Up-And-Coming Acts, Veteran Bands Alike Made 2021 Another Great Year For Rock

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

The rock community turned out a whole bunch of great new content in 2021.  From established acts to the up-and-comers, to the veterans, acts from across the rock community gave audiences plenty of reason to be happy this year.  Now with only 21 days left in the year, that flow of new releases has slowed, though there is already lots of rock to look forward to in 2022, beginning early in the year.  Until then though, Phil’s Picks has its annual list of this year’s top new rock albums to share. 

As was the case with all of the other lists, this one was not easy to craft, either.  Pop Evil returned this year with its powerful new album, Versatile.  Liquid Tension Experiment (which is essentially the side project of three of Dream Theater’s members) returned for the first time in some years with its third record, too.  Up-and-coming neo-classic rock band Greta Van Fleet worked hard this year with its new album to show that it wants to be known as its own act, not just a Led Zeppelin knockoff.  Between this record, the others noted here and so many others, this year’s list of top new rock albums is diverse.

As with every other list presented by Phil’s Picks, it consists of the year’s top 10 new albums and five honorable mentions for a total of 15.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Rock Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2021 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS

  1. Liquid Tension Experiment – 3
  1. John 5 – Sinner
  1. Billy F. Gibbons – Hardware
  1. The Dead Daisies – Holy Ground
  1. Mason Hill – Against The Wall
  1. Candlebox – Wolves
  1. Marc Ribler – The Whole World Awaits You
  1. Myles Kennedy – The Ides of March
  1. Pop Evil – Versatile
  1. Dropkick Murphys – Turn Up That Dial
  1. L.A. Guns – Checkered Past
  1. Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight
  1. Grand Royale – Carry On
  1. Styx – Crash of the Crown
  1. Greta Van Fleet – The Battle at Garden’s Gate

That’s it for this list, but wait, there’s more!  Yes, there are still two more music lists to go before the attention turns to the best of the year’s new movie and TV categories.  Stay tuned!

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

The Independent Music Community Saw So Much Wonderful New Music Released In 2021

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Independent artists and acts are the backbone of the music industry.  There is no denying this truth.  Today’s independent artist/group/act could be the next big name, given the right support.  Keeping that in mind, it is only fitting that the independent acts out there get just as much attention at year’s end as their more well-known counterparts.  That is why Phil’s Picks makes sure to present a list of the year’s top new independent albums each year, including this year. 

This year has seen so many wonderful new independent albums, too.  Up-and-coming rock act Mason Hill, for instance, is on the verge of breaking out thanks to its new album, Against The Wall.  On another note, an act, such as The Grease Traps makes it a presentation that could make it one of the next big names in the realm of neo-soul/funk/R&B with Solid Ground.  It is another record that made this critic’s year-ender list, along with Steadfast’s Transmitters.  Between these records and so many others, this year saw so many notable new independent albums.  They are all compiled in the list featured here.

As with every other list that Phil’s Picks presents annually, the list features the year’s Top 10 new albums and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Those honorable mention titles are included because they each offer something enjoyable in their own right and are no less worth hearing than any of the others featured in the list.  That should be fully understood now.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Independent Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW INDEPENDENT ALBUMS

  1. Mason Hill – Against The Wall
  2. Ryan Hamilton – 1221
  3. Marc Ribler – The Whole World Awaits You
  4. Kris Rodgers & The Dirty Gems – Still Dirty
  5. The Grease Traps – Solid Ground
  6. Walking Papers – The Light Below
  7. Grand Royale – Carry On
  8. The Straddlerz – The Straddlerz
  9. Willamena – Broken Songs: A Compilation
  10. Drones – Our Hell Is Right Here
  11. Steadfast – Transmitters
  12. Liar Thief Bandit – Deadlights
  13. The Swaggerlies – The Last of the One and Onlys
  14. Skarlett Riot – Invicta
  15. The Fifth – The Fifth

That is all for this list.  It is just a snapshot of the mass of notable new independent albums released this year, too.  It collectively serves as another reminder of the importance and place of independent music. 

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Grand Royale’s Latest LP Is A Grand, Pure Guitar Rock Record

Courtesy: The Sign Records

Rock and roll is not dead.  Despite what KISS bassist Gene Simmons and others want to believe, it is anything but.  People have tried to claim that the genre (and metal) is dead.  Apparently, even the Recording Industry Association of America wants audiences to believe rock is dead.  Thankfully, year after year, so many bands prove that quite the contrary is the reality.  Independent rock band Grand Royale is just the latest band to prove the critics wrong thanks to its forthcoming album, Carry On.  Scheduled for release Friday, the band’s fifth album leaves no doubt that real, pure guitar rock is alive and well.  That is evidenced clearly in the record’s collective musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The arrangements’ companion lyrical content does just as much to support the noted statements.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this latest offering from Grand Royale.  All things considered, they make the album clear proof that rock and roll is indeed alive and well.

Independent rock band Grand Royale’s fifth full-length studio recording, Carry On, is proof positive that despite the continued claims by so many that real guitar rock is dead, it clearly is anything but dead.  In fact, it is pure, guitar rock at its finest, and proves that the genre is alive and well.  That is proven in large part through the album’s collective musical arrangements.  The arrangements are everything that guitar rock purists have come to love about the genre.  The rich, driving guitar riffs start off the album with a sound and stylistic approach that is closely similar to that of Pearl Jam circa 2000 in ‘Troublemaker.’  ‘One of a Kind,’ which immediately follows, incorporates the most subtle touch of vintage guitar rock and pairs that with an equally subtle touch of vintage punk for yet another interesting composition.  ‘Bang,’ the album’s very next song, incorporates even more of a vintage guitar rock influence for its body, changing things up.  As if all of that is not enough, the band even gives listeners a touch of 90s pop rock late in the album’s 32-minute run in ‘Staying Dry.’  It’s just one more example of what makes the album’s musical arrangements so enjoyable.  Between these arrangements, the stoner rock approach of ‘Schizoid Lullaby,’ the raucous ‘Just As Bad As You,’ and everything else featured here, there is no doubt that the musical arrangements featured throughout this album give plenty of reason for audiences to hear the album.  They are just a portion of what makes this latest offering from Grand Royale so enjoyable.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements add to the record’s appeal even more. 

The importance of the album’s lyrics is shown in part late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Ain’t Got Soul.’  This two minute, 40 second opus is classic rock right to the bone in its lyrical theme.  The song’s chorus gives listeners every reason to raise the horns as it states against the arrangement’s high energy, “You got no role/I am swinging to the beat/You better watch out/I’m swinging to the beat/Do not stand there and shout, ‘Over and out’/’Cause you ain’t got soul/Unless you rock n roll/’Cause you ain’t got soul/An eternal case where we all belong.”  The tribute continues as the song’s subject states in the song’s second verse, “All the rules you make/I am guilty of the crime/Guilty of the charge/Playing the blues/I am a slave to my passion/Do not tell me what to do/Go back to your pretty city.”  Again, this is just a tribute to rock and roll, and to simply rocking out.  It is just as pure rock and roll as any of the album’s musical arrangements. 

‘Troublemaker’ is its own pure rock and roll work in its lyrical content just as much as its musical arrangement.  This is one of those familiar, accessible works that finds its subject addressing someone who is toxic.  That is inferred right from the song’s outset in its lead verse.  The subject states in the song’s lead verse, “All that you are in your tattered soul/Leave it all behind/You got no options my friend/All that you need/You better hit the speed/You don’t need to pretend/I’m here to take a stand.”  The commentary continues in the song’s second verse, which finds the subject telling that second person, “

I cannot stand this anymore/We’ve been here before/Knocking at your door/You are trouble, the devil/I cannot stand your face oh/My cannon is loose/Are you ready for some news?”  The song’s chorus adds to the statement even more as the subject is addressing that person, who turns out to apparently be a woman, stating, “So, darling meet me at the Troublemaker Street/Calling you a rascal, calling me a fraud/Darling, you’re the queen of the Troublemaker Street/Calling you a rascal, calling me a fraud” Whether the song’s subject is addressing solely a woman, overall or two different people, the fact of the matter is that this familiar rock and roll theme.  It will connect with any rock and roll purist.

‘Just As Bad As You’ is one more example of what makes this record’s lyrical content so important.  This song’s lyrical theme comes across as being one of those classic “partners in crime” type songs in regards to its lyrical content.  That is inferred early on in the song’s lead verse, which states, “Yeah, we are in the game/No need to put out the flame/Just me and you/Into the hall of fame/We are in the game/And who are you to blame?/Just you and me/And the power of gain.”  That seeming message continues as the song states, “Darling, you are wild/We can’t go on/This life lies way beyond/But I’m just as bad as you/Cause you are wild/We can’t go on/But I’m just as bad as you/Yeah, we are in the zone/Nothing left to atone/Just you and me/Descending the throne.”  Again, this “just the two of us” style theme is familiar to rock fans as the other themes noted here. Between these themes and those in the record’s other songs, little question is left as to the appeal of the album’s lyrical content to its presentation.  When this overall element is considered along with the album’s musical arrangements, the album’s appeal increases even more.  The overall content is still only a portion of what makes the album a success.  The record’s production rounds out its most important content.

The production that went into Carry On is important to note because of the impact that it has on the album’s general effect.  One need not listen too closely to catch the raw, garage rock sound at the center of each of the album’s songs. The richness and thickness in the drums and bass, the cutting but still so raw, driving guitars, and even the effect used on the vocals put their own touch to the record’s presentation.  That is all thanks to the production that went into making each item sound so good.  What’s more, each instrument is so well-balanced with the others and the vocals throughout.  The result is that the record will appeal to listeners as much for its general effect as for its overall content.  Keeping  all of that in mind, the album overall proves itself to be a welcome return for Grand Royale.

Grand Royale’s latest album, Carry On, is a presentation that the band’s established will find a welcome return from the group.  At the same time, audiences who are less familiar with the band and its catalog will find it just as welcome an introduction to the band.  That is due in no small part to the record’s featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements are pure, guitar rock at its finest.  The lyrical themes featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements are vintage rock and roll in their own right, and are accessible in their own right.  The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation, bringing everything together.  Each item noted is important in its own right to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Carry On one more of this year’s top new rock and independent albums.  Carry On is scheduled for release Friday through The Sign Records.  More information on Carry On is available along with all of Grand Royale’s latest news at:

Website: https://grandroyaleofficial.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GR.sweden

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.