Don’t Believe In Ghosts’ New Album Will Make Believers Of Audiences

Courtesy: Imagen Records/ADA Warner

Independent pop rock band Don’t Believe in Ghosts has been building excitement for its new album Solutions quite a bit since last year.  Things started in a slow boil a little more than a year ago.  Now Friday, things will reach a peak when the band releases that record through Imagen Records/ADA Warner.  The 10-song record has already produced four strong singles in the form of ‘Still Holding On,’ ‘Living Like This,’ ‘The Chase’ and ‘Don’t Wake Me Up.  While those songs are positive additions to the record, they are just some of its high points.  ‘Take You to the Wild,’ another of the album’s featured songs, shows what makes this album appealing.  It will be discussed shortly. ‘Grown Up,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is another strong point in its presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Still Holding One,’ one of the noted singles, is among the most notable of that group and one more example of what makes the album worth hearing.  All three songs noted are key in their own way to the whole of the album.  When they are considered along with the album’s other noted singles and the rest of its entries, the whole makes Solutions a mostly enjoyable addition to this year’s field of new pop rock records.

Don’t Believe in Ghosts’ forthcoming debut album, Solutions, is a positive new offering from the up-and-coming independent pop rock outfit.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content collectively.  The singles that the album has already produced serve well to support the noted statements.  They are only a portion of what makes the album worth hearing.  ‘Take You to the Wild’ is another way in which the album shows its strength.  The song’s musical arrangement is in part to thank.  The steady push from the drums and melodies from the keyboard works with the song’s vocals and subtle guitars to give the song a sound and stylistic approach that is comparable to works from Modest Mouse.  One could even argue that the arrangement boasts a sound and stylistic approach that is similar to that of so much pop rock from the late 80s and early 90s.  That is hardly to say it is anything bad. Rather, there is something uniquely infectious in the overall approach and sound here.  It is just part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s uplifting lyrical content adds to that appeal

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Take You to the Wild’ comes across as being rather celebratory.  It seems here that the song’s subject wants to just take another and make that second person so happy.  This is inferred from the song’s outset as front man Stephen Nathan sings, “A beautiful place/With no decisions/Close your eyes/Remember   the taste of your words…/Have a little/Indecision/Have a little/Before we cry/I want to take you to the wild/Like that…Just like that/Want to run around the world…”  Some of the lyrics are difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference, but enough can be comprehended that the subject’s excitement and happiness is obvious.  This is someone who is head over heels for someone, or so it would seem.  The inference continues in the song’s second verse as Nathan sings, “Tell me the strangest thing you ever heard/Don’t change a word/We’ll run full on into the cold night/I’ll meet you there.”  From there Nathan and company repeat the chorus.  In the case, the song’s subject just wants to get to know that other person on a deeper, but fun level.  He is trying to make that connection with the other person.  The positive mindset here is echoed well through the equally positive mood in the song’s musical arrangement.  The two items together make it a wonder that this song was not chosen as a single for Solutions.  That aside, it is just one example of what makes the album worth hearing.  ‘Grown Up,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another example of what makes the album appealing.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Grown Up’ is varies from that of ‘Take You to the Wild’ in terms of it sound and stylistic approach.  Despite that, it still exhibits a clear pop rock style approach.  The arrangement in this song makes it an easy fit for any Top 40 Pop radio programmer’s play list.  That is exhibited through the melodies in the keyboard -heavy composition.  The vocal harmonies and electronics that accompany the keyboards and equally heavy presence of the drums adds to that sense even more.  The whole makes the arrangement overall comparable to music from Imagine Dragons and Twenty-One Pilots.  At the same time, it still presents its own unique identity separate from works from those bands.

The lyrical theme presented in ‘Grown Up’ works well with its musical counterpart to make the song even more interesting.  As the song’s title infers, this song is about making the most of life, not letting the little things control us.  This is inferred right from the song’s opening as Nathan sings about wanting “to take a chance and feel alive” and “deleting a friend,” not giving “a f***.”  He sings in the song’s chorus “Let the sunshine through/You can’t keep it from me.”  This is a full-on optimistic look at life and will certainly resonate with listeners.  Keeping all of this in mind, this song proves in its own way what makes Solutions worth hearing.  Together with ‘Take You to the Wild,’ the album shows that much more why audiences will appreciate its presentation.  They are only a portion of what makes the album worth hearing.  ‘Still Holding On’ which is one of the noted singles from this record, is one more example of what makes Solutions stand out in this year’s field of new pop rock records.

‘Still Holding On’ presents a musical arrangement that will appeal to fans of Fitz and   the Tantrums.  As with the arrangement featured in ‘Take You to the Wild’ the keyboard-driven arrangement here is very poppy with a clear tinge of the pop sound from the late 80s and early 90s.  That influence pairs with a modern pop influence to make the arrangement in whole unique in its own right.  It makes for an interesting juxtaposition to  the song’s lyrical theme, which according to Nathan, is “about the changes and challenges in our lives and how we must still find a purpose and keep going.”

Nathan singing right from the song’s outset about looking back at life while also looking forward, that quote makes even more sense.  That and so much more in this song is certain to connect with listeners in its own fashion.  The overall positive message here pairs with the song’s musical arrangement to make even clearer why it is another of the album’s most notable works.  When the song in whole is considered along with the other songs discussed here and the rest of the album’s songs, no doubt is left that Solutions is a strong first outing for Don’t Believe in Ghosts.

Don’t Believe in Ghosts’ debut album, Solutions, is a strong start for the band.  That is proven through each of the songs examined here.  The songs’ musical arrangements are catchy works that fit well from one to the next on any Top 40 pop radio station’s play list.  The lyrical themes that accompany the songs are just as accessible as the songs’ musical arrangements.  Keeping this in mind, that collective content makes the album in whole a work that will lead any pop and pop rock fan believe in this group and its new album.  Solutions is scheduled for release Friday through Imagen Records/ADA Warner.

More information on Don’t Believe In Ghosts’ new album is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.dontbelieveinghosts.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/DBIGhosts

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/DBIGhosts

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

Kulick’s New LP Could Make Plenty Of Noise, Provided The Right Support

Courtesy: ENCI Records

Independent singer-songwriter Kulick (a.k.a. Jacob Kulick) is scheduled to release his new album Yelling in a Quiet Neighborhood Friday through ENCI Records.  The 29-minute record has already produced three singles leading up to its release, the most recent of which – ‘The Way I Am’ – was released Wednesday.  That song and its predecessors — ‘Talking to the Ceiling’ and ‘Rope’ – have already done plenty to build excitement for the record.  They are but a portion of what makes the album interesting.  ‘Crawling,’ which opens the album is another clear example of what makes the record so appealing.  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘The Way I Am,’ the album’s latest single, is another way in which Kulick’s new album shines.  It will be addressed a little later.  ‘Monster,’ the album’s midpoint (for all intents and purposes), is yet another way in which Kulick’s new album proves itself so worth hearing.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here, including its other two singles and the rest of its body, the whole proves to be a record that given the right support, will certainly make plenty of noise.

Kulick’s new album Yelling in a Quiet Neighborhood is an interesting work that is deserving of being heard and receiving support.  All three of the singles that it has produced prove that well within themselves.  They are not the record’s only standout songs.  Its opener, ‘Crawling’ is another way in which it shows its appeal.  That is due in pat to its musical arrangement.  Right from its subtle opening bars and into its body, the song’s arrangement lends itself to comparisons to works from Imagine Dragons.  That is evident through the use of the steady, almost ethereal drums and precise yet controlled vocals and keyboards.  The subtlety in the guitar line adds even more punch to the arrangement, even as – again – subtle as it is.  The whole of the noted elements makes the song’s musical arrangement a strong start for this record.  The power in the song’s musical arrangement serves well as an accompaniment for the work’s lyrical content, which comes across as a work that centers on the familiar topic of a broken relationship.

The noted seeming lyrical theme presented in ‘Crawling is inferred as Kulick  sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’ve never felt so desperate/Never felt so tired and down/I feel this tightness in my chest/It’s putting tension on my bones/Every night I ask these questions/If I leave/where will I go/Never felt so tired and desperate/The sensation’s all I know/If I knew what was best for me/Don’t you think that’s what I’d do/Every time I leave, I fall to my knees/Turn around/Keep on crawling back to you.”  This verse makes relatively clear, the noted theme.  This is someone who is at a turning point in the relationship.  It is someone who is near the relationship’s end, but does not know what to do.  It is a situation to which so many listeners can relate.  The seeming statement is made even clearer in the song’s second verse, whose lyrics are slightly more difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet.  However, it is still evident as the subject states, “I feel you keep poisoning my system” and that “I couldn’t be so condescending/So full of empty promises” before returning to the song’s chorus in which the noted statement is made that, “If I knew what was best for me/Don’t you think that’s what I’d do.”  Once again, even with some of the lyrics being indecipherable in the song’s second verse, enough is understandable along with everything in the song’s lead verse, to know that this is another song centered on a personal relationship and its difficulties.  That accessible lyrical content and infectious musical arrangement come together to make the song unquestionably another key addition to Yelling in a Quiet Neighborhood.  It is just one more of the album’s strongest entries, too.  The record’s most recent single, ‘The Way I Am’ is another important song to note.

As with the album’s opener, ‘The Way I Am’ boasts a comparison to works from Imagine Dragons.  Stylistically speaking, the songs’ arrangements take a similar approach.  What is important to note here is that the actual sound produced in the two songs is different from one to the other.  It is another work that will fir easily into any Top 40 Pop/rock radio programmer’s play list what with the use of the guitars, drums and vocals.  The tension in the song’s arrangement partners well with its lyrical content, which Kulick himself said in a recent interview is “one of the darker, more personal, and introspective songs on the new record.”  While Kulick never comes out in his statement and points out the lyrical theme, that note and the use of the home video footage in the song’s companion video seems to point to perhaps him trying to deal emotionally with his upbringing.

Kulick sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’m fighting with myself as much as we have been/I know you hurt from it/But words need to be said/I’ve come to terms with it/but how much is pretend?/Until you see I’m not the person/You’ve been with/I found another you/Found another/have you found another me yet?/I’ve had enough of you/had enough of you/Have you had enough of me yet?/And I don’t wanna move/I don’t wanna move/Wanna stop time/Freeze it/In the past/Where you are/All alone.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “I’m hiding from myself/As often as I can/I’m tired of running from the person that I’ve been/Don’t’ wanna talk about it/Nothing comes from this/I’m so uncomfortable/I’m crawling in my skin/I found another you/Found another you/Have you found another me yet?/I’ve had enough of you/had enough of you/Have you had enough of me yet?/And I don’t wanna move/I don’t wanna move/Wanna stop time/Freeze it/In the past where you are/All alone.”  From there Kulick turns even more introspective in the chorus, in which he sings about being tired of being a certain way, and telling another person not to feel sorry for him because he is just the way he is.  In other words, he has come to terms with who and what he is (seemingly) even despite a lot of apparent negative emotion throughout his young life.  It makes for an interesting presentation that is certain to generate its own share of discussion among listeners.  When it is considered with the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements come together to make the song that much more impacting.  Keeping that in mind, it joins with the album’s opener and other two singles to show even more clearly why Yelling in a Quiet Neighborhood is such an appealing album.  It still is not the last of the album’s most notable works.  ‘Monster’ is one more notable addition to the album.

‘Monster’ trades in the Imagine Dragons comparison for something much more pop-oriented and minimalist in its musical arrangement.  It is grounded in Kulick’s singing and guitar work.  The mournful sound of Kulick’s vocals and the occasional layering of his singing helps in the arrangement’s efforts to translate the emotion presented in the song’s lyrical theme, which itself focuses on a broken relationship once again. 

The topic of a broken relationship is crystal clear in ‘Monster’ right from its outset as Kulick sings in the song’s lead verse, “I know the feeling/Awake and alone/When I was there tonight/And I wasn’t home/Made up your reasons/Made up my own/Betrayed the only thing I’ve ever known/Always a cheater/Can’t deny/I need to leave her/Dim the lights/So I couldn’t see her/To the end of time/It’s what I said/It’s not the only lie I put in her head/So I kill the lights/And try to forget/I am a monster/I put those demons in her head/An imposter/Will you see he’s just pretend/I lost her/I miss my side of the bed/I’m still tangled in the threads/Till I move on to the next/I’m a monster in your bed.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “And I know the feeling/Afraid and cold/Daylight, you want to hide away from it all/Just to find your reasons/Just to find my own/But it’s too late/I need the change/And I gotta go home/Once a liar/Always a cheater/Can’t deny/That I need to leave her/Dim the lights/So I couldn’t see her/Til the end of time/That’s what I said/It’s not the only lie/I put in her head/So I kill the lights/And try to forget/I am a monster/I put those demons in your head/An imposter/Who you see is just pretend/I lost her/I miss my side of the bed/I’m still tangled in the threads/Til I move on to the next.”  Once again, audiences get a clear, vivid picture of a man who knows he has done wrong, and in this case is actually showing genuine remorse for what he has done.  It is a rare type of presentation, actually.  Usually such songs about cheating and breakups are presented from the female vantage point.  So to have such a topic presented from the male vantage point, and showing that the guy realizes he has done wrong, and actually shows remorse for his actions in such fashion is powerful in its own right.  To that end, that message and the song’s musical arrangement show clearly why it is yet another important addition to Yelling in a Quiet Neighborhood.  When this song is considered along with the other songs noted here, the album’s other songs and the rest of the record’s entries, the album in whole proves itself a record that deserves just as much support as anything from Kulick’s more well-known mainstream pop and pop rock counterparts.  It holds its own that well against the works from those artists.

Kulick’s new album Yelling in a Quiet Neighborhood is a positive new offering from the independent singer-songwriter.  Even clicking in at just 29 minutes, it packs a strong musical and lyrical punch.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content.  Each of the songs examined here serve well to support the noted statements.  Much the same can be said of the album’s singles and other songs not directly addressed here.  All things considered, the album proves itself just as enjoyable as anything offered by Kulick’s more well-known mainstream counterparts.  To that end, it is a record that, giving the right support, could make just as much noise as those records.  Yelling in a Quiet Neighborhood is scheduled for release Friday through ENCI Records.

More information on Julick’s new single, video and album is available along with of all his latest news at:

Websitehttp://kulickofficial.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/kulickofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/kulickofficial

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://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.

Pop Evil Debuts ‘Work’ Video

Courtesy: eOne

Pop Evil debuted the video for one of its recently released singles this week.

The band debuted the video for its single ‘Work‘ Friday.  The video features people in a factory going day to day in the same rut over and over until one person breaks out of the rut, infiltrates the system so to speak and takes down the factory.

The video’s visuals are meant to illustrate the song’s lyrical theme.  Front man Leigh Kakaty discussed that theme early this year in an interview with Loudwire when the single debuted.  In talking about ‘Work,’ Kakaty said during his Loudwire interview, that the song’s lyrical theme centers  on the impact of work, technology and social media on our lives.  The interview is available to read in full here.

The steady, thumping drumbeat at the heart of the song’s arrangement and the force in the guitars serve to help illustrate that emotion.  the overall approach is another rap-rock approach that in this case, lends itself to comparisons to Imagine Dragons’ hit song ‘Radioactive.’

‘Work’ is available to stream and download here.

More information on Pop Evil’s new music is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.PopEvil.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/popevil

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/popevil

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://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.

 

 

Pop Evil Debuts Two New Singles, ‘Let The Chaos Begin,’ ‘Work’

Courtesy: eOne

Pop Evil is preparing to release its next new album, and in anticipation, has released two singles from the album.

The band is debuting the singles ‘Let The Chaos Reign‘ and ‘Work‘ today.  The title of the forthcoming album has not yet been announced, nor has the album’s release date.

Front man Leigh Kakaty discussed the singles’ release in a recent interview.

“We won’t bore people with the same song over and over,” he said.  “When you come to our live show, we feel like there should be an ebb and flow, peaks and valleys that are similar to real life.  Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down.  We like to take people on a journey when they listen to our music or come to see us live.”

Kakaty also held an interview with Loudwire, in which he said the lyrical theme of ‘Let The Chaos Begin’ started out as a general commentary, but organically evolved into something more.  The song’s musical arrangement is a heavy, driving composition that supports Kakaty’s statement about each Pop Evil song being different from the last.  The band opts here for a straight-forward rap-rock approach than its usual hard rock sound.

‘Let The Chaos Reign’ is available to stream and download here.

Courtesy: eOne

In talking about ‘Work,’ Kakaty said during his Loudwire interview, that the song’s lyrical theme centers  on the impact of work, technology and social media on our lives.  The interview is available to read in full here.  The steady, thumping drumbeat at the heart of the song’s arrangement and the force in the guitars serve to help illustrate that emotion.  the overall approach is another rap-rock approach that in this case, lends itself to comparisons to Imagine Dragons’ hit song ‘Radioactive.’

 

‘Work’ is available to stream and download here.

More information on Pop Evil’s new music is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.PopEvil.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/popevil

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://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.

 

Afraid Of Ghosts Debuts ‘No Hero’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Earshot Media

Afraid of Ghosts debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The independent electro-pop outfit debuted the lyric video for its song ‘No Hero‘ Thursday.  The video’s debut comes roughly three weeks after the band debuted the single. The band also made the song available through various digital platforms this week along with debuting the song’s new lyric video.

The song’s musical arrangement will appeal to fans of acts, such as 21 Pilots, Imagine Dragons and Panic! At The Disco.  The song’s hopeful lyrical content will reach an even wider range of listeners.

According to information presented in a news release distributed about the song, “Everyone has ghosts they run from, and internal struggles that haunt them, and pop newcomers Afraid of Ghosts tell their own story about wrestling with demons.  With a fresh take on electro-pop, the mysterious super group take on love, loss and the darker aspects of the human experience.  The lyrics are heartfelt and raw against an undeniably catchy musical backdrop, but it’s not all gloom and doom; within their story lies a glimmer of hope.”

More information on Afraid of Ghosts’ new single is available online along with all of the group’s latest news and more at:

 

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Afraid_OFGhosts

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://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.

Don’t Believe In Ghosts Premieres New Single

Courtesy: forward thinking/O’Donnell Media Group

Pop rock act Don’t Believe in Ghosts is giving audiences a preview of its forthcoming album.

The band premiered its new single ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ this week via YouTube Music, Amazon, iTunes and Spotify.  The song’s musical arrangement presents a sound that will appeal to fans of acts, such as Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5 and Modest Mouse.  Its lyrical content seems to hint at the topic of relationships.  This is inferred as front man Steve Nathan sings, “You’ve got that something/It’s always been the one thing/That I needed/We’ve got this love/And it’s feeling like the weekend/Can’t you see…something in your eyes/It was a big surprise/That you come with me/Don’t wake me up/I’ve got to dream a little longer/Sometimes I’m feeling it/This feeling’s only getting stronger.”

‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ was mixed by Ken Lewis (X Ambassadors, Eminem, Bruno Mars).

More information on Don’t Believe in Ghosts’ new single is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.dontbelieveinghosts.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DBIGhosts

 

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

Imagine Dragons Tapped To Headline CFB Championship Halftime

ESPN has announced the halftime entertainment for the College Football National Championship.

Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons will perform at halftime live from Treasure Island at San Francisco Bay.  Network officials made the announcement Monday. Fans with passes to Treasure Island will get in to the show for free. A trailer for the band’s appearance is streaming online now here.

Courtesy: ESPN

According to a news release from ESPN, the band is scheduled to perform a handful of songs from its most recent album Origins.  The band’s performance is just one part of a season-long partnership between ESPN, Interscope Records and Universal Music Group Nashville.That partnership also saw ESPN feature Imagine Dragons’ hit song ‘Natural’ as ESPN’s college football anthem.

This is the second year that ESPN has partnered with Interscope Records for its college football broadcasts.  The network featured Kendrick Lamar as the halftime headliner for last year’s College Football Championship.  Alabama defeated Georgia in overtime in that game, which was watched by 29.9 million viewers, making it the second most watched cable presentation ever.

More information on ESPN’s College Football Championship coverage is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

Website: http://www.espn.com/college-football

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espncfb

 

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

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

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

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

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

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Experiencing a live performance of one’s favorite act(s) is a very special event.  That is because it serves to help fans and their favorite acts connect in a way that taking in said acts’ studio releases just can’t.  What’s more attending live concerts isn’t always easy or inexpensive.  Between the cost of tickets, food, souvenirs, gas, and lodging, attending concerts can cost almost as much as a used car sometimes, depending on the act.  In other cases, one’s favorite acts might never even come near one’s town.  So what is a person to do to experience one’s favorite acts?  The answer is simple: the live recording.  That brings us to the topic of today’s “Best Of” list.

Today, Phil’s Picks presents its list of the year’s Top 10 New Live CDs.  Everyone should understand this is distinguished from the year’s top new live DVDs and BDs.  That’s because some recordings come only on CD while others are only presented on the latter format.  Others are also presented in both formats both separate of one another and collectively.  The recordings included in this list include both standalone CDs and CDs included in complete DVD/BD/CD sets.  One of the standalone live CDs included in this list is ZZ Top’s new live recording Greatest Hits Live.  The Outlaws’ Legacy Live is another of those standalone CD recordings.  Joe Bonamassa also has a new live recording in the form of Live at the Greek Theatre that is available on separate CD, DVD, and BD platforms.  It’s on this list, too.  Suffice it to say, there’s a healthy mix of new live titles here both in terms of genre and platform.  So, enough rambling.  Presented here for you is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Live CDs.

It should be noted here again that the list includes the Phil’s Picks Top 10 new Live CDs as well as five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 recordings.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW LIVE CDs

 

  1. Santana IV Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas
  1. ZZ TopGreatest Hits Live
  1. Judas PriestBattle Cry
  1. KISSKISS Rocks Vegas
  1. Joe Bonamassa Live at the Greek Theatre
  1. The OutlawsLegacy Live

  2. The Rolling StonesHavana Moon

  3. Motley Crue – The End: Live in Los Angeles

  4. SaxonFeel Your Power

  5. Imagine DragonsSmoke + Mirrors Live

  6. Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression

  7. Ayreon – The Theater Equation
  8. Pete Townshend’s Deep EndFace The Face

  9. Wacken 201526 Years Louder Than Hell

  10. LeprousLive at Rockefeller Center

 

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

No Tricks Here: Imagine Dragons’ New Live Recording Is Musical Magic

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Imagine Dragons is one of the biggest bands in America today if not the world.  That goes without saying.  Ever since its original formation in 2008 the band has sold millions of albums, earned more than its share of awards and nominations, appeared on any number of TV shows, and entertained audiences the world over.  It even has a brand new single out on the soundtrack to the new romantic dramedy Me Before You.  Even in taking some obviously much-needed time off, the band still isn’t showing any sign of stopping.  That is because this summer the band will release its first official live recording in the form of Smoke & Mirrors Live.  It will be released Friday, June 3rd via Eagle Rock Entertainment.  Whether or not a person is a fan of this Las Vegas, NV-based band’s audiences will agree that this record is one more of 2016’s top new live recordings and yet more proof of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leading name in live recordings.  This is proven in part by the concert’s set list.  That will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance and the overall production are just as important to note in the recording’s presentation as the show’s set list.  The concert’s varied platforms and packaging are just as notable in the recording’s presentation as the set list and overall stage show.  They round out the most notable of the recording’s elements.  Each noted element shows in its own way to be of its own importance to the recording.  Altogether they show clearly why Smoke & Mirrors Live is one of this year’s top new live recordings.  They also show once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment stands tall to this day as the leading name in live recordings today.

Imagine Dragons’ new live recording Smoke + Mirrors Live is one of 2016’s top new live recordings.  It is also more proof as to why Eagle Rock Entertainment stands tall to this day as the leading name in live recordings.  This is proven in part through the concert’s set list.  The concert boasts a total of twenty songs.  Some of those songs stand alone and others are part of mini-medleys.  In all the show’s set list pulls almost evenly from both of the band’s albums so far.  No fewer than seven songs were lifted from the band’s 2012 debut record Night Visions and ten others from Smoke & Mirrors.  The band even included some songs that were included only in certain limited editions of Smoke & Mirrors in the set in the form of ‘Warriors’ and ‘Thief’ alongside a cover of the song ‘Forever Young.’  That covers the show’s twenty total songs.  While the set list does an impressive job of covering the band’s body of work so far, there is a slight issue with the set’s presentation.  The concert’s Blu-ray/CD combo pack features the concert in whole on Blu-ray.  However some of the songs included in the concert’s Blu-ray presentation were omitted in its CD presentation.  What’s more, some of the interludes that are included in the Blu-ray presentation were also omitted from the CD presentation. It is problematic to a point that the noted elements have been omitted from the set’s CD presentation.  But thankfully at least in the Blu-ray/CD combo pack audiences do still get the full set list and concert experience regardless.  Not having the DVD presentation this critic cannot comment on that presentation.  Keeping that in mind the set list still proves to be its own important part of S+M Live’s presentation.  It is not the show’s only important element.  The band’s performance couples with its overall production to form another of the recording’s most important elements.

The set list presented in S+M Live (as it will henceforth be known) is its own important part of the recording’s presentation.  That is because it lifts liberally from both of the band’s current albums including songs that were only available in exclusive limited editions of Smoke + Mirrors.  Even with the set list being abridged–so to speak–in the recording’s CD presentation, placing the CD with the Blu-ray in the Blu-ray/CD combo pack makes up for that and for the omission of the interludes, too.  While the set list ultimately proves important in its own right to the recording’s presentation the band’s performance and stage production are collectively just as important to the recording as the set list.  Front man Dan Reynolds keeps audiences completely entertained both in the concert’s more reserved moments and those that are more fiery.  That is because of the emotion and energy that he exuded in each moment.  Simply put he showed that he was completely involved in the performance.  He wasn’t just phoning it in.  Sadly there are performers who do try to phone it in.  In some cases it works.  In others it obviously doesn’t.  Luckily his is neither case.  His band mates—Wayne Sermon (guitar), Daniel Platzman (drums), and Ben McKee (bass)—along with the rest of the band’s touring members mirror that energy in their own performances.  The collective whole of their performances will keep audiences at home just as entertained as those that were in attendance at the concert’s recording.

On a related note to the band’s performance, the concert’s general stage production plays its own role in the recording’s presentation.  There’s no pyro or seizure-inducing strobes at any point through the show.  Rather, the band utilizes a minimalist set for its show.  There are some monitors that utilize lights within their displays.  But they are really the extent of the show’s “special effects.”  This limits the use of the lights which in turn actually makes them a hugely element in illustrating the mood of each song’s mood.  The lights brighten at all of the right moments and dim in the same fashion. They even change colors at just the right moments in order to help illustrate the songs’ mood.  When they do start pulsating, that action is limited even in those moments.  Simply put the minimalist production used in the band’s stage show proves just as important to the band’s performance as the band’s performance itself.  The two work hand in hand in entertaining audiences and keeping them engaged.  They show in whole that they are indeed just as important to the concert’s presentation as its relatively extensive set list.  They are hardly the last of the recording’s most notable elements.  The concert’s platforms and packaging round out its most notable elements.

The set list presented in Smoke + Mirrors Live is its own important part of the recording’s overall presentation.  That is the case even with the set list varying between the recording’s visual and audio presentation.  The band’s performance and stage production couple for another important part of the recording’s presentation.  That is because they work so well together to entertain audiences with their collective energy.  There is no arguing the importance of each noted element in the recording’s overall presentation.  As important as they are to the whole of the recording they are not the recording’s only important elements.  The varied platforms and packaging of the recording are just as important to its presentation as any of the other noted elements.  In regards to its platforms it is available in the Blu-ray/CD combo pack which is being examined here.  It is also available in a DVD/CD combo pack, standalone DVD and Blu-ray platform, and various digital platforms.  This might not seem like much on the surface.  But in presenting it in all three formats (and each format being “extended”) Eagle Rock and Universal Music have covered all of their bases.  They have essentially reached out to every possible audience group.  This was an extremely wise course of action for all involved.  The recording’s packaging is just as important as its platforms.  That applies primarily to the concert’s physical platforms.  Audiences will note that the packaging for both the DVD/CD combo pack and Blu-ray/CD combo pack is exactly the same.  It presents both halves of the recording in a gatefold packaging.  The discs are each placed on their own spindle in their own respective spot inside the packaging.  This greatly reduces the odds of damage to the case and the discs.  Audiences that are familiar with multi-disc CD packaging will note that many labels today use thin, plates in the middle of a standard sized CD case in order to save space on CD racks.  That does save space.  But as thin as said inserts are, they are very prone to breaking because of their fragility.  The material used for inserts in multi-disc DVD and Blu-ray packaging is more durable, making it smarter for that platform.  Keeping all of this in mind, the packaging used for this (and many other live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment) might be bulkier than those from other labels.  But it is more durable and better protects the recordings’ discs.  So to that end, Smoke + Mirrors Live’s packaging proves in the bigger picture to be just as important to its presentation as its set list, stage production and performance by the band.  Each element is equally important in its own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  Even the program’s main menu plays its own part in the concert’s presentation.  Audiences get to see the band prepare for its performance in the recording’s menu.  There are also snippets of said performance played against the menu.  And they aren’t just short, little snippets either.  They are solid samples of each song. Between that and everything else that has been noted audiences get in whole here a recording that audiences in whole will appreciate.  This applies regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the band’s body of work.

Imagine Dragons’ new live recording Smoke + Mirrors Live is a recording that every viewer will appreciate.  This applies regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the band’s body of work.  This is due in part to the recording’s extensive set list.  The band’s performance and its general stage production work together to keep audiences entertained and engaged from beginning to end.  The packaging of both the DVD/CD and Blu-ray/CD combo pack plays its own important part in the recording’s overall presentation, too.  The concert’s main menu proves important to its presentation, too even as minor as it may seem.  Each element is important to the concert’s presentation in its own special way.  Altogether they make Smoke + Mirrors Live a concert that audiences will not only appreciate but will agree is one of 2016’s top new live recordings.  They will agree, too that it proves once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment still stands tall as the leading name in live recordings.  It will be available in stores and online Friday, June 3rd.  More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

More information on Smoke + Mirrors Live is available online now along with all of Imagine Dragons’ latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.imaginedragonsmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/imaginedragons

 

 

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