‘Green Acres: The Complete Series’ Is A Must Have For Any Classic TV Fan

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is going “Green” next month.  That is because for the first time ever, the renowned home entertainment company will release to the masses Green Acres: The Complete Series.  The six-season set is currently expected to be released in stores and online Tuesday, Oct. 17.  Those fans who have waited for so long for its release will be happy to know that with this forthcoming release, the wait was well worth it.  That is due in no small part to the episodes.  This will be discussed shortly.  The set’s packaging is another important part of its presentation that cannot and should not be ignored, and will be discussed later.  The bonus material included in this package rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to the set’s presentation.  All things considered, the first-ever run of Green Acres: The Complete Series proves, again, to have been well worth the wait and one that is easily one of this year’s best new box sets for grown-ups.

Shout! Factory’s forthcoming release of Green Acres: The Complete Series is a set that fans of the classic sitcom will find was well worth the wait.  That is especially the case considering that its release next month will mark the first time that the show has ever received a full-series treatment.  That is due in part to the episodes presented here.  From start to finish, audiences get all 170 episodes of the classic series, including the series’ rare pilot episode, which even has its own audio commentary track featuring thoughts from pop culture historian Russell Dyball.  That commentary is just one of the bonuses included in the set that will be discussed later.  Getting back on the subject, this set marks the first time that all 170 episodes of the largely family friendly series have ever been released together or otherwise.  What’s more, each episode looks and sounds just as good as they did in their original broadcasts if not better.  This is a real tribute to the series’ fans on the part of Shout! Factory and MGM, and both companies are to be commended for those efforts.  That is just one of the reasons that both companies should be commended here.  The set’s packaging is deserving of just as much praise as the episodes and their presentation.

The packaging used for Green Acres: The Complete Series is once more everything that audiences have come to expect from box sets released via Shout! Factory.  All six seasons of the classic sitcom are set in their own cases with the discs themselves being placed on their own plates inside the boxes.  Even with four discs being placed inside each case (for a total of 24 discs), the cases are still standard single-disc DVD size cases, showing once again how much thought was obviously put into the set’s packaging.  While separating the seasons out into separate cases might have expanded the set’s overall packaging, it is a sacrifice worth having to make in order to preserve the discs, and in turn, the series.  What’s more, even while this method might expand the packaging, it still in essence doesn’t expand it too much.

The physical aspect of the set’s packaging is only one part of what makes this element stand out.  Once again, Shout! Factory has included inside each season’s case, a chronological episode listing for audiences that includes a short but concise summary for each episode, the episode’s original air date and title.  The result here is two-fold.  One on level, the episode title and summary helps audiences decide which episode(s) they want to watch at one point or another.  On another level, the air date serves as its own starting point for perhaps a history lesson on the episode and even the series.  In other words, the set’s packaging is pleasing not just for its physical aspect but for its aesthetic aspect, too.  Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why this collection’s packaging is just as important as its episodes, if not more important.  Of course it is not the last of the set’s most important elements.  The set’s bonus material forms the set’s cornerstone.

The bonus material included with Green Acres: The Complete Series offers just as much entertainment as the series’ episodes if not more.  That is because of its quantity and quality.  As previously noted, the series’ pilot episode can be viewed both by itself and with an isolated audio commentary track from pop culture historian Russell Dyball.  Dyball’s commentary both entertains and informs audiences of all ages with his insight.  The Granby’s Green Acres radio broadcasts, which are also briefly discussed in the bonus featurette Green Acres Is The Place To Be.  Audiences get to experience for themselves here just some of the episodes from the short-lived radio broadcast series, which was the foundation for Green Acres.  After taking in those broadcasts and learning about them through the aforementioned bonus discussion with author Stephen Cox, audiences gain a whole new respect and appreciation for the series in both incarnations.  Speaking of Cox’s discussion, his discussion about Green Acres’ radio roots is just one of so many topics that he covers in his featurette. Along with that discussion, he also touches on the series’ connections to I Love Lucy, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and other series through casting, production and other topics.  That is just the tip of the iceberg, too.  He also goes into depth about the off-screen friendship between the series’ stars, Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor—there was nothing romantic there, so no one should get their hopes up for any gossip—the fact that Albert and Gabor were not the original picks for the show’s leads and why, the series’ animal stars and their training and even the importance of the series’ theme song as a scene setter for the show among so much more.  Between his in-depth discussions and those from Dyball, audiences get more than they could have hoped for in terms of engagement and entertainment.  The radio broadcasts and Merv Griffin Show appearances starring Albert and Gabor collectively add even more entertainment.  From one item to the next, it is clear that the bonus material included with Green Acres: The Complete Series is pivotal to this set’s presentation.  It collectively succeeds, too.  When it is considered alongside the series’ full 170-episode presentation and the continued standard-setting packaging, all three elements join to make this first-time release one that was well worth the wait and the money.  They join to make the set one of the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming release of Green Acres: The Complete Series is definitely one that was well worth the wait.  It is also one of the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups (and maybe even families in whole, which the world needs more of in this day and age).  From the presentation of its full 170-episode run to its continued bar-setting packaging to its equally entertaining and engaging bonus material, it offers plenty for audiences to appreciate.  Considering that, audiences will agree when they experience it for themselves–once more-that it was well worth the wait and the cost.  It can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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Penn State, Iowa Headline ESPN Networks’ College Football Week 4 Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy: ESPN

The fourth week of the 2017 college football season is here and the ESPN networks have another full schedule on tap for this weekend.

The networks’ week 4 schedule opened Thursday as No. 21 South Florida hosted Temple on ESPN and North Carolina Central hosted South Carolina State on ESPNU.  The Bulls soundly defeated Temple 43 – 7 in their game while the Eagles (2 – 1) defeated the Bulldogs (1 – 2) 33 – 28 in that matchup.

The action continues tonight at 8 p.m. as Boise State hosts Virginia live on ESPN2. Saturday’s action starts at noon as North Carolina State University faces No. 12 Florida State on the road.  That game will be either on ABC or ESPN2 according to the network’s schedule.

No. 4 Penn State and Iowa will headline Saturday’s coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. on ABC’s Saturday Night Football presented by Wells Fargo, but won’t be the last of the day’s games.  The day’s action winds down at 10:30 p.m. ET as Stanford hosts UCLA on ESPN and ESPN Radio.

East Carolina and Connecticut round out the weekend’s action Sunday at noon on ESPNU.  All of the games noted here are just some of the games scheduled for the fourth week of the 2017 college football season.  The networks’ full broadcast schedule for this weekend is noted below.

All games on Saturday, Sept. 23 unless specified.

Date

Time (ET)

Game

Network

Thu, Sep 21

7:30 p.m.

Temple at No. 21 South Florida

Dave Flemming, Joey Galloway, Booger McFarland, Laura Rutledge

ESPN

 

South Carolina State at North Carolina Central

Eric Clemons, Jay Walker

ESPNU

Fri, Sep 22

8 p.m.

Virginia at Boise State

Adam Amin, Dusty Dvoracek, Molly McGrath

ESPN2

Sat, Sep 23

Noon

NC State at No. 12 Florida State

Jason Benetti, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman

ABC or ESPN2*

Texas Tech at Houston

Mike Patrick, Tommy Tuberville, Paul Carcaterra

ABC or ESPN2*

Texas A&M at Arkansas from Arlington, Texas

Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams

ESPN

West Virginia at Kansas

Mike Couzens, John Congemi

ESPNU

Massachusetts at Tennessee
Taylor Zarzour, Andre Ware, Olivia Harlan

SEC Network

Kent State at No. 19 Louisville

ACC Network Extra

Central Methodist at Peru State

ESPN3

12:20 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Georgia State

ACC Network Extra

1 p.m.

Delta State at Shorter

ESPN3

Mercyhurst at Clarion

ESPN3

1:30 p.m.

New Mexico at Tulsa

Joel Meyers, Brian Kinchen

ESPN3

Chattanooga at VMI

ESPN3

Gardner-Webb at Wofford

ESPN3

2 p.m.

Old Dominion at No. 13 Virginia Tech

Dave Weekley, John Gregory

ACC Network Extra

Ohio at Eastern Michigan

Dan Gutowsky, Bobby Carpenter

ESPN3

Idaho at South Alabama

Drew Fellios, Forrest Conoly

ESPN3

3 p.m.

No. 5 USC at California

Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy, Tom Luginbill

ABC

3:30 p.m.

No. 16 TCU at No. 6 Oklahoma State

TV: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Todd McShay

Radio: Sean Kelley, Barrett Jones, Owen Murphy

ESPN and ESPN Radio

Boston College at No. 2 Clemson

Dave Lamont, Kelly Souffer, Kris Budden

ESPN2

Duke at North Carolina

Clay Matvick, Kirk Morrison, Desmond Purnell

ESPNU

Louisiana Tech at South Carolina

David Neal, Matt Stinchcomb, Dawn Davenport

SEC Network

Toledo at No. 14 Miami

ACC Network Extra

Miami (OH) at Central Michigan
Michael Reghi, Marcus Ray

ESPN3

Wake Forest at Appalachian State

Shawn Kenney, Stan Lewter

ESPN3

Illinois State at Missouri State

ESPN3

Samford at Western Carolina

ESPN3

Robert Morris at North Dakota State

ESPN3

Mercer at East Tennessee State

ESPN3

Sat, Sep 23

4 p.m.

Campbell at Stetson

ESPN3

5 p.m.

Louisiana-Monroe at Louisiana

Matt Stewart, Watson Brown

ESPN3

Tennessee State at Tennessee Martin

ESPN3

6 p.m.

Akron at Troy

Tiffany Greene, Huston Mason

ESPN3

Mars Hill at Catawba

ESPN3

6:30 p.m.

Western Illinois at Costal Carolina

Brock Bowling, Doug Graber

ESPN3

7 p.m.

No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Georgia

Joe Tessitore, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe

ESPN

Syracuse at No. 25 LSU

Anish Shroff, Ahmad Brooks, Julie Stewart-Binks

ESPN2

Wagner at Western Michigan

ESPN3

Florida Atlantic at Buffalo

ESPN3

Arkansas State at SMU
David Saltzman, Stanford Routt

ESPN3

Bowling Green at Middle Tennessee

ESPN3

Nicholls at Sam Houston State

ESPN3

Ferris State at Ashland

ESPN3

Villanova at Albany

ESPN3

Northwood at Grand Valley State

ESPN3

7:30 p.m.

No. 4 Penn State at Iowa

Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor

ABC

No. 15 Auburn at Missouri

Mark Neely, Ray Bentley

ESPNU

No. 20 Florida at Kentucky

Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic

SEC Network

8 p.m.

UT San Antonio at Texas State

ESPN3

Southern Illinois at Memphis

ESPN3

UTEP at New Mexico State

Greg Mescall, Jay Taylor

ESPN3

10:15 p.m.

Hawaii at Wyoming

Roy Philpott, Tom Ramsey

ESPN2

10:30 p.m.

UCLA at Stanford

TV: Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich

Radio: Bill Rosinski, David Norrie, Ian Fitzsimmons

ESPN and ESPN Radio

Sun, Sep 24

Noon

East Carolina at Connecticut

Mike Corey, Rene Ingoglia

ESPNU

Not all ESPN3 and ACC Network Extra games are exclusive
*Game is Regionalized

More information on this weekend’s schedule is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.espn.com/college-football

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espncfb

 

 

 

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.

NBA TV Announces NBA Preseason Broadcast Schedule For NBA 2017 – ’18 Season

Courtesy: Turner Sports

NBA TV has announced its NBA pre-season broadcast schedule.

The network will broadcast 21 live pre-season games over the course of 13 days beginning Sept. 30 with a matchup between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers in Anaheim, California.

Oct. 2 will see the Celtics in action for the first time this pre-season as they take on the Charlotte Hornets at 7:30 p.m. The Nuggets and Lakers follow at 10:30 p.m.

The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City will make plenty of noise as they lead off day three of the network’s extensive pre-season coverage schedule. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 8 p.m., which is just the first of a triple-header scheduled for the day. Also scheduled for the evening is a matchup between the Suns and Trailblazers at 10 p.m.  That game will be followed by a matchup of the Warriors and Timberwolves at 1 a.m.

The network’s extensive schedule continues Oct. 4 with yet another triple-header schedule.  The Cavaliers and Hawks lead the night at 7 p.m. The Nuggets and Lakers follow at 10 p.m. and the Warriors and Timberwolves on the NBA China Games 2017presented by Master Kong.

The 76ers and Celtics round out the first five days of NBA TV’s extensive pre-season schedule.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Far more games are on tap for NBA TV’s NBA pre-season schedule.  The network’s full broadcast schedule is noted below.

2017 NBA TV Preseason Schedule (All Times Eastern)

      Date

Time

                    Matchup                                                         City

 

Saturday, Sept. 30

10 p.m.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Anaheim

Sunday, Oct. 1

6 p.m.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat

Miami

10 p.m.

LA Clippers vs. Toronto Raptors

Honolulu

Monday, Oct. 2

7:30 p.m.

Charlotte Hornets vs. Boston Celtics

Boston

 

10:30 p.m.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles

Tuesday, Oct. 3

8 p.m.

Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Tulsa

10 p.m.

Phoenix Suns vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Portland

1 a.m.

Toronto Raptors vs. LA Clippers

Honolulu

Wednesday, Oct. 4

7 p.m.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland

10 p.m.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Ontario

2 a.m.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Golden State Warriors

Shenzen, China

Thursday, Oct. 5

7:30 p.m.

Miami Heat vs. Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn

10 p.m.

Toronto Raptors vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Portland

Friday, Oct. 6

7 p.m.

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia

Saturday, Oct. 7

7 p.m.

Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic

Orlando

Sunday, Oct. 8

7 a.m.

Golden State Warriors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Shanghai, China

3 p.m.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards

Washington, D.C.

Monday, Oct. 9

7:30 p.m.

Houston Rockets at New York Knicks

New York

10 p.m.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Sacramento Kings

Sacramento

Thursday, Oct. 12

7:30 p.m.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta

10:30 p.m.

Sacramento Kings vs. LA Clippers

Los Angeles

 

More information on NBA TV’s NBA coverage during the 2017 – ’18 season is available online now along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.nba.com/nbatv

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

 

 

 

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.

Cards, Cowboys Close Out NFL’s Week 3 Schedule Live On ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Cowboys and Cards will go head to head live Monday night as ESPN caps off the third week of the National Football League’s 2017 – ’18 season.

ESPN will broadcast the NFC inter-divisional matchup live from University of Phoenix Stadium beginning at 6 p.m. with its weekly Monday Night Countdown pre-game broadcast anchored by Suzy Kolber. Kolber will be joined, as she is each week, by analysts Matt Hasselback, Randy Moss, Charles Woodson and Steve young for additional commentary.

Also scheduled to be on hand for the broadcast from ESPN’s studios will be ESPN ESPN Insiders Chris Mortensen, Louis Riddick, Adam Schefter and Senior Fantasy Sports Analyst Mathew Berry.

The Cardinals (1 – 1 – 0) come into their home opener on the heels of a hard-fought 16 – 13 win over the Colts in week 2 while the Cowboys (1 – 1 – 0) will look to bounce back from a week two 42 – 17 pounding from the Broncos and pick up their first road win of the season in the process.  The contrast means both teams will have plenty to play for Monday night.

Sean McDonough will anchor Monday night’s broadcast.  He will be joined in the booth by his MNF broadcast partner Jon Gruden.  Lisa Salters will be on the sidelines with all of the game’s latest news and interviews.

Monday night’s game will be simulcast in Spanish on television ESPN Deportes and ESPN2 with Alvaro Martin, Raul Allegre and John Sutcliffe on the call.  The game will can also be streamed online via the ESPN app for those who won’t be near a television during the game.

More information on Monday night’s NFL coverage is available online now along with all of the latest NFL headlines at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.espn.com/nfl

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

 

 

 

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.

‘Under Cover’ Will Appeal To Motorhead, Rock Fans Alike

Courtesy: Motorhead Music

Almost two years ago, the rock world lost one of its great icons when Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister died from cancer.  When he died, that effectively put an end to one of the musical universe’s greatest acts.  That meant no more new Motorhead music.  Earlier this month though, Motorhead Music–the band’s own label–released a new collection of covers from the band to satiate audiences in the form of Under Cover. The 11-song record presents a rarely heard side of Motorhead that itself is certain to entertain listeners.  This is just one of the compilation’s key elements and will be discussed later.  The acts whose songs are featured here are collectively just as important to discuss as the songs themselves and will be discussed later.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to this compilation’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Under Cover proves to be a record that is an entertaining new offering for Motorhead’s most devout fans.

Motorhead, with the passing of front man Lemmy Kilmister almost two years ago, may not be actively recording new music anymore.  With the release earlier this month of the band’s new covers compilation Under Cover, the band’s most devout fans were given an entertaining new release from Motorhead even if it is not a collection of new Motorhead music.  That statement is supported in part through the songs that make up the collection.  Considering that Motorhead, throughout the course of its life, was known for up-tempo blues-based rock that was tinged with some punk elements, the songs featured in this compilation show that the band was just as talented handling other styles of rock as its own brand.  That is proven clearly in the band’s cover of David Bowie’s hit song ‘Heroes,’ which comes early in the record’s run. Bowie’s original work bears more similarity to works from perhaps Paul McCartmey than Motorhead.  Yet, even in its slightly amped up take on the classic tune, Motorhead does Bowie’s classic justice while adding its own rock touch that is certain to get praise even from Bowie’s most devout fans.  The band’s take on The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ is yet another song featured in this record that shows the real reach of the band’s abilities.  Once again, the band largely stays true to its source material, while also adding its own respectable hard rock elements.  The expert balance of those two elements here will put a smile on any longtime Rolling Stones fan just as much as any Motorhead fan.  Much the same can also be said in examining the band’s take of another Rolling Stones standard, ‘Sympathy For The Devil.’  Those three songs alone show clearly the band’s reach.  Of course that is not to discount the band’s covers of Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever,’ Rainbow’s ‘Starstruck,’ and The Ramones’ ‘Rockaway Beach’ as well as the album’s other songs.  Those covers show in their own way the band’s reach, though they are much closer to Motorhead’s style than the previously noted works.  Keeping this in mind, the bands whose works are featured here are just as important to note as the songs themselves.

Listeners will note that of the album’s 11 total songs, seven were crafted by British acts—Judas Priest, The Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne.  The other four songs come from American acts—Ted Nugent, Metallica, Twisted Sister and The Ramones.  That in itself is certain to create its own share of discussion.  Obviously Motorhead was itself a British outfit, but it could easily be argued that such an emphasis on its counterparts presents its own history lesson to listeners.  It shows the reach of the British hard rock scene between the 1960s and 1990s versus that of the American hard rock scene.  To that end, the acts featured here in themselves serve as a starting point on rock’s history on both sides of the Atlantic.  That might not have been the manifest intent with such a lineup, but it definitely will create those discussions.  On another level, it shows the band’s interest in so many different parts of the rock community at the time. Judas Priest was hard rock while the Sex Pistols were more punk (again, showing Motorhead’s roots). Rainbow was more of a progressive style hard rock while The Rolling Stones were that blues-based influence that Motorhead always added to its own music, too.  In the same breath, Metallica’s Whiplash shows where Motorhead perhaps got its harder almost thrash elements.  When this is all taken into account along with the influences from the other featured bands, Motorhead’s roots become even more evident.  In other words, the bands and songs featured in this compilation form a solid foundation for the record.  They collectively serve as a starting point for discussions about music history and about Motorhead’s history.  Both by themselves and together, they do plenty to make this record enjoyable and are not the record’s only key elements.  The album’s sequencing adds its own enjoyment to its presentation.

Under Cover’s sequencing is an important to note in examining this record because of its ability to maintain the album’s energy from beginning to end.  The album starts out full throttle with the band’s cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Breakin’ The Law’ and keeps the energy flowing just as highly as it launches into its cover of The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen.’  Even as the album progresses into the band’s cover of ‘Heroes,’ the energy still maintains itself even here.  Given, it isn’t as high as in the album’s first two entries, but still keeps moving.  The energy picks right back up as the album takes listeners through the band’s covers of Rainbow’s Starstruck’ and Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ before pulling back again with two straight Rolling Stones covers.  From there on out, the energy picks right back and stays stable right to the album’s end even with the change in the songs’ styles.  Keeping this in mind, it is clear that plenty of time and thought was put into the record’s sequencing.  That time and thought ensures listeners’ engagement from beginning to end here.  That is because the record’s energy never lets up too much at any one point or even gets too high.  When this is taken into account along with the collective value of the record’s songs and their associated bands, it adds that much more depth to the collection.  That being the case, the whole of those elements make Under Cover a collection that will appeal not only to Motorhead’s fans from start to finish but to rock fans in general.

Motrhead’s recently released compilation record Under Cover is a collection of songs that will appeal both to Motorhead’s fans and to rock fans in general.  This is the case even though being a compilation record, it does not necessarily break any new ground in the way of compilation records.  The songs and bands featured on this record serve collectively as a solid starting point for plenty of discussions both on Motorhead’s history and on rock history.  They also do plenty to ensure listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment.  The record’s sequencing does much the same.  All things considered, these elements make Under Cover a collection that while not exactly new to the compilation realm, is still entertaining in its own right.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Under Cover is available online now along with all of the latest Motorhead news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.motorhead.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/myMotorhead

 

 

 

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.

‘The Art Of The Possible’ Proves True Art Is Possible Even In Its Simplest Form

Courtesy: Limbo Music/Metamusic

Big things often can and do come in small packages.  Everyone has said or heard that adage (or some variant thereof) plenty of time throughout life.  It is an adage that means exactly what it states.  Something doesn’t have to be big to be “big.”  Musician/producer Fer Isella’s brand new full-length studio recording The Art of the Possible is proof positive that sometimes, big things truly can and do come in small packages.  Officially released in stores and online today, this Argentine’s nine-song album is an effort that is excellence in its simplest form as is evidenced in the songs themselves.  This will be discussed shortly.  The songs’ arrangements support that statement just as much as the songs themselves.  The record’s sequencing is a fine accent point to the album, too.  When it is considered along with the simplicity of the album’s songs and their arrangements, the whole of the album proves to be one of this year’s biggest and best surprises.

Fer Isella’s latest full-length studio recording The Art of the Possible is a work that shows great art is possible even when the smallest, simplest approach is taken in creating said art.  That is made clear in part through the nine songs presented in this pleasantly surprising new offering from the Argentine artist/producer.  The piano-driven songs presented here are fully instrumental works.  There are no vocals. There is no overdubbing.  There is nothing but Isella, a piano and a room.  Suffice it to say that this minimalist approach led to the creation of a group of heartfelt songs that will touch listeners more deeply than even the most saccharine sweet songs ever created both mainstream and otherwise.  This is proven clearly in the songs composed for Isella’s family—‘Dan,’ ‘Sof’ and ‘Cin’—just as much as in ‘Pendulum,’ ‘Conversation’ and the album’s other works.  Each song evokes a different emotion and tells a different story, with the end result being listeners’ ensured continued engagement.  Of course that engagement is only assured because of the time and thought put into the songs’ arrangements.

The arrangements that are presented throughout this record show great thought and consideration in each work.  The time and effort put into each arrangement creates a different musical tapestry in each work.  From perhaps two people walking and talking in an early fall mountain setting in the album’s opener ‘Conversation’ to someone perhaps sitting and wishing for that special someone alone in a park in ‘Desire’ to something far more frantic in ‘Pendulum,’ and plenty of other musical mattes, the pictures that Isella paints through his songs are certain to be different for every listener. These interpretations are only those of this critic. That aside, Isella’s clear ability to paint such vivid pictures through his simple arrangements (which at times feel like they could be used for some major big budget drama’s soundtrack) and evoke such deep emotion in the process shows once more the importance of the album’s arrangements.  It shows from start to finish that arrangements don’t have to be big productions in order to be themselves big.  Keeping this in mind, the show why the simplicity in the songs’ arrangements is just as important to this record’s success as the simplicity in Isella’s approach to the songs themselves.  Even with this in mind, the songs’ arrangements are collectively just one more way in which TAOTP impresses.  Its sequencing serves to make it impressive just as much as its arrangements and its songs.

The sequencing of TAOTP plays its own part in the album’s enjoyment because it shows, too, a certain amount of thought and consideration.  Over the course of the album’s first three songs, Isella keeps the album’s energy relatively gentle and smooth while still managing to evoke, again, so many different emotions through each work’s arrangement.  That energy audibly changes even more as he takes listeners through two of the album’s three songs that pay tribute to his family—‘Dan’ and ‘Sof.’  The energy exuded in ‘Dan’ is slightly higher than that of the album’s first three songs, yet is still controlled for lack of better wording.  In the same breath, ‘Sof’ is the polar opposite of ‘Dan.’ It somewhat continues the musical theme presented in ‘Dan,’ yet is so much more reserved than that song. It echoes the gentility exhibited in the album’s first three songs.  ‘Pendulum’ switches things up yet again with its energy of someone confused and almost frantic in his or her mindset about something.  That change of pace from the energies in the song’s predecessors is certain yet again to keep listeners engaged.  The record’s last three compositions—‘Cin,’ ‘Story’ and ‘Farewell’—pull the record’s energy back once more, depositing listeners gently on the same shore from whence they were lifted in the album’s opener, leaving them feeling wholly fulfilled.  That emotion, when considered with the other emotions generated throughout the rest of the album, reminds listeners once again of the time and thought obviously put into the album’s sequencing.  That effort, when considered along with the effort put into the album’s songs and their arrangements, creates an album that in whole is one of the year’s biggest musical surprises; a record that is in this critic’s view, one of the year’s best new album’s overall. It shows that true art is possible even with the simplest approach.  More information on The Art of the Possible is available online now at http://www.ferisella.com.

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‘Prophets Of Rage’ Is A Solid Effort For RATM 2.0

Courtesy: Fantasy Records

Rage Against The Machine is back again…sort of.  Tom Morello, Tim Cummerford and Brad Wilk joined forces with longtime friends B-Real (Cypress Hill) and Chuck D (Public Enemy) some time ago following the dissolution of Audioslave to form the super group Prophets of Rage, which is for all intents and purposes Rage Against The Machine 2.0.  The only real difference between this “new” group and RATM—as is clear in listening to the group’s brand new self-titled debut album, is the fact that Morello, Wilk and Cummerford are joined this time out by the aforementioned superstar hip-hop front men.  Musically and lyrically speaking, the fruits of the group’s efforts make this 12-song album everything that Rage Against The Machine fans have come to expect from that band.  Even with that in mind, that return to musical and lyrical form makes this record a welcome effort from the second coming of Rage Against The Machine.

Prophets of Rage’s brand new self-titled debut album is a welcome effort from what is for all intents and purposes the second coming of Rage Against The Machine.  That is due in part to the musical arrangements presented throughout the course of the album’s 12-song, 39-minute run time.  From start to finish, listeners get here 12 arrangements that are a full return to form for Morello and his RATM band mates—Brad Wilk (drums) and Brad Cummerford (bass).  Morello’s heavy riffs and guitar-based special sound effects lift from all three of RATM’s full-length studio efforts and even from the trio’s work under the Audioslave moniker.  That balance of sounds throughout this record makes it enjoyable enough even despite the arrangements not exactly being anything groundbreaking.  Keeping this in mind, the album’s collective arrangements are collectively just one of the album’s elements to examine.  Its lyrical content is just as important to note here as those arrangements.

The lyrical content presented throughout Prophets of Rage is important to note here because it is just as familiar to RATM fans as the album’s musical arrangements.  What is important to note here is that while being as socially conscious as the lyrics in RATM’s previous albums, the topics tackled here are timely.  They do not just rehash the topics taken on in those records.  Case in point is the album’s opener ‘Radical Eyes.’  This song clearly takes on the misconception that just because someone might read one religious book or another that said person has become radicalized.  It is a response, basically, to the close mindedness that so many people have primarily against the Muslim community in this nation.  Its follow-up, ‘Unf*** the World’ stays on a similar mindset as it takes on the issue of racism that is still so alive in America.  The group also takes on the issue of poverty in America and the struggle to fight the issue due to politicians who seemingly don’t care to fight that battle in ‘Living on the 110.’  The group even takes on the issue of personal privacy invasion of sorts in ‘Take Me Higher,’ which addresses law enforcement’s use (and possible misuse) of drones in their daily duties.  The group even goes so far as to address the tensions between police and the people that have risen in recent years over allegations of police brutality in ‘Hands Up.’  This is all just a glance at the way in which Prophets of Rage manages lyrically to impress listeners with its timely lyrical content.  The other songs not noted here all present lyrical content that is just as timely as the material noted here.  Keeping all of this in mind, the lyrical content presented throughout this record proves to be POR’s cornerstone.  It is just one more of the album’s most important elements, too.  The album’s sequencing puts the final touch to its overall presentation.

Plenty of time and thought was obviously put into Prophets of Rage’s sequencing.  From start to finish, the album never lets its fire burn out.  Even as the group gets a bit funky in ‘Take Me Higher,’ it still doesn’t let up in its energy.  The up-tempo arrangement is instantly infectious thanks to all involved, ensuring listeners’ engagement just as much as the album’s much heavier arrangements.  Much the same can be said of ‘Counteroffensive,’ the 38-second interlude which lifts more from Public Enemy and Cypress Hill than RATM.  Even as short as it is and stylistically separate from its counterparts, its arrangement still is entertaining.  Its placement almost halfway through the record is just as smart, as it gives listeners a short break and some variance to the record in whole.  Considering this, the energies exhibited in each song and the fact that no one song directly repeats the other (in regards to their arrangements), it becomes even clearer why the album’s sequencing is so important to the album’s whole.  The energies never vary even as the familiar arrangements do vary.  When this is considered along with the arrangements themselves and the album’s timely lyrical content, the end result is an album that proves to be a solid first effort from Prophets of Rage and an equally solid new effort from what is for all intents and purposes Rage Against The Machine 2.0.  More information on Prophets of Rage is available now along with Prophets of Rage’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://prophetsofrage.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/prophetsofrage

 

 

 

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