The musical arrangement featured in ‘Deeper in the Shallow’ is a heavy, fuzzed, guitar-driven composition. The sound of that guitar arrangement, works with the thick rhythm section and vocals to give the song a sort of post-hardcore style sound.
The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement touches on a heavy topic, according to front man Justin Tamminga.
“(The song) was written roughly 14 or 15 years ago. (It’s) sort of a letter to my sister, who had just moved to the town I was living in and was starting to hang out with people in the “scene.” We grew up in an abusive household and a lot of these people’s actions mirrored those of my mom and stepdad. When you grow up in a traumatic environment, it tends to hinder your ability to see abusive behavior because you’re used to being treated poorly and not having your boundaries respected. This is also why we came up with the band name Assertion. So the song is a mixture of our background mixed with the current time and place we were living. I went on to play this song in a band called Hands Of Toil, until [band founder] William [Goldsmith] heard it and wanted to play it. William, [bassist] Bryan [Gorder] and I reinvented it, dropped the tuning and added a bit more dynamics.”
The track listing for Intermission is noted below.
Independent indie/college rock band Space Cadet debuted its latest single this week along with its companion video.
The band debuted its new single ‘Start Running Away‘ and its video Friday. The song is the third single from the band’s forthcoming album Lion on a Leash, which is scheduled for release March 26 through Wiretap Records. The pair’s debut follows that of the album’s second single, ‘Bad Luck‘ and its companion video, and that of the album’s lead single ‘Forever For a While‘ and its companion video.
The musical arrangement featured in Space Cadet’s new single is a unique post-punk style composition. The light guitar approach, airy vocals, and steady time keeping, it actually lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of Foo Fighters. Bad Religion guitarist Brian Baker makes a guest appearance on the song.
Baker is just one of the guests who appear in Lion on a Leash. The album also features guest appearances by Mike Sneeringer (The Loved Ones), Matt Olsson (Dave Hause, Frank Iero, Brian Fallon), and Chris Gonzalez (The Explosion/The Loved Ones).
No information was provided in the press release announcing the debut of the new single and its video. However, from what can be interpreted, it would seem that the song’s lyrical content hints at a message of making the most of life possible.
The video that accompanies the song is its own unique presentation. It features various images, such as ballet dancers rehearsing a routine, flowers blooming, and ice crystals forming as the song plays over the noted imagery.
Foo Fighters officially returned Friday with its first new album in more than three years in the form of Medicine at Midnight. While the wait for the band’s new nine-song record was a little long, it was a wait that ultimately has proven worth it. That is because what the band has offered audiences in this 36-minute album is a presentation that exhibits a band that was not afraid of taking a risk, musically speaking. The content is familiar at points, but also shows growth from the band. The lyrical content generates its own interest and will lead to plenty of discussion among listeners, too. ‘Waiting on a War,’ one of the album’s early singles serves well to support the noted statements. It will be discussed shortly. Much the same can be said of ‘No Son of Mine,’ which comes late in the album’s run. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Chasing Birds’ is yet another way in which Medicine at Midnight shows how much it has to offer audiences. It will also be discussed later. When it is considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album becomes a work that while maybe not Foo Fighters’ best album, is still an enjoyable addition to the band’s catalog.
Foo Fighters’ latest album – its 10th – Medicine at Midnight is another record that the band’s established audiences and more casual fans alike will find enjoyable. That is proven throughout the album through its musical and lyrical content. ‘Waiting on a War,’ one of the album’s early singles, is one way in which this is proven. While many audiences have lambasted the song, it is in fact quite an interesting work. Front man Dave Grohl explained in a press release, that the song was spawned after having had a conversation with his daughter about her concerns about the possibility of the United States going to war with another nation. Considering that his daughter was 11 years-old at the time, it would explain why the song’s musical arrangement starts out in such soft fashion. Maybe that softer start is meant to echo his daughter’s innocence and maybe the emotion felt by father and daughter alike during the conversation. As the song progresses, the energy picks up, becoming more intense. That could represent Grohl’s growing tension as he thought about the discussion during the day. It would make sense.
Keeping in mind that the song stemmed from a discussion between Grohl and his daughter, the lyrical content does well in its own right here to reflect the conversation. The song opens, stating, “I’ve been waiting on a war since I was young/Since I was a little boy with a toy gun/Never really wanted to be number one/Just wanted to love someone.” The contemplation continues in the song’s chorus, which finds Grohl asking, “Is there more to this than that?/More to this than just waiting on a war?” This overall opening statement is powerful in its own right. As Grohl noted in his noted press release, he grew up during the latter days of the Cold War during the 1980s. That was a period of great tensions between the U.S. and Russia. So it would make sense that he notes here, the issue of “waiting on a war/Since I was a little boy with a toy gun.” The question that follows in the chorus echoes Grohl’s statement of feelings of frustration at everything that went on during his own childhood and how that of his daughter. That frustration is presented just as much in the song’s second verse, which once again returns to his childhood, stating, “Every day/Waiting for the sky to fall/Big crash on a world that’s so small/Just a boy with nowhere left to go/Fell in love with a voice on the radio.” He continues in the song’s post-chorus, “Just waiting on a war for this and that/There’s got to be more to this than that…Is there more to this than just waiting on a war?” This overall statement is hardly the first time that any musical act has taken on the misery of war and even the fear of war. However, it is just as powerful in the case of this song as in any of the song’s counterparts and predecessors. The whole of this lyrical and musical content is certain to echo with listeners, in turn proving by itself why the album offers much to appreciate. For all that it does to show what Medicine at Midnight has to offer audiences, “Waiting on a War’ is just one of the album’s standout tracks. ‘No Son of Mine’ is another example of what the album has to offer.
‘No Son of Mine’ is a direct contrast to ‘Waiting on a War’ at least in terms of its musical arrangement. Where ‘Waiting on a War’ was a controlled musical composition, this song’s arrangement is a more fiery work right off the bat. Its sound actually echoes hints of Motorhead to a point in the verses, while the chorus sections oddly sound somewhat like Golden Earring’s ‘Radar Love.’ Yes, it sounds like one heck of a joining of influences, but the whole somehow works and makes the song memorable in its own right. The energy exuded through the song’s up-tempo musical arrangement partners well with the statement made through its lyrical accompaniment.
Grohl pointed out during an interview that the song’s lyrical content is meant to present a socio-political commentary. He said of the song, “This is the kind of song that resides in all of us, and it makes sense at the time, we let it out…Lyrically it’s meant to poke at the hypocrisy of self-righteous leaders, people that are guilty of committing the crimes they’re supposedly against.” It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle on takes, politicians on both sides fit into this statement. The statement in question is reinforced right from the song’s outset in its lead verse, which states, “No son of mine will ever do/The work of villains/The will of fools/If you believe it/It must be true/No son of mine.” It is as if this is one of those hypocritical elected officials screaming to the treetops in front of the masses, convincing them that they are so pure and perfect. Those officials continue crowing, “No son of mine will ever need/to beg forgiveness/No wicked deed/Head full of evil/Heart full of greed/No son of mine” There is so much overt piousness in this overall statement, it makes so clear the hypocrisy that the song is attempting to convey from those elected officials. The self-righteousness of those individuals is made just as clear in the song’s third and fourth (yes, fourth) verses, so there is no need to continue on from here. The song’s chorus puts the period to the statement as it reads, “Here we are/The living dead/Han to God/With one foot in the grave/Age of lost innocence/Don’t forget what your good book says.” In other words here are those officials carrying on as they do so often, about religious views while not really walking the walk. Between this final accent and everything noted in the song’s verses, what audiences get here is a damning indictment of this nation’s elected officials. Again, it does not matter whether one is Republican or Democrat. The reality is that these statements apply to elected officials on both sides of the aisle. Paired with the fiery energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole becomes a work that is certain to show in its own way, the power of the song overall. It is still not the last of the album’s most notable works. ‘Chasing Birds’ is yet another way in which Medicine at Midnight shows its strength.
‘Chasing Birds’ is Medicine at Midnight’s penultimate entry. This song’s musical arrangement is quite the laid back composition. It is so relaxed that one might thing this song is meant to be a positive work, but in reality, its lyrical content shows that it is in fact rather melancholy.
The melancholy nature in the song’s lyrical content comes right off the top in the song’s lead verse, which finds Grohl singing, “Chasing birds to get high/My head is in the clouds/Chasing birds to get by/I’m never coming down/My heart is six feet underground.” That last couple of lines juxtaposing where the subject’s mind and heart reside is almost like a statement about someone trying so hard to escape some very negative feelings even though they clearly are there. That seeming inner turmoil is made even clearer in the song’s chorus, which states, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions/Dark inventions of mine/The road to hell is paved with broken parts/Bleeding hearts like mine.” Yet again, here, audiences are presented with a continued commentary about someone dealing with some heavy emotions. The song’s second verse puts the final accent to the commentary, stating, “Chasing birds through the sky/And deep into the black/Chasing birds/Say goodbye/I’m never coming back/Here comes anther heart attack.” This is a powerful statement that will certainly hit listeners hard. Overall, the song’s lyrical approach is something rarely if ever tackled by Foo Fighters in any of its existing songs. Keeping that in mind along with the way in which the topic was handled – including the role of the song’s musical arrangement alongside its lyrical content – the song in whole becomes another clear example of what makes Foo Fighters’ new album worth hearing. When it and the other songs examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of that group makes the album overall while not the year’s best rock record, at least one of the year’s best.
Foo Fighters’ new album Medicine at Midnight is another worthwhile offering from the veteran rock band. That is proven throughout the record in its musical and lyrical content alike. Each of the songs examined here support the noted statements. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes Medicine at Midnight a dose of music that Foo Fighters fans and rock fans alike will welcome. Medicine at Midnight is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Foo Fighters’ latest news at:
The Go-Gos’ 2001 album God Bless The Go-Gos is getting its own re-issue.
The album, which was at the time its first together since 1984’s Talk Show, is scheduled for release May 14 on vinyl. The re-issue celebrates the 20th anniversary of that album’s release and on deluxe CD and digital platforms. The re-issue will feature new cover art, shown here, and the bonus tracks ‘I Think I Need Sleep’ and ‘King of Confusion.’ Pre-orders are open.
The re-issue’s track listing is noted below.
VINYL TRACK LISTING:
SIDE 1 1. La La Land 2. Unforgiven 3. Apology 4. Stuck In My Car 5. Vision Of Nowness 6. Here You Are 7. Automatic Rainy Day
SIDE 2 1. Kissing Asphalt 2. Insincere 3. Sonic Superslide 4. Throw Me A Curve 5. Talking Myself Down 6. Daisy Chain
CD/DIGITAL TRACK LISTING 1. La La Land 2. Unforgiven 3 .Apology 4. Stuck In My Car 5. Vision Of Nowness 6. Here You Are 7. Automatic Rainy Day 8. Kissing Asphalt 9. Insincere 10. Sonic Superslide 11. Throw Me A Curve 12. Talking Myself Down 13. Daisy Chain 14. I Think I Need Sleep 15. King Of Confusion
God Bless The Go-Gos reached #57 on the Billboard Top 200 and has since reached #17 on the Top Internet Albums Chart. Paul Kolderie and Sean Slade (Radiohead, Hole) co-produced the album.
Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong made a guest appearance on the album’s track, ‘Unforgiven.’ Ram Jaffee (The Wallflowers, Foo Fighters) lent his talents to another of the album’s tracks, ‘Here You Are.’ ‘Daisy Chain’ featured a guest appearance by Roger Manning (Jellyfish, Imperial Drag, The Moog Cookbook).
In other news, The Go-Gos’ documentary — simply titled The Go-Gos — was released through digital and rental services Friday through Eagle Vision and Mercury Studios. Its physical release is scheduled for Feb. 26 through Polygram/UMe on DVD/Blu-ray combo pack.
The documentary, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, presents the history of the all-female band from its roots in the Los Angeles punk scene to its meteoric rise to fame. The story features interviews with subjects, such as Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine, and Gina Schock to add to its depth.
As an added bonus, the documentary follows the band as it writes its female empowerment anthem ‘Club Zero,’ its first new song in almost 20 years. The song hit the Top 10 on Billboard’s Rock Digital Sales Chart.
In more news, The Go-Gos are scheduled to launch a series of live dates starting June 18 in San Francisco, CA, conditions pending due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour is scheduled to run just under a month long, ending on July 11 in Asbury Park, NJ. The tour’s tentative schedule is noted below.
Summer 2021 North American tour dates: Jun 18 The Masonic San Francisco, CA + Jun 23 Humphreys San Diego, CA + Jun 24 Humphreys San Diego, CA + Jun 27 Pechanga Resort Casino Temecula, CA + Jun 29 Orpheum Theater Los Angeles, CA + Jun 30 Orpheum Theater Los Angeles, CA + Jul 7 Theatre at Westbury Westbury, NY Jul 8 Parx Casino Bensalem, PA Jul 10 Foxwoods Resort Casino Mashantucket, CT Jul 11 Stone Pony Asbury Park, NJ +
More information on The Go-Gos’ new re-issue, documentary, and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Greta Van Fleet is scheduled to be on television tonight.
The band is scheduled to perform its new single ‘My Way, Soon’ on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The song is the lead single from the band’s forthcoming album The Battle at Garden’s Gate, which is scheduled for release April 16 through Lava/Republic Records.
In anticipation of the album’s pending release, the band debuted its second single, ‘Age Of Machines‘ Dec. 3. The single’s premiere last week came less than two months after the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘My Way, Soon’ and its companion video.
The ‘My Way, Soon’ video’s production is most of note in that its production is meant to make the presentation look like something right from the 1960s and 70s, as if it was shot on an 8mm camera. The effect plays into the continued neo-classic sound that has defined the band since its rise to fame more than three years ago.
Speaking of musical content, the song’s musical arrangement helps the band expand away from the Led Zeppelin comparisons that audiences made early on. While the comparisons between front man Joshua Kiszka and Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant are unavoidable, the song’s overall sound is less comparable. The song’s arrangement is grounded in the pairing of its guitar and bass line, whose juxtaposition makes for its own memorable impact. The production even gives the drums a fuller, richer vintage sound than the tight, spit shined sound of so much modern music.
The result of the noted elements is that the song’s arrangement boasts its own unique neo-classic rock sound while also exhibiting the band’s growth as a unit.
The lyrical content featured in ‘My Way Soon’ came from a personal point, according to Kiszka.
“This song was inspired by what three years of touring did by opening so many doorways,” he said. “ This is my truth, how I feel about all of our travels, but I know it echoes the experiences and changes of perspectives for Jake, Sam, and Danny as well.”
Greg Kurstin (Adele, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney) produced The Battle at Garden’s Gate.
More information on Greta Van Fleet’s new singles and videos is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Greta Van Fleet’s next album will come in the new year.
The band announced it will release its new album The Battle at Garden’s Gate on April 16 through Lava/Republic Records. Pre-orders are open.
In anticipation of the album’s pending release, the band debuted its second single, ‘Age Of Machines‘ Thursday. The single’s premiere comes less than two months after the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘My Way, Soon’ and its companion video.
While ‘My Way, Soon’ continues the lend itself to comparison to Led Zeppelin, GVF’s latest single is a stark stylistic contrast to its existing body of work. The song’s arrangement sets a decidedly brooding atmosphere through the use of its guitars, bass, and heavy drums. Yes, front man Joshua Kiszka is still easily likened to Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant here, but that is the closes comparison that one can make.
The production that is used in the song gives the sound from the band in whole a certain echo effect. The guitar riffs throw back to the golden age of rock thanks to that production and their own approach. The drums and bass collectively sound so full, too, while the use of the choral vocal element adds its own touch to the song.
The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement touches on a familiar topic. According to information provided about the song, its lyrics center on “the influence of technology on modern life; the role conflict plays in the global sphere; the deceptive fulfillment of tangible riches; and philosophical questions about life, love and power.”
Kiszka addressed the song’s lyrical content, albeit indirectly, during a recent interview.
“There was a lot of self-evolution happening during the writing of this album that was prompted by experiences I had, experiences we all had, so a lot of contemplation occurred,” he said.
Kaje Jiszka expanded on Josh’s comments.
“It’s reflecting a lot of the world that we’ve seen, and I think that it’s reflecting a lot of personal truth. What Josh does very well with the lyrics is telling ancient tales with a contemporary application,” said Jake.
Drummer Danny Wagner built on his band mates’ comments with his own thoughts, discussing not just the band’s new single, but the group’s forthcoming album, too.
“We realized that while growing up, we had been shielded by many things, and we were unaware of a lot of things,” said Wagner. “And then we were thrown out into this huge world, and it was a bit of a culture shock at first. But as we started to travel a lot, meet new and different people and experience different cultures, our definition of ‘normal’ changed.”
Bassist Sam Kiszka also shared his thoughts on the band’s new material.
“I suppose that everything has changed except what got us here in the first place,” added Sam. “Everything – our perception of the world, perception of life itself, what it means to be an artist, what it means to be part of a beautiful, gorgeous society. We’ve gained a larger understanding of why we’re all here.”
Greg Kurstin (Adele, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney) produced The Battle at Garden’s Gate.
More information on Greta Van Fleet’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Independent rock band Nehoda is scheduled to release its new album But Anyways… Friday. The nine-song record is an interesting presentation from the band. That is due to in part to its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The 39-minute album’s lyrical content also plays into its presentation. It will be discussed a little later. The sequencing of that collective content rounds out the album’s most important elements. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make But Anyways… a work that shows promise for Nehoda.
Nehoda’s forthcoming album But Anyways…is a presentation that is worth hearing at least once. That is proven in part through its musical arrangements. The arrangements in question are of interest because while they do an impressive job of exhibiting the band’s wide range of influences and talents. From the plodding, Animals-eque ‘Lies’ and ‘Devil’s Bitch’ to the more Bruce Springsteen style approach of ‘Please Don’t Go’ to the Pearl Jam-esque ‘Afterglow’ to the more grunge stoner vibe of ‘I Don’t Know,’ the album’s opener to the more alt-rock approach of ‘Shakey Pop,’ this record takes audiences in a variety of directions. On the surface, this is a good thing. That is because again, it shows the wide range of the band’s influences and talents. It shows that the band is not just some one-trick pony so to speak, which will appeal to plenty of listeners. This is just one aspect of the record that will appeal to listeners. The arrangements’ companion lyrical content works with that content to make for even more appeal.
The lyrical content that is featured throughout Nehoda’s new album is key to discuss because it is so simple and accessible for listeners. The album opens with a clear sociopolitical commentary that goes after a variety of institutions. Band namesake and founder Patrick Nehoda opens the song by addressing those who would attack anyone who might want to speak their minds as he writes, “Try to find your voice/It ain’t f****** correct/Try to make a choice/Cut you off at the neck.” That second line in the song’s lead verse comes across as a statement of how people are just as apt to attack one another for standing on one side of an issue or another. The short and simple here is that he is seemingly making a statement about how divided America has become. In the song’s second verse, Nehoda seems to address the government sending people off to war and the fact that when American forces go overseas, innocent people (including children) are killed. It is a lot of metaphorical language, but it would seem to make sense at least in this critic’s mind. This is inferred as Nehoda sings, “Governments killing babies/Children for hire/It’s no wonder the youth of the world/Want to set this place on fire.” That line about “children for hire” maybe hints at people as young as 18 (basically children) are hired by the military to go to war and “kill babies.” Again, this is all just this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as gospel. That aside, it certainly seems to be somewhere in that proverbial ballpark. Sociopolitical commentary is anything but new to the rock realm, but is no less impacting here as it is in those other instances. From here, things take a noticeable change, focusing more on the topic of relationships and inner struggles. Case in point are songs, such as ‘Devil’s Bitch,’ ‘Lies,’ and ‘Just Another Season.’ ‘Afterglow’ meanwhile takes a slightly different, more upbeat tone. ‘Shakey Pop’ does center on a personal relationship, but comes across more as a song whose story is more of a coming-of-age presentation than the standard work about relationships of any kind. Simply put, the lyrical themes featured throughout this record will connect with listeners just as much as its wide range of musical arrangements if not more so. Now keeping that in mind, it is still just one more of the elements that warrants examination. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
The sequencing of Nehoda’s new album is important to examine not so much just because of the songs’ energies, but rather the ability of this element to connect the album’s distinct musical styles. Case in point are the transitions between the record’s first three songs. The stoner rock opener that is ‘I Don’t Know’ dies off and fades out slow enough that when the equally slow, introspective ‘Lies’ opens up, the transition is fluid. The same can be said of the transition between that song and its follow-up, ‘Devil’s Bitch.’ Now while the transitions between the album’s first three songs are solid, that is also because the songs’ arrangements are so similar. From there, things change notably. ‘Shakey Pop,’ which immediately follows ‘Devil’s Bitch’ is more of a Foo Fighters type work in comparison to the gritty blues rock sound and approach of ‘Devil’s Bitch.’ Yet somehow the transition works even in this case. Maybe it is again the amount of time given between songs and the fashion in which the prior ends and the latter begins. The two are clearly different, but each has a certain heavy fuzz about them, giving at least some connection. The relaxed finale of ‘Shakey Pop’ is what makes its transition into the even more reserved ‘Walk Away’ work as well as it does. Much the same can be said of the transition between ‘Walk Away’ and the album’s title track. Interestingly enough, that song gradually builds to a very heavy arrangement. The heavy opening bar of the otherwise contemplative ‘Just Another Season’ is what makes the transition there work as well as it does. The record’s final two songs move just as fluidly as the rest of the album’s entries. The end result is a presentation that shows despite having so many distinct musical influences and styles throughout, those behind the glass put in a lot of time and thought to ensure this aesthetic aspect strengthened the album’s presentation just as much as its content. When it is considered along with the collective content, the whole of the album becomes even more worth hearing. As a matter of fact, they combine to make the album a presentation that in hearing, listeners will agree shows some promise for Nehoda.
Nehoda’s new album But Anyways… is a work that will leave audiences saying anything but But Anyways… Rather, it will keep them engaged and focused on its presentation throughout. That is proven through its diverse musical arrangements and its accessible lyrical content. When that content is joined with the album’s sequencing, the whole of the album proves itself a presentation that shows some promise for Nehoda’s future. But Anyways… is scheduled for release Friday. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Independent rock band Swim The Current will open the new year with a new recording.
The band will release its new EP Bright Lights in early 2020. The record’s official release date will be announced soon. In anticipation of the EP’s release, the band debuted the video for the record’s lead single ‘Red Desert‘ last month.
The video crosses footage of the band performing its new single with a young woman dealing with some obviously heavy emotions. The whole thing ends with a surprising ending.
Courtesy: TAG Publicity
The song’s musical arrangement lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Deftones and Foo Fighters. The song’s lyrical content matches its visuals. Guitarist Greg Antine talked about the song’s lyrical content in a recent interview.
“Red Desert’ is a song about relationships and their upward spin that sails the oceans of elated emotions,” he said. “Yet, the song also shows conversely those relationships that have gone south can be gut-wrenching; filled with emotional torture as they spiral down, and the effects surface; the cutting edge of pain. Relationships, both upward and downward, are matters of the heart and ‘Red Desert’ tells them very well. the highs and the lows all come out in the song.”
More information on ‘Red Desert’ is available online now along with all of the group’s latest news and more at:
Christmas has officially come and gone. So has Hanukkah. The presents have been opened and decorations likely have started being put away. Even despite that, Phil’s Picks still has some gifts of sorts for everyone out there in the form of some more year-ender lists. Considering that time is so tight, some of the lists, it turns out, might have to be ignored in favor of some others. One of the lists that definitely will not be ignored before the year lets out is that of the year’s top new rock records.
The titles included in this list are separate from the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums. Phil’s Picks has a list of those albums on the way. Before getting to that list though, the focus here will be on the year’s top new rock records. Topping the list of this year’s best new rock records from this critic is Deep Purple’s latest (and likely last) full-length studio recording InFinite. The album was just recently re-issued with the band’s latest live recording The inFinite Live Recordings Vol. 1 only months after the album’s original release. The record’s oftentimes blues-based rock arrangements show this band is at the top of its game, even as it seemingly winds down its life. The lyrical themes exhibited throughout the album are just as interesting as its musical arrangements. It is definitely a memorable recording that deserves every accolade.
Also on this critic’s list of the year’s top new rock albums is Foo Fighters’ latest effort Concrete and Gold. This record is more proof of the band’s willingness to try new things and grow on each album and the success that can and does come with that willingness to branch out, rather than churn out the same thing time and again. It’s just one more of the albums on the list this year. Also included in this year’s list are new albums from Scale The Summit, Prophets of Rage, John 5 & The Creatures and a number of others. As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 best new albums in its category plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums. Now with all of that having been said, presented here is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New Rock Albums.
PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS
Deep Purple — inFinite
Foo Fighters — Concrete & Gold
Prophets of Rage — Prophets of Rage
John 5 & The Creatures — Season of the Witch
Scale The Summit — In A World of Fear
KXM — Scatterbrain
Dishwalla — Juniper Road
Fozzy — Judas
Hell or Highwater — Vista
Gary Numan — Savage (Songs From A Broken World)
At The Wayside — The Breakdown and The Fall
Leprous — Malina
Royal Blood — How Did We Get So Dark?
Warrant — Louder, Faster, Harder
Horisont — About Time
That’s all for this list. It is not the last list, though. There are still lists for the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums, the year’s top new albums and select DVD/BD lists. As many lists as possible will be posted up from here on out, so stay tuned for all that and more.
A little more than a month ago, a little band by the name of Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights released its debut EP Give Up The Ghost. The five track record is the type of presentation that shows how easily today’s unsigned band could be tomorrow’s next big mainstream hit. It shows this through the diversity in its musical arrangements and the depth of its collective lyrical content. From the infectious southern rock riffs and happy-go-lucky lyrics of ‘Hollywood’ to the Foo Fighters-esque arrangement and equally playful lyrics of ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ to the Jimmy Eat World style arrangement and thoughtful lyrics of ‘Burn It Down’ and beyond, this record is a solid start for Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights. It is a record that leaves listeners hoping this band won’t give up the ghost any time soon.
Paul Johnson & The About Last Night’s debut EP Give Up The Ghost is a strong start for the Mississippi-based unsigned rock outfit. That is due to the solid mix of musical genres on which the band touches over the course of the record’s five-song, 18-minute run and its lyrical content. The record’s penultimate song ‘Hollywood’ is just one of the songs included in this record that supports that statement. The song’s guitar-driven musical arrangement is easily likened to arrangements composed by Black Stone Cherry, Buckcherry, The Black Crowes and other similar acts. Band namesake and vocalist Paul Johnson even conjures thoughts of Buckcherry front man Josh Todd (at least in this critic’s ears) through his vocal delivery here. When that is set alongside the amalgam of musical influences evident in the song’s arrangement, it makes the arrangement instantly infectious and certain to be a fan favorite.
The song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it notable. Its lyrical content, like its musical arrangement also conjures thoughts of the aforementioned acts and will put a smile on any listener’s face with its tribute to all of the things that make the south great. That tribute is evident as Johnson sings, “You know I like to see my toes in the sand/You couldn’t drag me away from Dixieland/Kinda got the feeling you won’t/Just take another breath/Don’t/Don’t take me to Hollywood/Keep me in the south where the weather is good/Southern girls doin’ like they should/Don’t take me/Don’t take me to Hollywood.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “I always see how they like to put us down/Don’t really care for the big town/Kinda got the feeling you won’t/Just take another breath/Don’t/Don’t take me to Hollywood.” Plain and simple, this is a tribute to the band’s home state and region, being that the band is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. That upbeat, playful tribute, when coupled with the song’s musical arrangement makes the song in whole one of the record’s best offerings if not its best. Collectively, they make this song a clear example of what makes Give Up The Ghost such a standout offering and solid start from Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights. It is only one of the songs that serves to support these statements. ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ is another song that shows why this record stands out.
‘Hollywood’ with its simple title, lyrical content and musical approach is a clear example of what makes Give Up The Ghost a solid first effort from Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights. It musical arrangement and lyrical alike are both so infectious thanks to their simplicity. As impressive as it is, it is only one of the songs included in this record that makes the EP stand out. ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ is another example of what makes this record worth hearing. As with ‘Hollywood,’ that is due in part to the song’s musical arrangement. The alignment of the song’s guitar and keyboards couples with Johnson’s vocal delivery to instantly conjure thoughts of Foo Fighters. Drummer Zach Lewis’ time keeping adds to that comparison even more. From start to finish, the song’s arrangement easily keeps listeners engaged. It is only one part of what makes the song so enjoyable. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.
Unlike the lyrical theme presented in ‘Hollywood,’ this song’s lyrical theme clearly centers on a woman. That is inferred easily in the song’s chorus in which Johnson and his band mates sing, “She’s in love/With a fast car/Burn out…./She’s a new American story…little worry. Deciphering the full extent of the words is difficult without lyrics to which one can refer. However, between this and other elements that can be deciphered, it becomes clear that Johnson and company are singing about a woman. That is especially certified in the song’s final moments as the band sings in unison, “She keeps my fantasies alive” All things considered it is clear that the band is paying tribute to a woman or a certain type of woman. It stands completely apart from the theme of ‘Hollywood’ and the rest of the record’s songs, and is just as upbeat as those other themes. Keeping that in mind, when this tribute is set alongside the song’s equally upbeat musical arrangement, the pairing makes the song in whole stand solidly on its own merits; merits that make the song yet another example of what makes the EP such a surprise. It is not the last of the songs that stands out on the record either. ‘Burn It Down’ is notable, too.
‘Hollywood’ and ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ both show in their own way that Give Up The Ghost is one of this year’s top new EPs. The songs’ musical arrangements and lyrical themes stand out from one another just as much as they do the record’s other featured songs. As much as they stand out, they are not its only key compositions. ‘Burn It Down’ is one more of the record’s key songs. As with the previously discussed songs, that is due in part to the song’s arrangement. This time around, listeners minds will go to Jimmy Eat World in listening to this arrangement right from the song’s outset. This critic easily could be wrong, but the song’s lyrical content seems like a coming-of-age story of sorts. That is inferred as Johnson sings in the song’s lead verse, “I dropped out of school to find my way/A dirty kid in football games/A loser on the street/Had a hunger for the underneath/A family divorced too much to bear/The misinformed will meet you there/Like the liars and the delphines/Is there nothing left for a kid to believe…the pain of knowing I may never feel better off than where I started.” The story continues in the song’s second verse and ends with a mention of a “21-gun salute to disobey” in the finale. The song’s chorus, in which the song’s subject seemingly looks back on the past in another way, adds even more depth to the song. When this is all considered along with the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song’s musical and lyrical content makes fully clear why this song stands out. Collectively, the depth of that musical and lyrical content—and its distinct identity separate from ‘Hollywood,’ ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ and the record’s other two songs—shows even more why the EP in whole stands out, too. When it is joined with all of the EP’s other offerings, the record in whole proves, once more, why it is one of this year’s top new EPs, an equally solid start for Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights, and a record that will leave listeners hoping the band won’t “give up the ghost” anytime soon.
Give Up The Ghost is a surprisingly impressive first effort from Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights. The record only spans five songs and 18-minutes, but in that run, the record exhibits great musical and lyrical diversity. From start to finish, each song presents its own identity, separate from its counterparts. From fun-loving to truly in-depth, the songs present a wide range of emotions in both music and lyrics. All things considered, the record proves to be one of the year’s best new EPs, and gives hope that the band won’t “give up the ghost” any time soon. More information on Give Up The Ghost is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at: