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:
All things must pass. This is such a short, simple statement yet it speaks volumes. That is why it was chosen as the title for MVD Visual’s new Tower Records documentary by the same name. The documentary follows the meteoric rise and fall of the once powerhouse music distributor and what led to that rise and fall. The story is, in itself a key element of the documentary’s overall presentation. It will be discussed shortly. The information that is presented is just as pivotal to the documentary’s presentation It will be discussed later. The pictures, footage, and interviews that are used to tell the story are important in their own right to the documentary’s presentation, too. All things considered, All Things Must Pass proves to be a documentary that any audiophile “Must” see at least once if not more.
All Things Must Pass is a music documentary that every audiophile “must” see at least once if not more. That is due in large part to the story at the center of the documentary. The story in question follows the meteoric rise and fall of Tower Records, a store that was once America’s (and the world’s) preeminent music store. Audiences will be just as enthralled by the story of the company’s unexpected rise to prominence as they will be by its eventual downfall. The story starts with founder Russ Solomon discussing how he bought his father’s drug store from him (his father) and turned it into a record store. From there, it follows the expansion of that store into another and then another before eventually becoming a worldwide phenomenon. It doesn’t end there, though. As is revealed in the story’s ninety-six minute run time, the company’s peak was also the point at which everything began to collapse. It is revealed that a combination of factors led to that collapse, beginning with the company’s outstanding debts and expenditures. The advent of music’s digital era through Napster added to the company’s problems. The interviewees stress here that this was just one of the elements that spelled the end for Tower Records. It was not the sole factor in the company’s downfall. That is something that is especially worth noting here. One might think, going into the documentary that this would be a major point in the story. But the surprise of the company’s other financial issues serves as a real surprise element in this story. It really serves as a reminder to anyone wanting to start up a business—as much as growth can seem so great, that growth must be handled responsibly. Solomon admits in one of his interview segments that in hindsight, he should have been more fiscally responsible. He says in the segment in question that had he been more responsible maybe the company might not have met its end. The loving recollections that he and the company’s former employees share of their time in the end put a touching accent on the story and might even leave some viewers slightly teary-eyed. Between all that has been noted here and everything else revealed in the story, it is clear why the story by itself is so important to the presentation of All Things Must Pass. The story at the center of this documentary is just one of its most important elements, too. The information that is revealed throughout the course of the program is just as important to note as its story.
The story at the center of All Things Must Pass is by itself an undeniably important element in the documentary’s presentation. That is because it is a powerful underdog story of sorts; a story of a man who dreamed big but sadly let those dreams get too big. There is no doubt as to the importance of the documentary’s central story, considering this. It is just one of the documentary’s most important elements, though. The information that is revealed throughout the story is just as important to the documentary’s presentation as its central story. Some of the information revealed in the story is funny. Some is insightful and other information downright surprising. One of the most interesting of the story’s funny revelations is the amount of drugs and alcohol openly consumed by the company’s employees in its infancy. There is even a picture of a receipt displayed during this revelation showing the store’s expenditures at one point. The receipt notes that the store spent more than $300 on cocaine (trucking fuel as it was called at the time) as an expenditure. One of the more interesting of the story’s insightful revelations is that Foo Fighters front man and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl actually worked at Tower Records at one point and Elton John shopped for his music there, too. Both men speak on these topics in their own interview segments. Even Bruce Springsteen is interviewed for the documentary. He discusses the positive reputation that Tower Records established early on in its life. Among the most surprising pieces of information revealed in the course of the documentary is what went on in the listening booths at some Tower Records stores. It is revealed by one interviewee that people made out in the listening booths and even alleges that people had sex in the listening booths, too. How and why that would happen in such a public place is anyone’s guess. But it is noted that allegedly both things happened. Somehow one wouldn’t disagree that any of it happened. The revelations noted here are just some of the most interesting tidbits of information revealed throughout the documentary. They are hardly the only interesting revelations made throughout the program. There are plenty of others that audiences will discover for themselves when they watch this program. When all of that information is joined with the documentary’s central story, it becomes even clearer why audiophiles and entrepreneurs alike must see this presentation.
The story at the center of All Things Must Pass and the information presented therein are both key elements to the documentary’s overall presentation. That is because they serve both by themselves and together to show why this is a “must” see music documentary. They are not the only elements worth noting in examining the documentary’s presentation. The pictures, footage, and interviews that are used to help tell the story are just as important to the documentary’s presentation as its story and the information shared through the story. The pictures collectively serve as a visualization for audiences. It takes viewers back to Tower Records’ infancy, showing just how little the store started with and how far it came. The footage and interviews work with the pictures to illustrate and progress that story even more. The interviews especially serve to help tell the story because of how frank the interviewees are in their shared memories. When one puts the footage, pictures and interviews together, they enrich the program’s presentation even more and ensure even more audiences’ maintained engagement. Audiences’ maintained engagement is even more assured when these elements are joined with the documentary’s central story and the information shared throughout the story. All things considered All Things Must Pass proves in the end to be a documentary that entrepreneurs and audiophiles alike must see at least once if not more.
All Things Must Pass is a documentary that entrepreneurs and audiophiles alike “must” see at least once if not more. That is because on one level it is a stirring underdog story of sorts. It tells the story of one man’s determination to make his dreams come true and provide a place for the community to come together. On another level it serves as a stark warning for any up-and-coming entrepreneur about fiscal responsibility. That is because ultimately it was fiscal irresponsibility that spelled the end for Tower Records. Given, the advent of digital music availability played a part in the company’s downfall, too. But as the story reveals, it was ultimately fiscal irresponsibility that led to the company’s downfall. That two-pronged story couples with the information shared throughout the story to make the documentary even more engaging. The footage, interviews and pictures that are used to help advance the story collectively serve as the final touch to the program. All things considered, All Things Must Pass proves in the long run to be a presentation that audiophiles and entrepreneurs alike must see. It is available now and can be ordered online direct via MVD Entertainment’s online store at http://mvdshop.com/products/all-things-must-pass-dvd. More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online at:
Shout! Factory will release a very special tribute to music legend Paul McCartney this spring.
Courtesy: Shout! Factory
A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, March 24th. The concert was originally recorded on February 10th, 2012. It was part of a celebration honoring McCartney as the MusiCares® Person of the Year. The concert featured a who’s who of the music industry including: Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Norah Jones, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Alison Kraus & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, James Taylor, Diana Krall, Duane Eddy, Sergio Mendes, and the cast of the Broadway play “Love.” McCartney himself even performed, pulling out hits such as ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ ‘Junior’s Farm, ‘My Valentine,’ and a medley of tunes that included renditions of ‘Golden Slumbers,’ ‘Carry That Weight,’ and ‘The End.’ McCartney was joined by Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh (The Eagles, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band). The concert’s set list totaled fifteen songs.
A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney will retail for MSRP of $16.98 on DVD and $21.98 on Blu-ray. It can be pre-ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s online store for reduced prices of $14.98 (DVD) and $17.98 (Blu-ray) respectively at https://www.shoutfactory.com/music/rock-pop/a-musicares-tribute-to-paul-mccartney. Proceeds from sales of the recording will go towards providing essential support for MusiCares®, which helps those in need.
Paul McCartney is an 18-time Grammy® winner. His career spans more than three decades and includes a multitude of songs recorded with The Beatles, Wings, and as a solo artist. His most recent album was 2013’s New. McCartney is a freeman of the City of Liverpool and Lead Patron of The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. In 1995, McCartney was named Fellow of The Royal College of Music by the Prince of Wales. And in 1996, he was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for his services to music. He is also committed to various charities including: PETA, LIPA, One Voice, The Vegetarian Society, Nordoff Robbins, and Adopt-A-Mine-Field.
More information on A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at:
PBS and its hit concert series Austin City Limits celebrated two major landmarks for the series this fall. This past October Austin City Limits celebrated forty years on the air. That landmark makes the concert series the longest-running concert series on television to date. Making the anniversary even more special is the fact that this October, the show’s original studio was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s tenth Rock and Roll landmark. Both of these marks are big honors for ACL and for PBS. In honor of these honors, PBS released on DVD today the brand new concert recording Austin City Limits 40 Years. There is a lot to like about this concert recording starting with the show’s all-star lineup. Featured in the concert is a who’s who of the music industry. It features legendary names such as: Willie Nelson, Buddy guy, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Foo Fighters, and even the original members of Double Trouble among so many others. There are even performances from up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes. It’s a display in its own way of how many generations this series has reached over the course of its four decades on the air. Making the set even better is the concert’s set list. Emmylou Harris covers Willie Nelson’s hit ‘Crazy.’ There’s also an all-star tribute to Sam & Dave with a performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ And just as enjoyable is the multi-song, all-star tribute to blues legend and Austin native, the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. These are just some of the examples of what makes the show’s set list so important to the presentation in whole. Last but hardly least noteworthy regarding the recording’s success is its bonus material. Included as bonus material, is forty-five minutes of bonus performances. There is also a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the work that went in to making Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a reality. It’s all set against a great performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood.’ These bonuses, partnered with the show’s all-star list of performers and its equally wonderful set list, serve to help make Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years one of this year’s surprise best new live recordings of 2014. It also serves to show yet again why PBS is the last bastion of worthwhile programming on television today.
Austin City Limits has been on television for forty years this year. That is a huge landmark for PBS’ concert series. It has outlived MTV’s Unplugged Series. It has also outlived VH1’s Storytellers and CMT’s Crossroads. In the four decades since it made its debut, ACL has gone from focusing on just one or two genres of music to being one of the preeminent destinations for some of the music industry’s biggest names. Elvis Costello has been on the show. Kings of Leon appeared just last year. And even none other than Nine Inch Nails appeared this year. It just goes to show how much this show has grown since its earliest days as has its importance in the music industry. That is shown just as much in the list of performers tapped to appear on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years. The list of performers tapped to appear on this recording is a who’s who of the music industry from past, present, and even the future. It includes the likes of Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Guy Clarke, Jr., Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Emmylou Harris, and up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes and so many others. With such a wide swatch of performers, that list becomes for all intents and purposes a music history lesson live on stage. It shows not only where ACL has been and where it is going but where music itself started and to where it has come today. And every act tapped to perform is an excellent example of both histories. It’s just one of plenty of reasons that audiences will enjoy this DVD.
The list of performers tapped to perform on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is itself plenty of reason for audiences to pick up this brand new release from PBS. That list is itself a music history lesson and a lesson on the history of ACL. The performers themselves serve as plenty of reason for any music lover to check out this DVD. The songs that they perform make the recording just as enjoyable if not more so. Audiences will love Willie Nelson’s performance of the classic song ‘On The Road Again,’ and Emmylou Harris’ cover of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’ If that’s not enough, there is a star-studded, multi-song tribute to Austin, Texas’ own Stevie Ray Vaughan. That tribute features performances from Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and almost every member of the a-list cast of performers. There is also a special tribute to Sam & Dave in the performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ That song is handled by Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr. and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the star-studded tribute to SRV is complemented with an equally gran tribute to Buddy Holly. These are just some of the performances included in the concert that audiences will enjoy in watching this recording. There are plenty of other great performances along the way that audiences will enjoy just as much. Collectively, all of those performances make for yet another wonderful reason for every music lover to see this concert.
If the who’s who list of performers tapped for this concert and their performances aren’t enough for audiences, the bonus material included on the DVD will convince audiences. PBS has included forty-five minutes of performance footage as bonus material on this DVD. That forty-five minutes includes a performance of ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’ from Willie Nelson and ‘Freight Train’ from Gary Clark, Jr. and Sheryl Crow among the bonus performances. Robert Earl Keen handles ‘I Gotta Go’ and Joe Ely covers ‘All Just To Get To You’ as part of the bonus performances, too. Partnered with that is a special behind-the-scenes look at the concert set against a performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood’ by Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Robert Randolph, and others. It’s a double whammy for audiences. Not only does it give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the concert from pre-pro to show but it also offers audiences a bonus performance. Audiences are given another bonus performance by Bonnie Raitt and company in their rehearsal for their performance of ‘Wrap it Up.’ It’s a nice finisher to a concert recording has already more than proven itself one of this year’s best. Together with the aforementioned list of performers and set list, it pushes this recording over the top, once again proving why ACL has run so successfully for forty years and why its original studio is now part of music history thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It shows once more why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.
So much can be said of what makes Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a success and a total enjoyment. And so much has been said, obviously. It goes without saying that the show’s production values are just as impressive as everything else already noted here. Whether one is taking in the concert on a regular TV or one with a high-priced surround sound home theater system, every viewer will agree that all of the other positives noted here would be nothing without those top notch production values. The concert looks and sounds just as good as other performances recorded over the years. It is that proverbial cherry on top of the musical sundae that is this recording. It is that last part that makes this recording well worth the listen by music lovers of every age.
Foo Fighters announced the schedule for its upcoming worldwide tour this week. The tour, which kicks off Wednesday, December 10th in Cape Town, South Africa, is in support of the band’s new album Sonic Highways. The European leg of the band’s tour runs through June 23rd, 2015. The North American leg of the band’s tour kicks off July 4th, 2015 at RFK Stadium in the nation’s capital. That performance is followed by twenty-six more dates that will take the band across America throughout the remainder of the summer. British rock duo Royal Blood will join Foo Fighters for a number of those dates beginning July 6th in Camden, New Jersey. That is the second date on the North American leg of Foo Fighters’ tour in support of Sonic Highways. Of the twenty-six dates set for Foo Fighters’ North American tour, Royal Blood will join Foo Fighters for eleven dates from July 6th to August 25th.
Before Royal Blood hits the road with Foo Fighters, the duo—Michael Kerr (bass/vocals) and Ben Thatcher (drums)—it will wrap up its own current slate of headlining dates in support of its self-titled Warner Brothers Records debut album. That album was released August 25th, 2014. Box office-only pre-sales for Royal Blood’s dates with Foo Fighters begin this Saturday, November 22nd. All price levels are subject to availability. Online pre-sales begin Monday, December 1st. Public ticket sales will run Thursday December 4th and 5th. Royal Blood’s latest schedule of live dates is listed below.
ROYAL BLOOD NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
December 1 – House of Blues – Chicago, IL
December 3 – The Altar Bar – Pittsburgh, PA
December 5 – War Memorial Auditorium – Nashville, TN
December 6 – Juanita’s Cantina – Little Rock, AR
December 7 – Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
December 9 – Seattle Center – Key Arena – Seattle, WA
July 6 – Susquehanna Bank Center – Camden, NJ*
July 9 – Molson Canadian Amphitheater – Toronto, ON*
July 16 – Citi Field – New York, NY*
July 19 – Fenway Park – Boston, MA*
August 12 – Rexall Place – Edmonton, AB*
August 13 – Scotiabank Saddledome – Calgary, AB*
August 17 – Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater – Denver, CO*
August 19 – Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre – Maryland Heights, MO*
August 22 – Xcel Energy Center – St. Paul, MN*
August 24 – DTE Energy Center – Detroit, MI*
August 25 – First Niagra Pavilion – Pittsburgh, PA*
Royal Blood was released August 25th on Warner Brothers Records. It debuted at Number 1 on the UK Album Chart and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The Mercury Prize is awarded to the best new records from the U.K. and Ireland each year. One album is awarded the prize each year from a list of twelve albums nominated for the award. The albums in question come from every genre of music. More information on Royal Blood is available online at:
PBS’ Austin City Limits hit a major milestone this year. The network’s hit music series celebrated forty-years with PBS. In celebration, PBS is releasing a special DVD celebrating the long-running series next month.
PBS will release Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years on Tuesday, December 2nd. Austin City Limits’ four-decade long run on PBS is especially important to both the network and to music lovers alike. In the four decades that Austin City Limits has been on PBS, it remains the only TV series to be awarded the Medal of Arts. Also in that time, MTV’s Unplugged and VH1’s Storytellers have gone by the wayside. And even CMT’s on Crossroads series has failed to maintain the stability and reputation of ACL. Throughout its now forty-years on television, ACL has seen and continues to see some of the industry’s biggest names take to the stage. Those names include the likes of Elvis Costello, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, and so many others. Many more names are sure to be added to that list as there appears to be no end to this landmark series.
In honor of the series’ fortieth anniversary, many of those same big names have come on board for this celebratory concert. Bonnie Raitt joins Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes for a performance of the Sam & Dave classic ‘Wrap It Up’ to open the concert. Howard returns later in the show alongside Gary Clark, Jr. for a special performance. Willie Nelson, the red-headed stranger himself, joins Emmylou Harris for a performance of Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’ Singer/actor Kris Kristofferson and Sheryl Crow team up for a performance of Kristofferson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee. Foo Fighters even make an appearance to perform Roky Erickson’s ‘Two-Headed Dog.’ That performance was recorded at the original ACL television studio especially for the concert. Actor Jeff Bridges hosts the night’s festivities. He also performs a special rendition of ‘What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do’ from the late singer-songwriter Stephen Bruton. Bruton was a big influence on Bridges’ Oscar-winning role in the movie ‘Crazy Heart.’ As if all of this isn’t enough, Joe Ely and fellow local legend Robert Earl Keen make an appearance. Blues legend Buddy Guy rounds out the show with a performance of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’ And finishing off the whole thing is a star-studded tribute to Buddy Holly and the one and only Stevie Ray Vaughan. A who’s who of guitarists performs Holly’s ‘Not Fade Away’ and SRV’s ‘Texas Flood’ for the night’s biggest finish.
Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years was taped live at the ACL Live at the Moody Theater and the show’s original studio, Austin PBS affiliate KLRU’s Studio 6A. The complete list of performers is: Alabama Shakes, Doyle Bramhall II, Jeff Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Double Trouble, Joe Ely, Mike Farris, Foo Fighters, Grupo Fantasma, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jimmie Vaughan.
2014 is only a week or so old. Despite the infancy of the year, things are already picking up within the music industry. If the many lists of the year’s most anticipated albums are any indication, there is a lot to look forward to this year. That’s especially the case in the world of rock and metal. Albums from Slipknot, Tool, Earth Crisis, Corrosion of Conformity, Foo Fighters, Mastadon, Black Label Society, and so many others are already making purist rockers and metal heads the world over excited about the months to come. Now, yet another performer has added his name that already extensive list of bands and artists whose albums are highly anticipated this year. The performer in question is Monte Pittman. Pittman will release his new album The Power of Three.
The Power of Three is quite the interesting listen for those that might be unfamiliar with his body of work. While Pittman has had the honor of recording and touring with veteran New York based metal band Prong, he is most well-known for his work with none other than Madonna and former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert. He has also recorded with former Spice Girl Melanie C. on her 2003 album Reason. Considering that he has spent more time recording and touring with pop artists, Pittman’s new record, which will be released via Metal Blade Records on January 21st, will shock audiences. That’s because it is anything but a pop record. Rather, he and his band mates—Kane Richotte (drums) and Max Whipple (bass)—have crafted a ten-track record that is an early contender for a slot on this critic’s list of the year’s best hard rock records. The album’s second song, ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ is a pummeling song that hints at influences from the likes of thrash pioneers Pantera. This is the case at least in terms of the song’s musical side. Pittman’s guitar work, alongside Kane Richotte’s solid drumming, make this an excellent first impression from Pittman and company. Pittman shreds with the best of them. And his vocal style may even lead some to compare it to that of Fireball Ministry front man James A. Rota III. Whipple adds just enough low-end to bring everything together in this song.
Just as interesting to take in on this record is the album’s opener and lead single, ‘A Dark Horse.’ What makes the song so interesting is that there almost seems to be an old school Black Sabbath influence mixed into the song’s more prominent modern metal sound throughout its bridge and verses. One wouldn’t think the two sounds would gel. Low and behold, they work quite well together. As a matter of fact, there’s no doubt that Pittman and company will have listeners putting their horns high with pride. Yet again, all three members of the band work together here to make a song that will leave listeners breathless by the end of its near five-and-a-half-minute run time. And as with the album’s other songs, the production is just as solid as the music itself. Not one member of the three-man organization overpowers the other at any one point throughout the song.
For all of the heavier material that comprises this record’s body, Pittman also proves that he can hold back even if only a little bit. That’s evident in the almost Alice in Chains style ‘Everything’s Undone.’ Even more intriguing about the song is that the setup in the song’s opening moments may even conjure thoughts of Aerosmith’s ‘Back in The Saddle Again.’ It’s only momentary. But it’s there. On its lyrical side, it comes across as being rooted in the standard relationship issues that make up so many songs. He sings, “Driving faster/getting closer/But I feel farther from you/Here we go again/Who’s to blame/Am I gonna get closure from you/Now you’re gone/Is there something I’ve done wrong…Now everything’s undone.” It’s pretty obvious that Pittman is delving into a personal realm here. The catch is that unlike so many songs that are rooted in relationship issues, this one takes that lesser travelled road, opting for a less “oh, woe is me” vibe and more for something with energy about it. This is the case even in the song’s chorus. The song as a whole is just one more that makes this upcoming album well worth the listen and a definite early contender for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock/metal albums. Fans will get to hear even more music from Pittman and his band mates when they perform February 22nd at Los Angeles’ famed Whisky A Go Go. Tickets for that show can be purchased via Pittman’s official website, http://montepittman.com. Fans can keep up with the latest addition to Pittman’s tour schedule and all of his latest news online at http://montepittman.com, http://www.facebook.com/MontePittman, http://www.myspace.com/montepittman, and http://twitter.com/montepittman. 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.
John Fogerty’s first full length studio release in over six years isn’t exactly a new album. But it is still a fun collection of songs, nonetheless. Wrote a Song For Everyone takes fourteen of Fogerty’s most famous and beloved songs and updates them for a new generation. It goes without saying that the classics collected for this compilation didn’t necessarily need an update. But the updates do admittedly give listeners a new take on the classics. It’s actually a good thing. And that will be discussed later. The song selection itself is just part of what makes this collection of classics a hit in and of itself. Fogerty was joined by some of the biggest names in the music industry in re-recording the songs for this work. And some of the names included on the “guest list” might surprise some listeners. That’s one more reason for fans to pick up this record. The compilation’s bonus booklet is the extra spice that makes Wrote a Song For Everyone quite the musical dish. The bonus booklet includes a back story on each of the songs included on the record. Together with the guest appearances and the song choices themselves, it all combines to make this compilation one that music lovers of ages will love no less with each listen.
The songs collected for Wrote a Song For Everyone are some of John Fogerty’s best known and beloved songs. The natural reaction to these songs by those more familiar with them is to question if they really needed an update. The end result after having listened through the compilation is one of pleasant surprise. Listeners that are more familiar with the original songs will agree that needed or not, these updates are fun new takes on Fogerty’s classics. It all starts with an update of what is perhaps his most beloved songs, ‘Fortunate Son.’ Fogerty is joined by Dave Grohl and his band mates in Foo Fighters on this update, with Fogerty and Grohl sharing vocal duties on the song. It’s a great way to open the compilation because it largely sticks to Fogerty’s original song. At the same time, it gives the song new life because it amps up the song and keeps it fresh for a whole new generation that can relate to it just as easily as that generation that originally related to it. Fogerty is joined later by Zac Brown Band on the update of another of his hits in ‘Bad Moon Rising.’ The band’s update on this song is just as fun as Fogerty’s original take on the song. Unlike the update of ‘Fortunate Son’, the update of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ doesn’t stick strictly to the original song. That aside, it’s still a pretty interesting take on the song. Brown and his band mates put their own signature semi-tropical spin on the song. There’s even a little guitar solo added to the song on this take. It’s another of the compilation’s pieces that fans of the original song will enjoy just as much as younger listeners. Fogerty’s new take on ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’ is one of the most interesting on this new release. He is joined by fellow veteran rocker Bob Seeger on the song. The pair took the original mid-tempo country-rock piece and gave it more of a pure country vibe. It comes across as being more reserved on this take than on the original. That’s not a bad thing, either. It is just a new and equally enjoyable take on the song. It’s just one of many more songs from this compilation from which listeners have to choose as their favorite. Also included on this record are updates of ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain’, ‘Born on the Bayou’, and ‘Hot Rod Heat’ just to name a few. Again whether one is familiar with these songs or not, they all comprise a record that Fogerty fans of all ages will enjoy.
Fogerty fans of all ages will enjoy this compilation primarily because of the songs that comprise the record. The songs themselves aren’t all that listeners will appreciate. The record’s “guest list” is another of its selling points. As already noted, Fogerty is joined by the likes of Zac Brown Band, Bob Seeger, and Foo Fighters on some of the record’s updates. Also along for the ride are: Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), and Kid Rock. Even former American Idol contestant and award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson makes an appearance among many others. On the surface, one might look at the record’s “guest list” and shrug, asking why any of this is significant. It’s significant in that it shows the influence that John Fogerty has had on both his fellow veteran musicians and even younger musicians. It’s an example of actions speaking louder than words. And it’s a statement that speaks very loudly with this release.
The sequencing and “guest list” chosen for Wrote a Song For Everyone both are critical factors in the album’s success. They both play important roles in the album’s overall presentation. Just as important is the album’s bonus booklet. The booklet included with the album is such an important addition to the overall presentation because it offers a back story to each song. Those stories come from Fogerty’s own words, too. Many audiences will be amazed to learn that ‘Fortunate Son’ was written as a result of his own time serving in the Army Reserve during Vietnam. He writes in the song’s liner notes, that ‘Fortunate Son’ was the result of his person feelings about states using the term ‘Favorite Son’ for their politicians. He explains in the liner notes that he took that term and changed it to “Fortunate Son” to reflect his negative thoughts on the original term. Just as interesting to learn is that he felt so strongly about what was going on at the time and ended up writing the song in just twenty minutes. This after he and the band had originally rehearsed the song without any lyrics at all. His story behind ‘Bad Moon Rising’ is just as eye and ear opening as it is being read. He explains how the song originally was the result of a famous movie titled The Devil and Daniel Webster. He expands on this, explaining how the movie got him to thinking about the impact that music can have on people, and how that links back to the song. His anecdote is one that will move any fan. His somewhat cryptic explanation of ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’ is sure to get fans discussing, too. He closes his explanation stating that the song is about “seeking the truth.” He links this to his experience at the very first Woodstock festival. Those that know the history of the original Woodstock will perhaps understand this better than anyone, especially if said individuals were actually there in person. It’s just one more story that makes the album’s booklet more a bonus for fans than just a bunch of liner notes. And together with everything already mentioned, it makes this record even more worth picking up whether for one’s own self or as a gift this holiday season. It is available now in stores and online.