(Hed) p.e.’s Latest LP Is One Of 2014’s Top Indie Albums

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

(Hed) p.e. has spent the majority of its life flying just under the mainstream radar. From changes in the band’s lineup to changes in record labels and more, the band—Jahred Gomes (vocals), Mark Young (bass), Jackson Benge (guitar), and Jeremiah Stratton (drums)—has stuck to its guns so to speak and managed to remain a favorite among its fans while still pulling in new fans along the way. Now with its latest album, titled Evolution, due out later this month, it looks to gain even more fans. That is thanks to the album boasting a solid mix of infectious grooves and thought provoking lyrics from start to finish. One example of how that mix of music and lyrics will catch listeners’ ears is the album’s second track, ‘Lost in Babylon.’ This song comes across as a social statement of sorts about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. ‘No Tomorrow’ has its own interest, too. And for all of the high intensity that permeates most of this album, the members of (Hed) p.e. do show a softer side in the album’s closing numbers without losing any of their social consciousness. Case in point the album’s penultimate piece ‘Let It Burn.’ This one harkens back to reggae great Bob Marley. It is one more of so many pieces throughout Evolution that will have listeners agreeing that this album is some of the band’s best work to date.

The songs written for Evolution collectively make this album some of the band’s best work to date. That’s because of the mix of infectious grooves and thought provoking lyrics. The topics covered in this album vary in subject matter. One of the hardest hitting of those subjects comes in the album’s second track, ‘Lost in Babylon.’ This is just this critic’s own interpretation of the song. But it comes across lyrically as tackling the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Front man Jahred Gomes sings of a person whose life was rough to begin with but was only made worse with the introduction of drugs and alcohol. He notes in the song’s opening verse, “It’s just another day/Gotta wake up to the pain/Those demons inside/They wanna come outside and play/Those demons I hide inside/I gotta make ‘em go away/Tonight/We raise hell/We take everything in sight.” He goes on from here to sing about the consequences of covering those demons with various drugs and alcohol. Specifically, he says, “I can’t feel my face/I’m so wasted/I wanna die/I’m young/Just having fun/So why/Not/Drink and drive/You dead/From all that whiskey/And all the vodka/drinking cocaine/And sniffing marijuana.” Yes, that’s right. The whole intention of that line being written in such fashion is to illustrate just how powerful and dangerous abusing drugs and alcohol can be. It shows that it can screw up a person so badly that said person wouldn’t even know what he or she is doing. Something as minor as this, examined on a larger scale, makes for quite the powerful statement. And the manic energy exuded by the band illustrates that message even more. Gomes goes even deeper as the song progresses. And audiences in hearing the song’s depth will agree that such musical and lyrical depth makes this one of the album’s most important and best songs, too.

Another of the album’s standout moments comes only a few songs after ‘Lost in Babylon.’ The song in question is the radio ready ‘No Tomorrow.’ Right from the song’s start, audiences will note a stark difference in the overall style of the song in comparison to ‘Lost in Babylon.’ It’s more of a straight forward hard rock song. That difference in sound makes it far more apt to be one of the album’s singles than say ‘Lost in Babylon.’ The defiant lyrics and the heavy, thundering guitar line here will work just as well in a live setting as on the radio. The song’s chorus, in which is written, “When it all goes down/You know I wanna be right there/Yeah, when the walls come down/You know I wanna be right there/On the frontline/Fightin’ on the right side/Holdin’ up the frontline/Like there’s no tomorrow.” The band adds in the song’s second verse what comes across as an indictment of the powers that be. Gomes sings in that verse, “Renegade/Can’t be f&*^!^% around with my life/I’m gonna break you/Show you how real rebels we ride/Take a big hit/Open your eyes and realize/It’s not the destination/It’s about the journey we ride/Can’t stop you from turning water into wine/Like the system/Poisoning the masses from the inside out/But change is coming that you heard about/The revolution’s on the way/Go BOOM BOOM!” There is a certain social consciousness about this song, nothing the revolution coming. It would seem that the noted revolution would be in regards to those working inside the system that is poisoning the masses. If that is the intended reference, then it makes the song all the harder hitting and worth the listen. In the bigger picture, it is yet another piece of Evolution’s whole that makes this album worth the listen.

Evolution boasts more than its share of high intensity songs throughout the course of its twelve tracks. For all of the powerhouse riffs and equally deep lyrics, the members of (Hed) p.e. show that they can also craft songs that are just as powerful without the heavier riffs and pounding drums and bass line. A prime example of that ability lies in the album’s penultimate track ‘Let it Burn.’ This piece harkens back to reggae legend Bob Marley both stylistically and lyrically. Gomes sings in this song, “show me a miracle/Show me some love today/A little bit of love go a long way/Just a little bit of love go a long way.” It’s one of those pieces that exemplifies the themes of togetherness and joy in life common in works from Marley and even his song Ziggy. And after all of the fiery energy presented by the album’s previous songs, it shows that a song can still be heavy without being musically heavy. It’s one more example of what makes Evolution worth the listen and potentially one of the year’s best independent releases.

(Hed) p.e. is currently touring in support of its upcoming album. It will be in Houston, Texas today and Dallas, Texas on Sunday. The band’s tour schedule also includes a stop at the famed Hooligan’s night club in Jacksonville, NC on Wednesday, August 27th. Fans can get the band’s full tour listing online now as well as the latest news from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/hedpe, http://www.hedperocks.com, http://www.myspace.com/hedpe, and http://twitter.com/hedpe. 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.

Chimaira Releases New Video, Hits The Road Again

Chimaira Tour Poster

Cleveland’s own Chimaira kicks off its “Celebrate the Chaos” tour this weekend.  In coordination with this announcement, the band has also released the video for its latest single.  ‘Wrapped in Violence’ is the third single from Crown of Phantoms, the band’s seventh full length studio release.  The video was filmed in black and white and features footage of the band performing its new single.  It can be viewed online via YouTube now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNelTL6QpvI&feature=youtu.be.

The band’s new tour kicks off Thursday, January 30th at The Palladium in Worcester, MA.  Fans in North Carolina will get to see the band perform live, too.  The band is scheduled to perform three dates in North Carolina.  The first of those dates is Friday, February 7th in Hooligans in Jacksonville, NC. It will be followed by a live show Saturday, February 8th at the Drunk Horse Pub in Fayetteville, NC.  The third of the band’s North Carolina shows will be at The Casbah @ The Fremont Music Hall in Charlotte, NC.  The full tour listing for Chimaira’s “Celebrate The Chaos” tour is below.

1/30/14 — Worcester, MA The Palladium (Upstairs)

1/31/14 — Wilmington, DE Mojo 13

02/01/14 — Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance (16+)

02/04/14 — Amityville, NY Revolution (16+)

02/05/14 — Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar

02/06/14 — Reading, PA Reverb

02/07/14 — Jacksonville, NC Hooligan’s

02/08/14 — Fayetteville, NC Drunk Horse Pub

02/09/14 — Charlotte, NC The Casbah @ Tremont Music Hall

02/11/14 — Knoxville, TV NV Nightclub (18+)

02/12/14 — Atlanta, GA The Masquerade

02/14/14 — St. Petersburg, FL The State Theater

02/15/14 — Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall

02/17/14 — Broussard, LA The Station (18+)

02/18/14 — Shreveport, LA Riverside Warehouse (21+)

02/21/14 — Kokomo, IN Center Stage

02/22/14 — Louisville, KY Diamond Pub & Billiards (18+)

02/23/14 — Newport, KY Thompson House (18+)

More information on Chimaira’s new single, album, tour and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/chimaira, http://twitter.com/ChimairaBand and http://www.chimaira.com.

Sevendust Announces Album Release, Tour Dates

Veteran hard rock band Sevendust is set to release its ninth full length studio album titled, Black Out The Sun.  The Atlanta, GA based band has already released the album’s lead single, ‘Decay’ online at billboard.com.  The full album is currently scheduled to be released in stores and online Tuesday March 26th.  The single will start airing on radio stations across the country very soon.  The band has also allowed fans the chance to pre-order the new album and tickets to shows online.  Fans just have to go online to http://tixx1.artistarena.com/sevendust

 Ahead of the album’s release, the band—Lajon Witherspoon (vocals), Morgan Rose (drums/vocals), Clint Lowery (guitars/vocals), Vince Hornsby (bass/vocals), and John Connolly (guitar/vocals)—will hit the road in support of the new LP.  The band will be joined by Lacuna Coil, the reformed Coal Chamber, and Candlelight Red (which is touring in support of its recently released Morgan Rose produced EP, Demons)  at various stops throughout its tour.  The tour kicks off Saturday, February 2nd at Ziggy’s in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  The band will be performing alongside Lacuna Coil at this show, and those following through February 23rd.  Sevendust’s Eastern Carolina fan base will also get to see the band live as it will make a stop at Hooligan’s in Jacksonville, North Carolina Sunday, February 3rd.  Fans who don’t get to see the band in its first run through North Carolina will get on more chance later in April as the band is set to perform at the Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday, April 23rd. As an added bonus, not only will fans in Charlotte get to see the band perform alongside Lacuna Coil, but they’ll also get to see both Coal Chamber and Candlelight Red at this show.

To get all the latest news from Sevendust on its new album and its tour and to check out the band’s music, fans can go online to http://www.sevendust.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sevendust/25493613958, http://twitter.com/Sevendust, and http://www.youtube.com/user/officialsevendust.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Smile Empty Soul’s new album will make fans smile

California based Smile Empty Soul is getting ready to release its sixth full length studio release.  The band’s new album, “3’s”, hits store shelves May 22nd.  This new album is everything that fans have come to expect from the band.  It carries that familiar mix of Puddle of Mudd and Linkin Park throughout all without missing a step. 

The album opens with the solid, hard rocking song, ‘Carve.’  ‘Carve’ comes across lyrically as another song dealing with personal relationship issues.  And the music does a good job reflecting that.  It’s a perfect fit for any mainstream hard rock radio station.  From there, the album lets up just a little bit with ‘Ugly’, but not too much.  That little break is just enough to let listeners catch their breath before the band starts kicking things back into gear with ‘Warning’ and ‘Sleep Deprivation.’  That pair of songs was well placed in the album’s overall tracking in that it makes for a nice build to ‘Hiding Places.’  ‘Hiding Places’ is one of the standout songs on this album.  It starts off subdued, and builds to a solid rock feel that will get listeners’ horns in the air before landing them back on the ground in a manner just as subdued as the song started.  That easy end is another example of smart tracking, as it lets listeners catch their breath just enough before slamming them in the face again with ‘Let Go.’ 

The remainder of ‘3’s’ is just as solid as the first three quarters.  There really is nothing bad about this album.  As already noted, ‘3’s’ is everything that Smile Empty Soul’s fans have come to expect from the band.  Any number of songs on this release could be used as radio singles.  That’s a very good thing for this band, six albums in.  It shows that the band is doing something right.  And this Summer, even more fans will get to hear that for themselves not just because of the band’s new album.  Smile Empty Soul heads out on the road tomorrow to start touring in support of the album.  The tour kicks off in Riverside, California.  It’ll take the band along the west coast before swinging back up to the northwest.  From there, the band will take its tour across the midwest and up to the northeast before heading down the eastern seaboard and into the southeast by mid-June. Smile Empty Soul’s North Carolina fan base hasn’t been forgotten.  The band will stop at the Berkeley Cafe in Raleigh Monday, June 4th.  It will perform at Hooligan’s in Jacksonville Tuesday, June 5th. 

Fans can follow the band’s tour and even buy tickets through the band’s website, http://www.smileemptysoul.com.  Fans can also interact with each other and the band on the band’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/smileemptysoulmusic and on the band’s Twitter page, http://twitter.com/_smileemptysoul.