Peanuts fans have two new ways to celebrate the franchise’s history.
Craft Recordings has curated two new playlists that celebrate the music of Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi. The playlists’ debut come less than a month after Craft Recordings debuted another playlist that features music from the Peanuts movies and TV specials.
The two new playlists are composed separately of “Easy Listening” and “Dance” songs that were featured in the noted movies and TV specials. Audiences will find that some of the songs featured in these two new lists are also featured in Craft Recordings’ initial Vince Guaraldi playlist, but are now more distinctly classified from one another in the noted new lists.
In related news, Craft Recordings recently premiered a new animated video for the beloved song, ‘The Great Pumpkin Waltz.’ The song is featured in the timeless Peanuts primetime TV special It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.
The video opens with Linus’ classic letter to The Great Pumpkin, asking for lots of toys. From there, the curtain lifts to show Linus in the pumpkin patch in which he waited all that fateful night with Sally for The Great Pumpkin. As the video progresses, a series of pumpkins and presents wrapped in orange with green ribbons fill the screen against a constantly changing backdrop, all the while the song playing over the video.
‘The Great Pumpkin Waltz’ was last featured on the 2012 CD re-issue of A Charlie Brown Christmas‘ soundtrack as one of two bonus tracks. The other bonus track was one of the songs from the Peanuts primetime Thanksgiving TV special A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Neither song is featured in Craft Recordings’ recently released vinyl re-issue of the soundtrack, which is at least the seventh of the soundtrack’s re-issues.
More information on this and other titles from Craft Recordings is available at:
Live, in-person concerts have been hard to come by this year. That goes without saying. The global COVID-19 pandemic has all but wiped out live shows. If not for live streams and so-called “drive-in” concerts, live music would be gone. The noted shows are just a couple of ways that acts across the musical universe have worked to bring live music to audiences. It would seem that as a result of the pandemic’s impact, audiences have also seen a rise in the number of live recordings released this year, too. That is just this critic’s own take and could be incorrect. Though, it certainly seems that live recordings have been more prominent this year than in the past. Veteran power metal band HamemrFall will join the ranks of those countless acts who have released live recordings this year when it releases its new live recording Live! Against the World Friday through Napalm Records. Only the band’s third ever live recording, this 20-song performance is everything that the band’s longtime fans could hope for. That is thanks in no small part to its set list, which will be discussed shortly. The band’s performance of said set list adds to the recording’s appeal, and will be discussed a little later. The performance’s production rounds out its most important elements, and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. All things considered, they make Live! Against The World HammerFall’s best live recording yet and one of the year’s top new live DVDs/BDs.
HammerFall’s forthcoming live recording Live! Against The World is a wonderful way for the band’s fans to get their live fix now and even after the global COVID-19 pandemic ends, whenever that might be. That is due in no small part to the recording’s set list. The extensive 20-song set list clocks in at just under two hours, and is the very definition of career-spanning. Given, the concert – recorded Feb. 15, 2019 at the MHP Arena in Ludwigsburg, Germany – was mainly in support of the band’s then latest album Dominion, but it pulled songs from every single one of the band’s 11 albums. Dominion is only represented by five songs, as a matter of fact. Other albums only get one nod, while others get two to three. Regardless, what the band has done here is given audiences the widest possible cross section of its catalog. That includes some well-known songs and even some deeper cuts mixed in for good measure. Simply put, the expansive set list that is featured in Hammerfall’s new live recording creates a solid foundation for this presentation. It is just one part of what makes this recording such an appealing presentation. The band’s performance of the set list does its own share to make the recording so engaging and entertaining.
The performance of the concert’s featured set list is powerful in its own right. Right from the show’s opening in ‘Never Forgive, Never Forget,’ the energy runs high. Front man Joacim Cans’ vocals soar here while his band mates – Oscar Dronjack (guitar), Pontus Norgren (guitar), Fredrik Larsson (bass), and David Wallin (drums) – each shine in their own right. The time keeping is solid while the harmonies between the guitars and bass, and the guitar solos absolutely soar. The show’s energy stays high from that point on through, with the only moments of rest coming occasionally between songs when Cans taking the time to interact with the audience. Even those moments are themselves rare. What’s more, even in a slightly slower song, such as ‘Hollwed Be My Name,’ the band still manages to keep the audience entertained simply by performing the song. That in itself is a statement. The over-the-top guitar solos are kept to a minimum, with the band opting instead to present the songs as they were on record for the most part. The result is a concert performance that lets the band’s talents shine through from beginning to end, rather than relying on a bunch of theatrics. It is another solid testament to the recording’s appeal and to the band’s ability to entertain audiences. It is just one more way in which the recording proves itself so appealing, too. The recording’s overall production rounds out its most important elements to bring everything together.
The production of HammerFall’s new live recording Live! Against the World is important to note, whether in its Blu-ray presentation or its CD platform because it gives audiences the best seat in the house. Speaking specifically about the production on the CD platform, since that is what was provided for this critic, the audio production is exactly what audiences should hope for. The instrumentation is expertly balanced, even as bombastic as that collective is. The vocals are right there with the instruments, too. Considering the size of the concert hall, all of this is important in regards to making sure the sound was balanced and did not just echo throughout the venue. Those efforts paid off, resulting in a performance that succeeds just as much for its audio production as for its primary content. Again, not having the visual portion of the concert to take in, it would be dishonest to try to take on that aspect of the recording, so again that aspect will be left for audiences who purchase the concert’s full audio-visual presentation. Even taking in just the audio production along with the recording’s set list and related performance, the noted elements join to make this concert recording enjoyable even in its standalone audio presentation.
HammerFall’s forthcoming live recording Live! Against The World is an impressive presentation that the band’s longtime fans will appreciate just as much as those who are less familiar with the band’s catalog. That is proven in large part through the recording’s featured set list. The expansive 20-song set list clocks in at just under two hours and is in fact a truly career-spanning retrospective. The band’s performance of the set list will keep audiences engaged and entertained from beginning to end. The production, at least in regards to the recording’s CD platform, is appealing in its own way. It leaves the concert sounding good just as much as the content makes it “appear.” Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. All things considered, this presentation is HammerFall’s best live recording to date and one of this year’s absolute best new live recordings. It is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records. More information on the recording is available along with all of HammerFall’s latest news at:
Veteran hard rock band Sevendust has, for more than 25 years, remained one of the most respected names in the hard rock and metal community. That is due to the top notch music that the band has crafted in each of its 12 current albums. That reputation is sure to continue growing with the forthcoming release of the band’s 13th album Blood & Stone Friday. The 13-song record is one of the band’s best works to date. That is proven right from the record’s outset in the form of ‘Dying To Live.’ This song will be discussed shortly. ‘Against The World,’ which comes later in the album’s 49-minute run time, is another example of what makes the album stand so strongly. It will be addressed a little later. ‘Nothing Left To See Here Anymore’ is yet another interesting addition to Sevendust’s new album. It will also be addressed later. Between these three songs and the rest of the record’s entries, the album in whole continues to cement Sevendust’s place as one of the elite acts in the hard rock and metal community.
Sevendust’s latest album Blood & Stone is another unquestionable success from the band. Its musical and lyrical content alike certifies that statement, beginning with the album’s opener, ‘Dying To Live.’ The song wastes no time launching into its full-on aural attack with its pummeling guitars, drums and bass. The song’s energy never lets up once from beginning to the end of the three-minute-plus opus. The intensity that runs throughout the song takes the best elements of so many of the band’s existing works and uses them for this unique. Even as the song reaches its bridge and suddenly becomes subdued, there is still a certain heaviness in that moment that will keep listeners engaged. By the song’s end, audiences know that they have experienced something powerful and memorable as one of Sevendust’s best songs in what is already a crowded field of notable works. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out, of course. The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s arrangement adds even more depth to the work.
The lyrical theme of ‘Dying To Live’ is important because of the message that it seems to hint at. The message in question comes across as a commentary about paying attention to the bigger picture of the world rather than ourselves. That is inferred right from the song’s lead verse and chorus, which finds front man Lajon Witherspoon singing, “We’re cold/Immune to the abuse/Whatever price you pay/They take away/The only thing that matters now/Every little thing we want/Rips out a piece of us/With all that we give/Why am I dying to live/With all that we have to face/Keep dying to live.” That note of being “immune to the abuse” and “whatever price you pay/They take away? Hints at the fact that we as a society have become so desensitized to everything. The note of “whatever price you pay/They take away” is metaphorical language that seems to speak to we as a society losing just as much as we gain because we have become so desensitized. The song’s second verse infers the noted central message even more as Witherspoon sings, “Why do we believe/This time around/We found our soul/Better make your peace with death/And take what’s left/I’ll see you on the other side/I know.” This seems to infer that we need to get our heads on straight and focus on what’s really important because this is the only life that we have. We need to get our priorities right. This is all just this critic’s own interpretation, of course and should not be taken as the only interpretation. Regardless, the song’s lyrics are heavy. That goes without saying. When they are coupled with the equally heavy, infectious musical arrangement featured in this song, the two sides make for one whole that is a strong start for the band’s new album and an equally strong exemplary of what makes the album such a powerful new offering from Sevendust. It is just one of the album’s most notable works. ‘Against The World’ is another notable addition to Blood & Stone.
‘Against The World’ stands out almost instantly as it opens with the eerie, brooding keyboard line that opens the song’s arrangement. The ethereal sense that the keyboard line creates lends itself to comparisons to works from Nine Inch Nails. When it is coupled with the blistering guitar riffs in the chorus sections, that pairing makes the arrangement in whole even more unique. The juxtaposition of that element and the band’s more trademark melodic hard rock approach that makes up the rest of the arrangement, the song in whole becomes another work that is certain to engage and entertain listeners. As with ‘Dying To Live’ and the rest of the album’s songs, the composition’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical accompaniment adds its own share of interest to the presentation here.
Witherspoon sings in the song’s lead verse, “Is there something you want to say/Get it out…Don’t hold on/If it burns you up…” Much of the song’s lyrical content is difficult to decipher from here. Though the mention of “it’s you and I/Against the world/I’m not gonna let you down…Still there’s something left to burn” would hint at this song delivering a message of someone being there for another despite certain factors coming into play. Witherspoon even sings in the song that “You and I will find a way.” In other words, (again going without a lyrics sheet to reference) this song would seem to be lyrically, a statement about focusing the anger and frustrations brought on by the world together. If in fact that is the case, then the way in which the band approached that topic is unique here both lyrically and musically, and will certainly connect with listeners. To that end, it proves itself yet another strong point in this record and another example of what makes the album so strong, too. It is hardly the last of the album’s most notable songs, too. ‘Nothing Left to See Here Anymore’ is the most unique addition to the album of all.
‘Nothing Left to See Here Anymore’ stands out in its musical arrangement as it takes the band’s more melodic side, but also presents a little bit of a bluesy influence, believe it or not. While it boasts its own heaviness, it also presents a distinct mainstream sensibility that would make it a good fit for any active rock radio programmer’s play list. It has that kind of sound and stylistic approach. It’s heavy, but more in the noted corporate rock sound that is quite unlike most of anything that the band has ever produced. The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s unique musical composition ads even more interest to its presentation.
Witherspoon sings in the song’s lead verse, “Slapped my face again/So I can feel the one/Before this began…Time to tear down the walls/And start it again/You’re reaching out/I’m pulling back again/You’re reaching out/I’m pulling back again/There’s nothing left to see here anymore/I thought you’d never put me through this again/But the truth is/It’s always the same…So tear down the walls/And start over again.” He continues in the song’s next verse, “How long/’Til this will end…” Again, not all of the lyrics are able to be deciphered here without a lyrics sheet to reference. However, what can be inferred from what is able to be understood, this song comes across as centering on the all too familiar topic of a broken relationship. Whether it is just a personal, plutonic relationship with someone or a romantic relationship is left to interpretation. That aside, the way in which the song approaches the topic manages to give it a unique presentation. When this is considered along with the song’s even more unique musical arrangement, the whole makes the song in whole that much more of a notable addition to Sevendust’s new album. When the song in whole is considered along with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s entries, the record in whole leaves no doubt as to its appeal. All things considered, this record is another fully successful effort from one of the best bands in the hard rock and metal community.
Sevendust has, for more than 25 years, proven itself and then some as one of the elite acts in the hard rock and metal community thanks to its albums, its live shows and connection to its fans. The band’s forthcoming 13th album Blood & Stone only serves to cement that reputation even more. It takes the best elements of the band’s existing albums and builds on them to make yet another work that is solid from start to end. All three of the songs examined here serve to support the noted statements. When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, that whole makes Blood & Stone one more of this year’s definite top new hard rock and metal albums, and Sevendust still one of the elite acts in the hard rock and metal community. More information on Sevendust’s new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Independent hard rock band Aittala has a new update for fans.
The band has signed a new record deal with independent record label Exitus Stratagem Records. The deal puts the band alongside fellow North Carolina-based bands Motor Junkie, Overlord SR, and Alter The Deal, who are also signed with the label.
With the new record deal finalized, the band has announced its plans to re-issue its fourth album American Nightmare in early 2021. Additionally, the band is working on its next new album, with plans to release the album in late 2021.
More information on Aittala’s new record deal and releases is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Hard rock super group Firstborne debuted the video for its latest single this week.
The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Cut The Strings‘ Monday. The song is the latest single from the band’s self-titled EP, which was released this spring. The band debuted the record’s lead single ‘Roll The Dice‘ and its lyric video in August.
The video places the song’s lyrics over an ever-changing backdrop that uses imagery, such as a chess board, a burning city, and a skeleton dressed in a tuxedo and connected to strings like a puppet. Meanwhile, the song plays over the video, whose visualizations are used to help illustrate the message in the song’s lyrical content.
Front man Girish Pradham addressed the song’s lyrical message in a prepared statement.
“Every time there’s a force that challenges the most fundamental right of a human being – Freedom – music has always served as the voice of the common person,” he said. “The special existence of humans in the world has music right in the heart of it.”
The musical arrangement that accompanies the song’s straight forward commentary in its lyrical content will appeal to a wide range of listeners. Its guitar arrangement harkens back to the rock sounds of the late 80s and early 90s. The time keeping from Chris Adler (ex-Lamb of God) is xpertly handled while bassist James LoMenzo adds his own touch to the song.
More information on FirstBorne’s new lyric video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Ministry is doing its part to get people to the polls.
The band launched a new single called ‘Get Out And Vote 2020‘ Tuesday, along with a companion video. The video features a variety of images connected to this year’s general election, such as speeches made by Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Mike Pence, as well as footage from the first presidential debate.
The new, thrash style song plays over the noted footage as front man Al Jourgensen reminds listeners to get to the polls in this year’s election in order to save the soul of the nation.
In related news, Ministry recently launched a new effort to get people registered to vote. The campaign encouraged any fans who were not registered to do so and earn a chance to win free Ministry memorabilia. Fans who were already registered also had the chance to win the noted memorabilia by taking part in the efforts to save the nation’s live music venues.
In even more related news, Jourgensen has curated a playlist of songs titled “The Soundtrack To Your Election” on Spotify that is composed of politically charged songs from a variety of acts. The playlist includes and is not limited to Fear Factory’s ‘Linchpin,’ John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band’s ‘Power To The People’ and Johnny Cash’s ‘The One on the Right Is on the Left.’
More information on Ministry’s new campaigns is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Kurt Baker debuted another single from his new album last week.
Baker debuted his new single ‘Outta Sight‘ and its companion video Thursday. The song is the third single from Baker’s forthcoming album After Party, which is scheduled for release Friday through Wicked Cool Records. Its debut follows that of the album’s other singles, ‘Over You‘ and ‘I Like Her A Lot.’
The video features footage of Baker sightseeing around what looks like the American Southwest in a variety of locations as the song plays over the pixelated footage.
The musical arrangement featured in lends itself to comparisons to works from Elvis Costello, and according to Baker himself, to another far lesser known act.
“The main influence on this track is the band Single Bullet Theory,” he said. “They had one record in the early ’80s and are mostly unheard of, but Wyatt (Funderbunk, who produced and mixed After Party) and I love them. Wyatt actually found two vintage Single Bullet Theory T-shirts on eBay and picked them up for us. When they came in the mail we sat down and wrote this song off of an idea I had for the chorus. We wanted to build up each chorus so that by the very end it was really big. I think it’s the perfect closer to the record.”
More information on Kurt Baker’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:
Anthrax is releasing two new lines of signature whiskey.
The band has launched two new drinks, “Evil Twin I” and “Evil Twin II.” The limited edition drinks are being made available in special numbered bottles. Only 238 bottles of “Evil Twin I” are expected to be poured while exact number of bottles of “Evil Twin II” is under consideration. “Evil Twin I” will be 120.1 proof in its alcohol content.
Bottles of “Evil Twin I” that are ordered by Friday can be expected to arrive by Halloween. Orders are open through Mash & Grape.
Both of Anthrax’s new drinks were produced by Hillrock Estate Distillery. The distillery is located in the Hudson Valley Highlands in New York state.
According to information made available about the drinks, “Evil Twin I” contains espresso, caramel, vanilla and spice. “Evil Twin II” features maple, cinnamon, clove, and black pepper.
Hillrock Estate Distillery Co-owners Cathy Franklin and Jeffrey Baker talked about working with Anthrax on the new drinks during a recent interview.
“We’re so happy to be working again with Anthrax,” said Franklin and Baker. “We had a lot of fun with the whole band on ‘The Healer’ bourbon earlier this year, and were impressed by their appreciation for delicious spirits during those tastings. With ‘Evil I and II,’ it was great that Scott was able to come up to Hillrock and be really involved in finding the perfect blends for ‘Evil I’ and ‘Evil II.’ We’re sure Anthrax fans will enjoy both.”
Anthrax worked with Hillrock Estate Distillery in June when it released another signature drink, its signature bourbon, “The Healer.”
Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian had the following to say of the noted partnership and the two sides’ current partnership.
“We decided to release another whiskey because it seemed like people were very happy with ‘The Healer,” he said. “Where ‘The Healer’ bourbon was extremely approachable and smooth, ‘the ‘Evil Twins’ are spicier, sweeter, richer, stronger, and bolder. So, when we say ‘Evil Twin,’ we mean it in a great way.”
Along with “The Healer,” Anthrax has also released two other adult beverages, “Indians” in 2014 and “The Devil You Know” in 2015.
More information on Anthrax’s new whiskey lines is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
Independent metalcore band Aenlydebuted the video for its latest single this week.
The band debuted the video for its latest single ‘Up In Smoke’ Tuesday through BraveWords. The video’s debut comes more than three months after the band debuted the song’s lyric video.
The video features the band performing its new single against a plain background.
The song’s musical arrangement presents a djent sound through its heavy, crunching guitars and equally heavy drums and cutting vocals. It will appeal to fans of Nothingface. Its lyrical theme will connect with a wide range of listeners, as the band pointed out in its interview with BraveWords.
“‘Up In Smoke’ is a depiction of one’s internal anger, frustration and feeling of suffocating in the midst of a chaotic world filled with tension and uncertainty,” the band said. “The song touches on a lack of control in our current situation and the ability to renew our selves, bounce back and settle with our past.”
More information on Aenly’s new single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Independent hard rock band Letter of Marque is taking on the dangers of drug abuse in its latest single and video.
The band debuted the video for its single ‘White Lie‘ last month. The song is the latest single from the band’s 2019 album Outbreak. The album’s track listing is noted below.
The video features a father and daughter who are both battling heroin addiction. The result for each is not good. Because of the simulated drug use, some viewer discretion is advised.
The song’s musical arrangement features a sound that will appeal to fans of Machine Head, with its heavy, thrash style riffing. The screaming, death metal style vocal delivery of front man Matt Gund meanwhile, is comparable to that of Whitechapel front man Phil Bozeman. The pairing of the two influences makes the musical arrangement even more widely appealing.
Gund talked about the meaning behind the video and lyrical theme in a recent interview.
“Making this video truly helped us emphasize what we want the people to understand,” he said. “One bad decision can last for generations.”
More information on Letter of Marquee’s new single, video and album is available along with all of the band’s news at: