‘The Change’ Could Change The Course Of Awake At Last’s Life

Courtesy: Outerloop Records

Hard rock band Awake At Last has made a name for itself throughout the course of its life for presenting songs that promote positivity, spirituality and self-confidence.  That trend, which the band has held over the course of two EPs, continues on the band’s full-length debut album The Change.  The 12-song record presents those themes in various ways throughout the course of its 39-minute run time, complete with musical arrangements that will appeal to a wide range of listeners.  From one song to the next, the record’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes that make up its body ensure listeners’ continued engagement.  The album’s lead single ‘Dead Generation’ is just one of the songs that supports that statement.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Bigger Picture,’ which comes later in the album’s run continues to support that statement in a similar fashion.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Fallen Stars,’ the album’s closer is yet another of the album’s entries that exhibits the band’s continued themes of positivity and self-confidence. It serves just as much as ‘Dead Generation’ and ‘Bigger Picture’ to maintain listeners’ engagement.  When these songs are considered along with the nine songs that make up the remainder of the record, the whole of The Change becomes a work that may well “change” the course of Awake At Last’s career to the positive.

Awake At Last’s debut full-length studio recording The Change is a strong new effort from the Delaware-based hard rock outfit.  It is a nearly 40-minute presentation whose themes of positivity, self-confidence and spirituality are certain to keep listeners engaged while at the same time, offering those same audiences plenty of musical entertainment and lyrical inspiration.  One of the songs featured in the record’s 12-song body that serves to support those statements comes early in the record’s run in the form of ‘Dead Generation.’  The album’s lead single, it presents a musical arrangement that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Three Days Grace, Shinedown and to a lesser extent, Set It Off.  That combination of influences makes the song’s musical arrangement a strong foundation for the song’s presentation.  That foundation is strengthened through the social commentary presented in the song’s lyrical content.

The song’s lyrical content presents a theme of…well…making a change.  It approaches the subject in this case, by forcing listeners to contemplate whether the current generation that has inherited the planet is in fact as bad off as it has been made to seem.  Front man Vincent Torres delivers that message, singing in the song’s lead verse, “With every moment/We’re drifting into defeat/We keep on living a lie/Like it’s what we need/When conversation is avoided to keep the peace/The silence pulling us under will never cease.”  He is saying here, that people need to stand up and speak up, rather than be passive and just let things happen.  That is because if we continue to remain silent, nothing will get better in the world, rather it will do the opposite and get worse.  This statement is heightened through the song’s chorus in which Torres and his band mates – Eric Blackway (guitar), Imran Xhelili (guitar) and John Finney (drums) – sing, “We beg the world to change/But fail to face it/Are we alive or a dead generation?”  He is saying, we keep calling for change, but are we doing anything to back up our calls to action?  As if that is not proof enough, Torres goes on in the song’s second verse, to sing, “Trapped in a moment/Perpetual hell/This life’s a coffin and we are the nails/Cut out the answers and disarm the scars/We always take, take, take/And forget who we are.”  Again, here is a statement of looking at the bigger picture.  We are the cause, not the effect, is essentially what Torres is saying here.  We are the “nails,” the cause.  We always take, take, take/And forget who we are.  It’s all about us.  We need to act for the bigger picture.  Torres speaks in metaphors here, but it is relatively clear what he is saying.  Keeping that in mind, along with the fire in the song’s musical arrangement, this first statement from the band this time out shows without doubt that noted positivity for which the band has come to be known during its life.  Given it is hardly the first time that any musical act has ever presented a call to action so to speak, but it still works even in this case.  In the process, it helps to establish the band’s identity and that of the album.  It is just one of the album’s most standout additions.  Speaking of bigger pictures, the song ‘Bigger Picture’ is another of those key additions to the record.

‘Bigger Picture’ comes late in the album’s 39-minute run time.  It stands out quite starkly from its counterparts included in the album, through its musical arrangement.  This song’s arrangement boasts a sound more akin to Set It Off and Fall Out Boy than the previously noted bands.  What is nice is that even with those influences, the song still maintains its own identity separate from those bands’ works.  That goes a long way toward making the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content, which focuses on the importance of unity and seeing the forest for the trees, adds to the foundation formed through the song’s arrangement.

The message in question is delivered as Torres sings in the song’s lead verse, “Spent some time inside my mind/And found a way to re-align/My thoughts betray me, but it’s all in my head/Life is just a tapestry and I’m just a thread.”  Now this line in and of itself directly sends that message.  The song’s subject looked inside, and realized he/she needed to think differently because he/she was just one part of a much bigger whole.  The message continues as Torres sings, “People used to tell me ‘cause I doubted myself/Spent so much time tryin’ to be someone else/I know it’s not about me, but it’s plain to see/We’re losing ourselves to these selfish machines/Get into our bodies and out of our screens/If we’re all part of something bigger/Then I know who I am/If we’re all fragments of a picture/Then why can’t we see we’re all the same/Ignite the flame…You’re the same as you and I.”  Again, here we have a message that we need to see we are all part of something much bigger and we need to think of one another instead of ourselves.  Once again, this is not the first time that any band or act has ever presented such a message, but it is another message that can not be expressed enough.  Rather, it is a message that sadly, must continued to be presented to a public that needs constant reminders of this issue.  Keeping this in mind, this uplifting message couples with the song’s equally engaging musical arrangement to make the whole another song that shows how The Change in whole can potentially change the course of Awake At Last’s career.  It is not the last of the songs that serves to support that statement, either.  The song’s powerhouse finale, ‘ Fallen Stars’ is yet another way in which the album exhibits its strength.

‘Fallen Stars’ changes things up from Awake At Last in terms of its musical arrangement once again, this time moving from the emo-core sound of Fall Out Boy and Set It Off to a more aggro-rock style sound that takes listeners back to the late 90s, right down to the screaming climaxes of the verses.  That sound alone serves to help the song stand out, but is just one part of what makes the song so notable.  The song’s lyrical theme once again is that continued uplifting positive theme that reminds listeners to not give up even in life’s most difficult moments.

Torres reminds listeners to note give up in the song’s chorus, singing, “Sometimes we hurt/Sometimes we break/But it’s times like these/We learn to create/Everyone fails/It’s part of the plan/We have to fall/To get up again.”  This is a powerful statement that is certain to inspire plenty of listeners.  It is just one of the statements that will inspire listeners.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’ve seen the vision/As lightning cracks the sky/I’m gonna chase this dream/But something worth having will never come easy/So I’ll take the long road/Even if I pave it on my own/’Cause when the sky falls down/the sky is quiet with the silence/We stand together united by fallen stars/We’re stronger together.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Burning image/On the canvas of our lives/We’re gonna change this scene/It’s something worth having, so it won’t be easy/But they’ll remember/How the artists took a stand/As we live and breathe/The world is quiet with our silence.”  In the song’s finale, he adds, “We stand together united by fallen stars/So let the darkness divide us/Remember who we are/Brave the weather/We’re stronger together/Everything comes crashing down around us/Like a phoenix we’re reborn from the ashes.”  Once again, here is that message of perseverance and positivity coupled with the continued theme of unity, much as is presented in so many of the album’s other songs.  It is just another way in which the album’s lyrical content continues the themes presented in the band’s currently available two EPs.  Those themes are continued throughout the rest of the album’s entries, too, in even more diverse fashion.  That diversity in the delivery of the band’s positive messages and the power in the album’s musical arrangements makes the album in whole a positive debut for Awake At Last; a debut that could create a positive change for the band itself.

Awake At Last’s debut full-length studio recording The Change is a strong offering from the up-and-coming hard rock outfit.  As has been noted in this review, the positive lyrical themes presented in the band’s currently available EPs are continued throughout this record in various ways.  The musical arrangements that accompany those positive messages do just as much to make the album a success.  When they are coupled together and considered from the album’s opening to its end, the album in whole proves to be a record that could change the course of Awake At Last’s life in a good way.  It is scheduled for release June 21 through Outerloop Records.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of Awake At Last’s latest news and more at:



Website: http://www.awakeatlastrock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/awakeatlastrock




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Fall Out Boy Fans Will Enjoy Band’s Latest Live Recording In Every Season


Courtesy: Eagle Vision/Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group/Crush Music/DCD2/Island Records

Late last summer pop punk outfit Fall Out Boy hit the road in support of its latest album American Beauty/American Psycho.  As part of its tour, the band performed a hometown show that was recorded for release.  That recording was released this past October via Eagle Rock Entertainment, the leading name in live recordings.  For fans of this recording, there is plenty to appreciate beginning with the concert’s set list.  That will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance of said set list is just as important to note here as the show’s set list.  It will be discussed later.  The concert’s packaging might not seem all that important in the grand scheme of things, but even it plays an important part in its presentation. It is hardly the last element that can be noted, too.  The concert’s cinematography and combined video and sound mixing can also be discussed, too, as could the band’s simplistic stage setup.  Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  That goes without saying.  All things considered, The Boys of Zummer Tour: Live in Chicago proves to be, again, a recording that will appeal to any of Fall Out Boy’s fans.

Fall Out Boy’s new live recording The Boys of Zummer Tour: Live in Chicago is a work that will appeal to any of the veteran pop punk band’s fans.  It is not the band’s first live recording by any means.  Regardless, it will appeal to said fans.  That is due in part to the concert’s set list.  The 17-song set list pulls from all six of the band’s current albums.  American Beauty/American Psycho receives the most nods with five songs.  The band’s 2013 album Save Rock and Roll comes in second with four of its songs featured in the show’s set list.  Infinity on High (2007) comes in third with three songs featured.  From Under A Cork Tree also sees three of its songs included in the set list while Folie a Deux is represented by two songs and Take This To Your Grave with one song.  Needless to say, the fact that the band pulled from each of its current albums makes this concert a career-spanning show for the band.  That being the case, it becomes clear why the concert’s set list is so important to its overall presentation.

The set list presented in Fall Out Boy’s latest live recording is in itself a key piece of the recording’s presentation.  The set list features songs from each of the band’s current albums.  That makes it for all intents and purposes a career-spanning performance, even with the band’s career being far from over.  While the show’s set list is clearly an important piece of its presentation, it is just one of the elements that should be noted in examining the concert’s presentation.  The band’s performance of the show’s set list is just as important to note in examining the recording’s overall presentation.  The band’s members—Pete Went (bass, vocals), Patrick Stump (guitar, vocals), Joseph Trohman (guitar, vocals) and Andrew Hurley (drums)—have full run of the massive stage.  While they do make use of its wide open space at times, it seems that they opt to use their energies for their performances rather than running around the stage.  Audiences will appreciate that attention to the performance.  That is because it shows through in each song.  The band gives its all in each song.  The end result is that it will pull in home viewers just as much as it did the concert’s attendees.  It should be noted that even in the concert’s semi-acoustic section the band spends plenty of time interacting with the audience between songs in a sort of Storytellers (for anyone who remembers that VH1 program) setting.  It serves to strengthen the band’s connection with audiences even more.  That includes audiences at home, too.  The solid connection that is made between Fall Out Boy’s band members and the band’s audiences translates very well to audiences.  It makes the viewing experience all the more enjoyable for the band’s fans at home, and is still not the last of the recording’s key elements.  The concert’s packaging is just as important to note as its set list and the band’s performance thereof.

The career-spanning set list presented in Fall Out Boy’s new live recording and the band’s performance thereof are both key the this recording’s overall presentation.  They are not its only important elements.  The recording’s packaging is an important piece of the recording’s overall presentation, too.  Much like so many of Eagle Rock Entertainment’s other live recordings released this year, this recording has been released in a standard package that will allow it to fit on any fan’s CD rack.  That is even with the recording being presented on separate DVD and Blu-ray platform.  This is important to note because of its ergonomic value.  The concert being packaged in a standard CD packaging—despite being presented on DVD and Blu-ray—saves space on fans’ DVD and BD racks.  Being a very thin package, it also saves space on CD racks, too.  So that end, the recording’s packaging may not seem important on the surface, but ultimately proves to be just as important as the recording’s set list and the band’s performance thereof.  It is just important in a different way.  Interestingly enough, it still is not the last of the recording’s key elements.  The concert’s video and sound mix (its production values) and the band’s simple stage setup could also be discussed in examining this recording’s overall presentation.  Each element is clearly important in its own right.  All things considered, they show in whole why The Boys Of Zummer Tour: Live in Chicago is a recording that any of Fall Out Boy’s fans will appreciate.

Fall Out Boy’s latest live recording The Boys of Zummer Tour: Live in Chicago is a recording that any Fall Out Boy fan will appreciate.  Fans will appreciate this recording for a number of reasons beginning with the concert’s set list.  The set list features songs from each of the band’s current albums.  While the band’s career is likely far from over, this approach still technically makes the set list a career-spanning set.  The band’s performance is just as important to note as the concert’s set list.  That is due to the fact that the band’s members don’t run around the stage unnecessarily.  Rather, they use their performances of the show’s set list to entertain audiences.  That attention to its performance of each song improves the band members’ endurance and thus enhances each song’s performance even more.  Those enhanced performances in turn make the band’s performance that much more engaging for fans.  The recording’s packaging, production values and the band’s simple stage setup combine to round out the recording’s most important elements. Each element is obviously important in its own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  All things considered, they show why The Boys of Zummer Tour: Live in Chicago is, once more, a recording that any Fall Out Boy fan will appreciate.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this recording is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://falloutboy.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/falloutboy




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Santana Shines Again In Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The weather outside is definitely looking frightful this time of year.  That means rather than going outside to get out and about, people are going to be looking more for ways to have fun while they stay indoors and stay warm.  That is just one of so many reasons that record labels churn out so many live recordings each year.  The problem with all of those recordings is that while some are truly standout offerings, others are otherwise forgettable space fillers used to fulfill contractual obligations for the given acts.  Presented today are some of the best of this year’s new live recordings.

Whereas Phil’s Picks already presented the year’s top new live CD recordings, this time Phil’s Picks is presenting the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  A lot of thought and consideration went into this list.  The concerts’ set lists, the bands’ performances, the cinematography and audio mix all went into consideration for this list as did the recordings’ companion booklets or lack thereof.  So it goes without saying that it wasn’t an easy list to assemble.  But this critic tried.
As always, the list presented here includes not just this critic’s list of the year’s top new live DVDs and BDs but five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 recordings.  Without any further ado, here for you, is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs.
1. SantanaSantana IV Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas
2. KISSKISS Rocks Vegas
3. Joe BonamassaLive at the Greek Theatre
4. Judas PriestBattle Cry
5. Motley CrueThe End Live in Los Angeles
6. The Rolling StonesHavana Moon
7. Deep PurpleLive at the NEC
8. Melody GardotLive in Paris
9. Gregory PorterLive in Berlin
10. ScorpionsLive in Munich
11. Alan JacksonLive at Red Rocks
12. Michael Schenker’s Temple of RockRock on a MissionLive in Madrid
13. SaxonFeel Your Power
14. Imagine DragonsSmoke + Mirrors Live
15. Fall Out BoyThe Boys of Zummer TourLive in Chicago
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Eagle Rock Entertainment To Release New Fall Out Boy Live Recording

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Fall Out Boy has a new live recording on the way next month, and it will be released exclusive by Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The Boys Of Zummer Tour: Live In Chicago will be released Friday, October 21st in stores and online. It will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital platforms.

The performance presented in this recording was held during the band’s most recent tour, which spanned 39 cities across North America.  The concert’s set list features 17 songs from the band’s catalogue including: ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down,’ ‘Dance, Dance,’ ‘This Ain’t A Scene,’ ‘Thnks Fr The Mmrs’ and ‘My Songs Know What You Did in The Dark (Light ‘Em Up)’ among a handful of the band’s other popular songs.  Those other songs include recent Fall Out Boy hits ‘Centuries,’ ‘Uma Thurman’ and ‘Irresistable.’

As a special added bonus to the recording,  rap star Whiz Kalifa joins the band in its performance of ‘Uma Thurman,’ just one of the songs included in Fall Out Boy’s latest album American Beauty/American Psycho.

Fans can pre-order Boys Of Zummer Tour: Live in Chicago now both on DVD and Blu-ray.

The complete set list for The Boys Of Zummer Tour: Live in Chicago is noted below.

1.     Sugar, We’re Goin Down
2.     Irresistible
3.     The Phoenix
4.     A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”
5.     Thriller
6.     Alone Together
7.     This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race
8.     Immortals
9.     Young Volcanoes
10.  Dance, Dance
11.  American Beauty / American Psycho
12.  Uma Thurman
13.  Thnks Fr Th Mmrs
14.  I Don’t Care
15.  Centuries
16.  My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)
17.  Saturday

DVD & BD formats include these bonus promo videos:
1.     Centuries
2.     Irresistible
3.     Uma Thurman
Audiences can check out a teaser for the new recording online now here.
More information on The Boys Of Zummer Tour: Live in Chicago is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:
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The Magic Show Act II Proves To Be Just The Beginning For The Members Of We Are The Finale

Courtesy: Houndstooth productions

Courtesy: Houndstooth productions

Typically when people think about Nashville, Tennessee, the first thing that comes to mind is country music.  Nashville is the home of country music.  Its Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry are shrines to the legends of country music for all intents and purposes.  So the thought that a rock band–a punk band no less–would rise among the country ranks and make a name for itself among that mass of counrty acts no less comes as something of a surprise. But when audiences hear the new EP The Magic Show Act II: The Turn from We Are The Finale, they will agree that this Nashville, TN-based band is set to finally start turning the tide in Music  City, USA and help make the city known for being more than just the capital of country music.  The Magic Show Act II: The Turn totals only five songs and sixteen minutes.  Throughout the course of the EP’s technically four full-length songs–the EP’s opener only runs fifty-one seconds and isn’t technically a song–front man Daniel John Schafer and band mates Bradley Gwinn, Brandon Keysey, Freddy March, and Ronnie Mills show quite a bit of diversity and talent.  They take listeners on a ride through some of rock’s sub genres throughout the record from the pop punk style of the EP’s first full track ‘Well Enough Alone’ to a semi-post hardcore sound in ‘…And Scene’ and an almost seemingly 80s influenced sound on the EP’s closer ‘The Honeymoon Phase.’  It’s tough especially in the indie rock world to find a record that crosses so many sounds within the course of its songs (Whether it be an LP or EP). But the members of We Are The Finale have done just that here.  Keeping that in mind, it helps to make this EP one that is deserving of at least one listen by audiences.

The members of We Are The Finale have crafted a record in its new EP The Magic Show At II: The Turn that is well worth at least one listen.  The reason being that through the course of the EP’s four full-length songs, the band refuses to stick to just one of rock’s various sub genres.  it switches things up from one song to the next, thus keeping audiences engaged from start to finish.  The record’s lead song ‘Well Enough Alone’ is proof of that.  The song’s slower, almost bluesy sound instantly hints at an influence from the likes of Set It Off.  Front man Daniel John Schafer’s lyrics add a certain depth to that musical side, too. He hits on a topic that quite a few men have dealth with in life in the form of a woman that causes a man no end of problems inside.  He sings, “Your eyes are telling lies/That your mouth is trying to hide/So now I gotta decide if it’s worth it/To keep this dragging on.”  Schafer writes in the song about how his subject is going crazy over the female in question, writing, “Girl, you got me faded (Whoa, I’m so smooth girl)/And now the groudn is shaking (Let me move you)/Now I feel like I’m six feet deep (You shouldn’ve known, too)/And the top of my headstone reads Leave well enough alone.”  In other words, the woman in question is killing his subject, metaphorically speaking of course.  What man hasn’t been in this situation at least once in life?  And while the song’s subject is obviously male, one could argue and flip it to have a female as the lead subject singing about a guy driving her crazy as that does happen, too.  That interchangability and the song’s musical side colletively make ‘Well Enough Alone’ a fitting opener for the band on its new record.

‘Well Enough Alone’ is a good first impression from We Are The Finale on its new EP.  This is especially the case for those that might not be so familiar with the band’s music.  That’s thanks to its mix of relatable lyrical content and equally interesting musical side.  Audiences that pick up the band’s EP will note that as enjoyable as this song proves to be, the band doesn’t resteasy on its laurels.  Rather it switches things up from here as is evidenced in the semi-post hardcore sound of ‘…And Scene.’  The song opens with the sound of an old film reel setting the stage for what is to come much like was done with old movies.  It is a fitting addition to this song, considering the song’s lyrical content.  Shafer sings in the song’s chorus, “All you ever wanted was to bust out on the scene/But I won’t let the scene change me/And all you ever wanted was a reason to feel this way/So now I’ll stay away/Away from you for a while.”  Before this, he sings, “My face fills with blood/Your face is so smug/So now I’ll take some steps away/This life you sell/It can’t be real.”   The song seems to come across as highliting the frustration felt by someone that has to deal with one of those overly annoying people who lives solely to bring others down one way or another.  Hopefully that interpretation is right as it is just the interpretation of this critic.  The song’s second verse strengthens the argument for this interpretation as Shafer sings, “I’ve heard these lies before/Back when I was young/And I am moving on my way/Now that I’m older I see all the things that I want/And I’m ready to plead my case.”  Again, Schafer comes across as targeting the people that would say whatever they want to others, knowing others would believe them and in turn allow themselves to be torn down emotionally.  It will be interesting to find out whether or not this interpretation is correct. Hopefully it is correct.  Regardless, the very fact that it could generate such discussion and thought by itself makes it well worth hearing.  The balance of Schafer’s clean vocals and his screams set against the song’s guitars and drums adds even more depth to the song, proving again what makes ‘…And Scene’ another part of a whole that any indie punk and rock fan will enjoy.

We Are The Finale shows throughout the course of both ‘Well Enough Alone’ and ‘…And Scene’ its musical versatility and its lyrical versatility, too.  The band exhibits just as much musical versatility in ‘The Honeymoon Phase’ which closes the EP.  The band’s use of keyboards throughout the song and the rather bombastic guitar solo incorporated into the song’s bridge adds its own share of depth to the song.  They collectively show something of an 80s influence.  There’s also a bit of a Fall Out Boy influence here, too.  Such a juxtaposition of sounds shows even more than ever the versatility of the band’s abilities and influences.  That versatility by itself makes the song one more good example of what makes The Magic Show Act II: The Turn well worth the listen.  The song’s lyrical side gives it even more depth as Schafer sings, “I’ll rip the ties that bind me to your walls/And I will grab hold of everything and try/To stay on my feet while you’re chasing afer me/Because this war torn heart can’t beat anymore/And I’ve lost my want to pick you off the floor/So stay on your knees and stop chasing after me.”  He goes on to sing of his subject taking the chance to tell a significant other that he/she loves someone in particular.  Yet in the song’s end, he sings, “Now we’ll stay forever broken-hearted/And destined to feel this way.”  It’s almost as if he is saying in regards to his subject that said subject will take the chance to express his/her love for a certain person even though it may be too late and regardless of not getting that chance again.  It’s something of a bittersweet song, when considered from this lyrical angle.  The song’s musical side complements that bittersweet feel, too. the two elements together make for a song that is just as solid as the EP’s opener.  It will leave audiences wanting more in the best possible way.  Audiences will get to hear more as the band has a pair of live dates currently scheduled.

Audiences can hear more from We Are The Finale live now as the band currently has a pair of live dates confirmed.  The band is scheduled to peform a live home town show tomrrow at Rocketown.  It is also schedule to perform at Exit/In in Nashville, TN on January 17th.  Audiences can purchase tickets for both shows online now and get the latest news from the band at http://www.facebook.com/WeAreTheFinaleband. Audiences can also keep up with all of the latest from the band online via Twitter at http://twitter.com/wearethefinale.  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.

Set It Off’s “Duality” Is A Solid Sophomore Effort

Courtesy:  Equal Vision Records

Courtesy: Equal Vision Records

Set It Off releases its brand new full-length studio effort Duality today.  The album, the band’s second full-length release and fifth overall release is an impressive new work. That is because it does so much to continue establishing the band’s identity, separating it even more from other bands to whom it had been compared early on in its existence.  While the band exhibits quite a bit of growth on this album, it also hasn’t lost the sound that made it so popular early on among its fan base.  That makes Dualityeven more of a solid new recording from Set It Off.  The combination of the band’s musical growth is evident in the album’s lead single ‘Why Worry.’  The band’s harder edged sound is present in this song.  But there is also a poppier sound mixed into the whole.  That balance of sounds alongside the song’s thought provoking lyrics makes clear why this song was chosen as the album’s lead.  Staying on a similar page, audiences will also enjoy ‘Tomorrow.’  Its Jimmy Eat World style sound crosses with its equally optimistic lyrics to make this song just as much of a surefire hit with listeners.  On the completely opposite side of things, the lyrically searing ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ is sure to ignite just as much of a fire in listeners because of its intensity both musically and lyrically.  These songs are just a few that exhibit what makes Dualitya solid second full-length release from Set It Off.  The album’s other eight tracks are sure to become favorites to listeners in their own right, too.  Collectively, all eleven tracks on Duality prove just why audiences will want to check out this latest release from Set It Off regardless of their familiarity with the band and its sound.

Duality is a record that every lover of rock should hear regardless of their familiarity with the band and its sound.  ‘Why Worry,’ the album’s lead single, takes the sound that made the band a fan favorite early on and mixes it with a somewhat more poppy, Fall Out Boy style sound in its chorus to make a song that proves to be quite catchy musically speaking.  The song’s positive lyrics make this piece even more enjoyable.  Front man Cody Carson sings in the song’s opening verse, “This sinking feeling sets/It feels just like a hole inside your chest/I know you’re thinking No, no, no, no it is easier said than done/But please let me attest/I know it’s hard/You’re feeling like you’re trapped/But that’s how you react/When you cannot see the light/But try and see the light/I’m telling you no, no, no, no you’re the only one/Standing in your way/Just take a breath/Relax/And tell me….Why/Please tell me why do we worry.”  The song comes across as addressing those individuals that think to themselves “Oh woe is me.” Carson says to those people in an attempt to motivate them, “You’re the only one/Standing in your way.”  The song’s second verse in which Carson sings about handling each day’s difficulties as they come rather than trying to cross bridges that don’t yet exist.  It proves to be quite the enlightening work and uplifting at the same time.  The addition of the song’s catchy hooks and choruses make it even more enjoyable and clearer why it was chosen as the album’s lead single.  Thanks to a partnership with Fuse TV, audiences can check out the song’s brand new companion video online at http://www.fuse.tv/videos/2014/10/set-it-off-why-worry-premiere. 

‘Why Worry’ was an excellent first choice to represent what Duality has to offer audiences.  Its combination of catchy hooks and choruses alongside its positive lyrics will both move listeners and get them moving.  Much in the same vein, ‘Tomorrow’ offers its own enjoyment and positivity.  Intended or not, this song exhibits something of a Jimmy Eat World style sound in its musical side.  Lyrically, it is just as uplifting as ‘Why Worry.’  Carson sings in this song, “They’re gonna try to clip your wings/Lock you up and make you sing/But they’ll never cage your dreams/So fly away/Cause we’ve got tomorrow/We’re the pages in the wind/We’ve got tomorrow/We’re the tale that lies within/There’s always another day/Another night/A bittersweet blessing in disguise/Tomorrow/We’re the authors of our lives tomorrow.”  Carson’s note that there’s always another “bittersweet blessing in disguise” is such a short statement.  But it speaks volumes.  He is saying that even things that seem bad could be blessings in disguise. And those hidden blessings are what make tomorrow better than today.  It is truly a positive message.  It is a message from which audiences of all ages can take some heart and hope.  That positive message set against the song’s catchy musical side makes it another of the best of this record’s moments.

The positive messages and catchy music that make up ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Why Worry’ make these songs two of the brightest moments on Duality.  On the completely opposite side of things, the lyrically searing ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ is certain to get any listener’s adrenaline flowing.  The song’s title and its lyrics leave zero doubt as to what the song’s topic.  It is a full-on lyrical assault on those that would attempt to lie and deceive others.  Those people include those people that call themselves friends but are so fast to stab people in the back among others.  Cody makes this painfully clear as he sings right off the top of the song, “Beware, beware be skeptical/Of their smiles/Their smiles of plated gold/Deceit so natural/But a wolf in sheep’s clothing is more than a warning.”  He goes on to sarcastically use nursery rhymes to illustrate his point.  That use of children’s nursery rhymes as a juxtaposition of children’s mentality to that of older individuals adds even more punch to the song.  And Carson’s diatribe that builds into the song possesses enough vitriol to make Eminem proud.  Though in his defense, who wouldn’t want to scream “Burn in Hell!” to those that have deceived us for one reason or another?  It is a powerful finishing touch to what is one more of Duality’s best moments.    Together with the likes of ‘Why Worry’ and ‘Tomorrow,’ Set It Off has proven once again why it is one of the best in the next generation of its genre.

‘Why Worry,’ ‘Tomorrow,’ and ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ are each excellent examples of what makes Duality a solid sophomore effort from Set It Off.  They aren’t the only positives to this album in whole, though.  The album’s gentle closer ‘Miss Mysterious’ is the polar opposite of the album’s opener ‘The Haunting.’  ‘Bleak December’ also offers its own value to the whole as does ‘N.M.E.’  All things considered, Duality is proof that Set It Off has just started and the future looks bright for this u-and-coming band.  The band will hit the road in support of Duality beginning tomorrow, October 15th in Orlando, Florida on the “Black Mass 2014” tour presented by Hot Topic.  Also along for the ride will be Black Veil Brides, Falling in Reverse, and Drama Club.  The tour brings all four bands to North Carolina next month.  It will make a stop at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 5th.  Tickets for the concert can be ordered online via Ticketmaster.  Set It Off’s complete tour schedule is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.setitoffband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/setitoff

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/setitoff

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.

Steve Aoki Releases Details Of New Album, Single, Tour

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR

Famed producer and DJ Steve Aoki announced this week that he will release a new album this Summer.

Aoki will release Neon Future I on Tuesday, August 12th via Dim Mak/Ultra Music. The double-disc album is the first in a pair of albums that will culminate in early 2015 with the release of Neon Future II. Aoki leads off Neon Future I with the lead single ‘Rage The Night Away,’ which features rapper Wocka Flocka Flame. Audiences can hear the single now online at http://www.soundcloud.com/steveaoki. Aoki explained the concept behind his upcoming album in a recent interview, noting that he views the future of society as being utopian through proper use of technology, music and color. He went on to explain that it was that view that served as the basis for the album’s sound. “When I think of the dance world, I think of how it’s a colorful world. That, along with my fascination with futurism defined the concept of my new album, Neon Future,” he said. “I see the future in a more of a utopian sense, built through technology, music and color. These concepts became the driving force for the creation of my first double album.”

Aoki’s collaboration with rapper Wocka Flocka Flame on the album’s lead single ‘Rage The Night Away,’ which is available now, is not the only collaboration on the album. He also worked with: Fall Out Boy, Empire of the Sun, will.i.am, Flux Pavilion, Bonnie Mckee, and Machine Gun Kelly.

The release of Neon Future I will be celebrated with a headlining performance at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday, August 16th. From there, Aoki will hit the road for a select handful of dates across the country. His performance at Madison Square Garden will feature a number of special guests and much more. Audiences can check out a trailer now for the performance online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b4WZtfkFZQ&feature=youtu.be. Tickets for the concert go on sale at 12pm ET on May 9th. They can be purchased online via Steve Aoki’s website, http://www.steveaoki.com.

Along with the announcement of his upcoming album and headlining show, Steve Aoki also has announced this week that he and Bud Light Platinum have come to terms on a one-year partnership. The company’s first thirty second TV spot featuring Aoki will air next week. He will be featured in the company’s “Turn up your night” campaign, which is aimed primarily at fans of electronica and dance music in general. In discussing the new partnership, Rob McCarthy, VP of Bud Light brands at Anheuser-Busch told reporters, “The brand looks forward to expanding its range of content through its partnership with Aoki and continuing to build its credibility as the drink of choice for EDM and nightlife lovers.” Aoki shared McCarthy’s sentiment, releasing a statement saying, “I’m always looking for new ways to take things to the next level…so when Bud Light Platinum came to me with the Turn up the Night campaign, it seemed like the perfect fit.”

More information on Neon Future I, Neon Future II, Steve Aoki’s upcoming live performance at Madison Square Garden, future tour dates and more is available online at http://www.steveaoki.com, http://ww.facebook.com/Steve.Aoki, http://twitter.com/steveaoki, and http://dimmakrecs.com. More information on Bud Light Platinum is available online at http://www.BudLightPlatinum.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.