole of that pairing makes this song one of the most notable songs featured in this record.  Of course it is just one of the album’s most notable works.  ‘People Are Dangerous’ is just as notable as ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’

‘People Are Dangerous’ in part because of its musical arrangement, which is centered around its infectious bluesy guitar riff and percussion.  The noted guitar riff almost immediately conjures thoughts of Depeche Mode and Pink Floyd.  The use of the Latin percussion and tympani adds even more to that feeling.  The chorus advances that sound even more, with the end result being an arrangement that is yet another powerful example of what makes AIDY? such a surprisingly enjoyable album.  The song’s musical side is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its lyrical side is just as impacting as its musical side.  The song’s lead verse reads, “We’re all wounded creatures with stories to tell/Under the influence/Under the spell/Walkin’ the line between serenity and sorrow/We self medicate for a better tomorrow/Out in the cold try to weather the storm/Stokin’ the fire to keep us all warm/People are dangerous/They’ll promise you the Earth/They’ll wound you with their words/And hit where it hurts/They’ll spin you around/And lift you up high/And bring you to the ground/In the blink of an eye.”  The song’s second verse reads, “Now here are we?/Still chasin’ our dreams/Living a nightmare…Holdin’ on tight/We’ve hit rock bottom/It comes through fear/Of being forgotten/Dictating direction by building more walls/If we stand together/We can watch them all fall/People are dangerous/They’ll promise you the Earth/they’ll wound you with their words/They’ll hit where it hurts/They’ll spin you around/Lift you up high/And bring you to the ground/In the blink of an eye/Stop pretending everything’s alright/Have you the heart for the fight?/Better to die on your own two feet/Than to live life on your knees.”  In reading this, it becomes clear that this song’s lyrical content is a social commentary.  It is a commentary about what has happened to society and what we as a people are doing to ourselves and to one another.  This wording is an original take on a familiar trope that will certainly keep listeners engaged in its own right.  Add that to the maintained engagement and entertainment that the song’s musical arrangement, and the end result is a song that is instantly one of this record’s most memorable works.  It is not the last of the album’s most memorable and notable songs, either.  ‘Futuristic Paranoia’ is yet another of the record’s truly memorable and notable works.

‘Futuristic Paranoia’ conjures thoughts of Gary Numan’s most recent albums right from its outset in terms of its arrangement.  That is due to the use of its electronics and its Middle Eastern elements.  The vocals and the rest of the arrangement’s elements add to that comparison even more.  What is important to note here is that while the comparison to Gary Numan’s work can be made here, it cannot be said that this arrangement is a blatant rip-off of his work.  The two are just stylistically similar, is all, and that is a very good thing here.  While the song’s musical arrangement clearly does a lot to make it engaging and entertaining, it is only one part of the song.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to its whole as its musical material.

The lead verse in this song states, “When you think you’re alone, remember they’ll be watching you/Wherever you are, night or day/When the nightmare comes and you are shaking in the dead of night/Nothing makes it go away/It’s just your average, ordinary futuristic paranoia.”  The second verse follows, “When the voices in your head get fearless and come out to play…deep down they speak the truth/When the strange bacterial shapes and the screen begin their merry dance/Your world goes pixilated/It’s not use/It’s just your average ordinary futuristic paranoia.”  This one is deep, needless to say.  It’s as if the group is saying that so much of what we think is in our heads and we have to remind ourselves of this.  Yet again, that is just this critic’s own take on this.  It could be totally wrong.  Hopefully even if it is wrong, it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  That aside, the fact that this deep content will certainly generate a lot of interest and conversation among listeners proves why this song stands out.  The addition of that noted musical content to the lyrics makes the song stand out even more.  All things considered, they make ‘Futuristic Paranoia’ a work that is certain to be a fan favorite both on record and live.  Keeping this in mind, when this song is considered alongside the other songs noted here – both of which will be fan favorites in their own right – they show collectively what makes Am I Dead Yet? a pleasant surprise for every music lover.  When those songs are set alongside the likes of ‘Loneliness,’ ‘Thanks For Sharing’ and ‘Leaving Me Behind,’ – three more of the album’s featured songs – the album becomes that much more impressive.  When that group is considered along with the rest of the songs not directly addressed here, the whole of the record becomes a presentation that proves proudly that the independent music industry – even overseas – is just as alive with talent as America’s independent music realm.

Am I Dead Yet?’s debut self-titled full-length studio recording is a surprisingly entertaining first effort from the UK-based group.  Its musical arrangements take the best elements of so many of the group’s more well-known mainstream counterparts for a whole that is entirely original.  Sure, the comparisons are there, but none of the arrangements just rip-off the songs from the already noted counterparts.  The record’s lyrical content is just as surprisingly engaging and entertaining as its musical content.  All things considered, they make Am I Dead Yet? one of the most surprisingly enjoyable records of 2019, and more proof that the independent music industry in whole is alive and well with plenty of talent.  More information on Am I Dead Yet? is available online now along with all of Am I Dead Yet?’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.amideadyet.co.uk

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

 

 

 

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.

ASHRR Debuts ‘Medicine Man’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Independent electronic music act ASHRR is giving audiences their first preview of its forthcoming debut EP.

The group — Steven Davis (vocals), Josh Charles and Ethan Allen — debuted the EP’s lead single, ‘Medicine Man’ this past February.  Its debut was followed up with the premiere of the song’s companion video on May 8 via New Noise magazine.  The song’s musical arrangement has led it to be likened to works from Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and David Bowie (from his Nine Inch Nails influenced days).  That is clear in the brooding keyboard arrangement and Davis’ equally brooding vocal delivery.

Lyrically, the song is rather cryptic, with the song’s subject seemingly singing about being all that another wants.  He sings, “If you want a revelation to wake your soul/If you want a demonstration, just let me know/Hey, hey, lay your worry down.  Whatever you crave, I’ve got lying around/I’ve got your cure/I’m your everything man/I’m your medicine man, I’m your medicine man/Hey, hey what you waiting on/Just gotta call on me and it won’t be long/I’m your everything man, I’m your medicine man.”  To this it, the song comes across as a rather dark work.  Now in what fashion this is intended to be interpreted is left to that interpretation, as no explanation behind the lyrics has been offered.

‘Medicine Man’ can be downloaded via iTunes and streamed via Spotify.  More information on ‘Medicine Man’ is available online along with all of ASHRR’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.ashrrmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ashrrmusic

 

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.

 

Eagle Rock’s Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert Re-Issue An Amazing Way To Finish Off The Year

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Freddie Mercury, the late front man of the legendary rock band Queen, was in his time one of the single most charismatic vocalists in the music industry.  Many vocalists have tried to emulate the legendary singer’s energy and style.  Few if any have succeeded.  Sadly, Freddy Mercury was taken from the world in 1991, one of so many victims of the then emerging AIDS epidemic.  The music world paid tribute to his legacy and memory in 1992 with a special live tribute concert.  The concert, held at London’s Wembley Stadium has become one of the biggest and most  powerful live concert events of the Twentieth Century, even after more than two decades since it was originally held.  The only concert event that could compare to this event is Woodstock ’94.  And now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, the legacy of Freddie Mercury lives on once again thanks to the Blu-ray release of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  While this SD Blu-ray release of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is not the first time that the concert has been released to the masses, this release is the concert’s best yet.    There is so much to be said of this latest re-issue.  The best place to start is the overall audio and video presentation.  Those charged with resurrecting the original footage are to be commended as the concert is presented here in its full original glory.  Audiences get to see the show as it looked in its original recording.  The audio sounds just as good.  This is especially the case for those with home theater systems.  The cinematography is incredible to say the least.  The crowd shots and shots of the crowd from the stage are collectively the epitome of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.  And of course, there is also the show’s set list and list of performers.  Both by themselves and collectively, they make a bold statement that puts the finishing touch on this incredible latest re-issue from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The first and most obvious factor to investigate in Eagle Rock’s new re-issue of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is the audio and video mix.  This concert was recorded almost twenty-two years ago.  April 20th, 2014 will mark the twenty-second anniversary of this landmark concert.  Being that high definition recording was still years away when this concert was recorded, it’s obvious that the quality of the footage would not be crystal clear in this presentation.  But Eagle Rock openly noted on the recording’s case that this presentation is a Standard Definition Blu-ray.  That means that Eagle Rock openly notes that the presentation contained therein is a standard definition recording.  Those expecting pure 1080 quality video have only misled themselves.  Eagle Rock Entertainment is not to blame here.  That the footage still looks as good as it does over two decades later is a testament to those charged with maintaining and resurrecting it.  And having the option to set one’s TV to “Cinema” to gain the full concert video experience only serves to make it even better.

The quality of the concert’s video footage is impressive to say the very least.  It is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio.  Though, with the advent of high definition televisions, most viewers can set their monitors to present the concert in full “Cinema” mode.  That mode shows better than any how well the footage has stood the test of time.  The audio mix is just as impressive as the video in terms of its quality.  Every riff, every beat, and every chorus from the crowd of thousands is enhanced on this re-issue.  In comparison to the concert’s previous releases, the audio mix has never sounded better.  It has been enhanced so much that at times, the echoes of Brian May’s voice as he talked will make audiences think they are actually there in person.  It has been mixed that well.  That is quite the testament to those charged with restoring this concert to its former glory.  And along with the footage, it is one part of a very strong cornerstone of this recording.

The video and audio mixes serve collectively as a solid base for The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  The concert’s cinematography adds an extra element of enjoyment to the recording, too.  Much as was the case with Eagle Rock’s release of The Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park Live this Fall, the camera shots obtained over the course of this concert are extraordinary.  There is something to be said about an entire stadium full of people singing in unison, arms high in the air, clapping in time. The visual effect both from the stage and from high above the sea of bodies is something that cannot be put into words.  It is something that must be seen to be fully appreciated.  Even seeing the shots in question from one’s own sofa, bed, etc. is awe inspiring.  They collectively go to show the love that so many people had for Freddie Mercury and for Queen.  While the concert’s audio and video mixes are the foundation on which the concert rests, the shots obtained by the camera crews give the show its shape.  And what a shape those crews give the concert.

As one should be able to tell from everything noted already, there is much to like about Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new re-issue of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on SD Blu-ray.  Much has already been examined with this latest release from the leader in live recordings.  But it would not be complete without making mention of the concert’s set list and its equally diverse lineup of performers.  The show itself is set up into two separate segments.  The first of those segments is the “Opening Acts” segment.  This segment allows some of the acts tapped to perform at the concert to perform their own music and warm up the crowd at the same time.  This segment runs the gamut to say the very least.  It opens with a trio of songs from Metallica and follows that up with a medley of Queen hits courtesy of Extreme.  Guns N’ Roses (the original Guns N’ Roses) closes out the opening acts segments.  Def Leppard is also one of the opening acts.  Their front man, Joe Elliot, joins Elton John, George Michael, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, and so many other acts from across the music industry for the “Main Show” segment of the recording.  Having such a wide array of artists covering the music of one band is a bold statement.  It shows the impact that Queen had on them as bands and artists.  It also goes to show the respect that those bands and artists had for Freddie Mercury.  It goes to show the kind of person he was and how important he was to so many around him.  Keeping that in mind while watching the incredible shots, and hearing the equally incredible song selections is sure to bring a smile and maybe even a tear to some viewers’ faces.  If it does one, the other, or both, then it has most certainly done its job.  It means that Eagle Rock is that much more justified in once again unearthing this important piece of music history.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  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.

Up-And-Coming Pop Musician Releases New Single

Courtesy: Fresh Tracks Marketing

Courtesy: Fresh Tracks Marketing

Nineteen year-old Utah based singer songwriter Chase Kroesche (pronounced Kro-sha) has just released the video for his new single, ‘1-2-3.’  The single comes along at a good time as the weather changes.  Its easygoing, poppy melody and infectious chorus are sure to make it a favorite among Chase’s younger audiences on those Spring and Summer vacations; especially his younger female audiences.  The video sees Chase performing his song on the city streets and in a sunny park.  It’s just Chase, his guitar, and his surroundings.  It can be viewed online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8g6F98BJ0o.

Kroesche is currently completing a degree in Popular Music at the USC Thornton School of Music.  He is also prepping to release his new EP this year.  It includes the song, ‘Satellite.’ Kroesche collaborated with producer Brian Howes (Nickeblack, Daughtry) on the song.  Before embarking on a professional music career, he was a nationally ranked tennis player at the young age of thirteen.  He earned a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music and even started touring at fourteen.  He even performed with Frank Zappa’s saxophonist Napoleon Murphy Brock and David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick.  This was all before he had graduated high school.  Now he embarks on the next leg of his career with the impending release of his EP and eventually debut full length record.

After checking out Kroesche’s new video, fans can also go to his official Facebook page—http://www.facebook.com/ChaseKroesche–and “Like” him there to get all the latest news on his projects and more.  Fans can also follow him on his official website, http://www.chasetheband.com

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.