Ono Kimono Helps Audiences Battle Pandemic Burnout With New Single

Courtesy: Independent Music Promotions

Independent singer-songwriter Ono Kimono is doing his part to help audiences navigate the emotional and mental impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The performer (a.k.a. Justin Roll) is doing so through his new single, ‘Fever Dream.’ Roll debuted the song Friday. The song’s musical arrangement is a light, upbeat composition that will appeal widely among fans of the pop sounds of the 80s. That is evidenced through the keyboards and electronics at the song’s heart. It is a sound and stylistic approach that has been resurrected by so many of Roll’s more well-known counterparts, such as Daft Punks, over time.

The song’s lyrical theme is meant to deliver a message of just wanting to go out and have fun instead of being cooped up indoors as a result of the pandemic. That is according to information provided about the single.

More information on Ono Kimono’s new single is available along with all of his latest news at https://onokimono.bandcamp.com.

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.

Family Entertainer SaulPaul Takes Top Honors In Phil’s Picks’ List Of 2021’s Top New EPs

Courtesy: Sugar Mountain PR

It’s hard to believe but 2021 is officially only four weeks from its big finale.  One can only hope that moving forward from here into 2022, that sooner rather than later, we’ll finally be rid of this COVID-19 crap and life can finally go back to what it was.  Time will tell.  In the meantime, this critic has checked over his calendar for the year’s waning weeks, and surprisingly, there are no more new EPs to go through for the year.  That means it is finally time to start in on this year’s “best of” year-ender lists.  Of course, as in every year past, the very first of those lists comes in the form of the smallest of the music releases noted.

This year’s list of new EPs features new releases from at least one relatively well-known figure and a number of others who are either up-and-coming or semi-established.  They run the gamut from family music to pop to rock and metal to even some southern rock/country.  These lists are never easy to finalize because even among the EPs there is so much to appreciate musically and lyrically.  That was taken into full consideration with this list, too.  Those who have followed this critic’s ramblings for years on end, know how the lists work.  For everyone else, they work as such:  Instead of just 10 new offerings, this list is composed of 15 titles.  The top 10 are the best of the best while the following five are honorable mention titles.  This is not a stab at those releases or the acts that released them, either.  Far from it.  The whole purpose is to give those extras their due credit, too.

So without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks Top 10 New EPs of 2021.


  1. SaulPaul – OK To Be Different
  2. Gabriel & The Apocalypse – Alpha Transcendence
  3. Decent Criminal – Decent Criminal
  4. The Mercy Kills – New Rule
  5. Dirkschneider & The Old Gang – Arising
  6. Repentance – Volume 1Reborn
  7. All Hail The Yeti – Within The Hollow Earth
  8. Kulick – Sitting in a Quiet Coffeehouse
  9. Blue Eyed Christ – World on Fire Remixes
  10. Zero Theorum – The Killing II
  11. Sydney Sherwood – Headspace
  12. Christopher Shayne – Ten High
  13. 20 Watt Tombstone – Year of the Jackalope
  14. Post Death Soundtrack – Pathless Land
  15. Black TarPoon – The Thad

That’s it for this year’s top new EPs.  Thanks goes out to all of the firms that sent out this great music and so much more.  No offense is meant to any act left out.  For instance  Of Mice & Men released a trio of new EPs this year, but they ended up as the new album, Echo, so that album is up for consideration among this critic’s top new hard rock/metal albums of the year.  Even more year-enders are on their way as the last days of the year start to wind down, so 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.  

Post Death Soundtrack’s New EP Charts A Clear “Path” For Its New LP

Courtesy: Independent Music Promotions

Independent industrial act Post Death Soundtrack unveiled the first preview of its upcoming album It Will Come Out of Nowhere this week.  The duo – Jon Ireson and Steve Moore – offered up the preview Friday in the form of its EP Pathless Land.  More single than EP, the three-song record features one of the noted album’s singles – ‘Pathless Land’ – and two remixes thereof.  The 16-minute record is a presentation that will appeal to fans of the duo’s contemporaries, such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and Gravity Kills.  That is proven in all three of the song’s takes as well as its lyrical content.  The production in each rendition brings everything today, completing the record’s presentation.  All things considered, the EP is a work that is a strong first impression for the duo’s album.

Post Death Soundtrack’s new EP Pathless Land is a positive first impression for the duo’s forthcoming album It Will Come Out of Nowhere, which is expected for release Feb. 15 on limited 2LP release.  It is such a promising preview of the record in part because of its musical arrangements.  All three takes of the EP’s title track gives audiences something different from one take to the next.  The rendition that features in the album is a keyboard driven work that opens, sounding like something out of the 1980s.  However, as the vocals (including the dual-lined chant of “Freedom”) are added to the mix, that sound turns more into something akin to the industrial sounds of the early  90s.  The comparison here to works from Nine Inch Nails is unavoidable.

The “Sovereign Mix” of ‘Pathless Land’ maintains the noted Nine Inch Nails comparison, but also adds in a bit of a Ministry influence, too.  That is evidenced in t he steady, plodding keyboard line that hits with the force of a hammer.  The ambient vibe that the rest of the song exhibits also presents hints of Stabbing Westward and Gary Numan’s influence to a slightly lesser degree.  It is a take that holds its own against the album’s rendition and proves just as engaging as that take.

The “Lit Beacon” take of ‘Pathless Land’ is just as unique as the song’s “Sovereign Mix.”  What makes this version stand out so much is its semi-acoustic approach.  That subtle approach conjures thoughts of Nine Inch Nails’ more subdued works circa 1994, the year that the band released its landmark album The Downward Spiral.  The brooding nature in the arrangement makes this take one of those works that is so heavy without being heavy and will prove just as engaging for PDS’ target audience as the other two takes of ‘Pathless Land.’  All things considered, the three different takes on the song form a strong foundation for the EP.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical content (in all its forms) adds even more to the EP’s engagement and entertainment value. 

Not all of the lyrical content featured in the song is capable of deciphering without a lyrics sheet to reference.  However, from what one can understand, the song’s lyrical content comes across as being decidedly introspective.  At one point, the song notes, “From the need to fight/From manic desire/From climbing ever higher/From the mantis bride/From the human…From trouble…/From the fatal flaw/From temples of might…From the seekers of truth/From the altar of youth…”  There are mentions of Christ and Allah from there and “lifeless praise” here, too.  Simply put, what this song does lyrically is something completely unlike anything else out there today.  Thankfully, information provided about the song’s lyrical content does explain the cryptic language.  The information cites Moore as saying about the song that, “‘Pathless Land’ is a little song full of unlikely vitriol and resolve following loss and devastation. We’re thrilled to share this new release with you during dark times and hope it provides a moment of stillness where something fresh can take root.”  Taking that loose description into account, it is sure to generate plenty of discussion among audiences.  Together with the song’s musical content, in each of its iterations, the two elements collectively make for even more engagement for audiences. 

While the musical and lyrical content featured in the Pathless Land EP do quite a bit to make the record an interesting presentation, they are just a portion of what creates that appeal.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation, bringing everything together.  As has already been noted, the EP (which again is in this critic’s view more single than EP – but that’s beside the point at this rate) features three very distinct takes on the song in question.  Each rendition presents its own unique take, too.  That means that a lot of attention had to be taken to make sure each take had the utmost impact.  Thankfully, those painstaking efforts paid off.  The brooding, subtle sounds of the song’s “Lit Beacon” mix creates such a deep emotion that will resonate with listeners long after the song’s end.  The balance in the subtle crescendos and decrescendos makes this take so rich.  The more driving, electronic “Sovereign Mix” with its sharp contrasts makes for its own powerful impact.  It would have been so easy to let the song get away with itself in the heavier moments in this mix, but thankfully that did not happen.  That heaviness, against the take’s more subtle side makes for even more power here.  The handling of the even more subtle approach to the song’s album take required its own attention to detail in regards to its production.  The layering of the chanting vocals causes that element to echo in listeners’ minds.  Meanwhile, the subtlety in the chants against the main lyrical line makes for even more of an interesting effect.  Much the same can be said in how that was all balanced with the keyboard line here.  All things considered here, the production works just as well in this case as in the song’s other mixes.  The end result is a record here from Post Death Soundtrack that industrial and goth audiences will appreciate just as much as works from the duo’s more well-known counterparts. It is a record that they will agree, also, is a positive first preview of the duo’s forthcoming album.

Post Death Soundtrack’s new Pathless Land EP is a good way for the duo to give audiences their first preview of the pair’s forthcoming album It Will Come Out of Nowhere.  That is proven in part, as noted here, through all three of the arrangements of the EP’s title track.  Regardless of which rendition listeners choose, the result is a song whose arrangement is fully engaging and entertaining.  The unique lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements adds its own interest for listeners and is sure to create its own share of discussion and engagement.  The production of each of the song’s renditions brings everything full circle as it ensures every element of each take is balanced with the utmost precision.  That detailed attention to each arrangement’s instrumentation paid off, too.  It joins with the record’s content to make the EP sound appealing just as much as the content makes it appealing in that arena.  Each item noted is clearly important in its own way to the whole of the EP.  All things considered, they make Pathless Land a presentation that charts a clear, solid path for Post Death Soundtrack’s coming album.  Pathless Land is available now.  More information on the EP is available along with all of the duo’s latest news and more at:

Website: https://postdeathsoundtrack.bandcamp.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/postdeathsoundtrack

Twitter: https://twitter.com/postdeathsound2

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.  

Countless Thousands’ New LP Will Appeal To Countless Thousands Of Listeners

Courtesy: Independent Music Promotions

The independent music community is not wasting its time getting things moving in the new year.  The Soviet Machines and R.A.P. Ferreira have already given music lovers plenty to appreciate in this year with their new albums.  Now today, fellow independent act Countless Thousands added to the year’s already fast-filling field of new music with its new album …And The Triumph of Justice.  The 16-song record is a standout among its current counterparts within the independent and rock communities.  That is due in no small part to the diversity exhibited in the album’s musical arrangements.  This will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements add their own share of interest to the album’s presentation.  They will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make …And The Triumph of Justice the first truly standout independent album of 2021.

Countless Thousands’ new album …And The Triumph of Justice is a great early surprise from this year’s field of new independent and rock albums.  It is a presentation that will appeal widely to audiences thanks in part to its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question present a wide variety of stylistic approaches and sounds.  Right from its outset, ‘The Triumph of Justice,’ audiences get a composition that immediately lends itself to the sounds of Queen from the late 1980s.  More specifically, the one minute, seven second instrumental composition immediately lends itself to comparisons to the songs that Queen crafted for the television adaptation of Highlander and for its work on the Flash Gordon.  It is so cheesy in its nearly over the top approach, but is so glorious at the same time for that power metal style approach and sound.  From there, the band immediately changes things up in the album’s second entry, ‘Game Change.’  That song is indeed a game change for the album, as it takes a more punk rock approach.  Speaking more specifically, the approach here, is akin to works from the likes of Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys.  That is evidenced in the use of the vocal delivery, guitar, bass and even drums.  It goes without saying that the whole makes for quite the contrast from the album’s opener and keeps things interesting.  ‘Space Nazis Must Die (ft. Professor Elementary)’ changes things yet again, giving audiences this time, more of a stoner rock style sound.  As if that change is not enough, the band takes on America’s National Anthem a la Jimi Hendrix but with quite the twist in the album’s next track.  Things only continue to change from here on to the album’s end.  The album turns more in a bluegrass vein in ‘The Rat’ before turning back in the punk direction in ‘Solidarity Forever.’  ‘Parts Unknown’ gives audiences yet another change, turning the album in a neo-folk style direction.  Stoner rock fans will appreciate the next few songs, ‘Fat Cat,’ ‘MASK OFF’ and ‘Lazar Wolf.’  The wildly crazy (no pun intended) ‘Murder Assassins from the Future’ is bizarre but one can’t help but listen to the jolly sounding song about a crazed killer.  This will be addressed shortly in the discussion on the album’s lyrical content.  The album turns back in the punk direction from there in ‘Parts Oiknown.’  Yes, that is really the title, not a typo.  The neo-folk approach returns once again in its cover of Stephen Foster’s timeless tune ‘Hard Times (Come No More) before closing out in two more unique fashions in the album’s last two songs.  Looking back through all of this, it becomes evident that throughout the course of its 45-minute run time, this album offers so much for listeners to enjoy.  It never sticks too long to one style of song, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment just in this aspect.  For all that the diverse musical presentation of …And The Triumph of Justice does for its presentation, it is just one of the items that makes this record so surprisingly enjoyable.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements builds on the foundation built by the music and strengthens it even more.

The lyrical content that is presented throughout Countless Thousands’ new album will generate its own share of interest for listeners.  One prime example of that interest comes, as noted previously, comes in the uniquely titled and sounding ‘Murder Assassins From the Future.’  The playful song features a story about apparently a crazy guy who claims to be from the future on a mission to stop a future apocalypse by trying to kill a child.  Of course things don’t end up well for the nutjob.  What happens will be left for listeners to discover for themselves, but the overall sarcastic and light hearted nature in the story makes it stand out so much from the rest of the record’s lyrical content.

In direct contrast, the much more reserved ‘Parts Unknown’ (not to be confused with ‘Points Oinknown’) gives listeners something more reality-based.  It is sung from the standpoint of what seems to be a parent singing to his daughter, recounting his own past as he talks to her about herself growing up.  The parent tells the child that “you are the ripple in my water” and to “stay humble” as she grows up.  He ends the song telling her, “I love you how you are.”  It really is a touching moment in this record that is certain to become a fan favorite.

‘Game Change’ gives listeners even more interest in regards to the album’s lyrical themes.  A close listen to this song reveals a socio-politically charged work that seems to take on the lengths to which people will go against one another nowadays.  Additionally, it presents its own damning condemnation of how the Democrats and Republicans alike have abused their powers, going so far as to say of this topic, “It’s just rock, paper, scissors/Going around and around in circles/Winners eat the losers in a zero sum game.”  The whole things ends with the line asking listeners, “What are you willing to live with?”  That is a telling question.  Together with the other noted statements, it becomes clear that this song is meant to present a familiar topic (if not two topics) that are accessible to audiences.  When this is considered along with the themes addressed in ‘Parts Unknown,’ ‘Murder Assassins From the Future’ and the rest of the album’s entries, no doubt is left as to the importance and impact of the record’s lyrical content.  When the whole of the album’s lyrical content is considered together with the record’s musical content, the overall content make for more than enough reason for people to hear this album.  They are collectively still just a portion of what audiences will appreciate in this presentation.  The sequencing of the featured content puts the finishing touch to the record’s presentation.

The sequencing of …And the Triumph of Justice is key to the album’s presentation because it takes into account the wide range of musical and lyrical content and the energies in the album’s songs.  As already noted here, the album’s musical arrangements are diverse.  At no point in the record’s nearly 50-minute run do the arrangements stay one way too long.  The longest span through which any one style remains is three songs late in the record’s run.  That constant change in the album’s musical arrangement styles does plenty in its own right to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  The energies in the arrangements change just as constantly as the styles in the arrangements.  The whole thing starts in the noted grandiose style in the album’s title track.  From there, the record’s energy picks up quite noticeably in its second track.  It is not until the band’s take on the National Anthem that the record’s energy pulls back.  From there, the energy gradually picks back up until it reaches its peak again in ‘Solidarity Forever.’  What’s so interesting here is that as energetic and frenetic as the arrangement is, its up-tempo take of the otherwise more solemn ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ in classic punk style makes for one heck of a dichotomy.  The band slams on the brakes again from there in ‘Parts Unknown.’  The energy gradually rises again from there, getting a little more upbeat in the hybrid stoner/swing style ‘Fat Cat.’  The band decides to go in a different direction from there in ‘Mask Off’ what with the plodding stoner/sludge/doom hybrid approach.  What’s interesting here is that while the brief opus is short – it clocks in at just under a minute – it is still heavy, and sets the stage for the much more up-tempo (and 80s Queen-eque) ‘Lazar Wolf.’  The energy gradually decline again from there, but not too much, as is evidenced in the light but still up-tempo folk take of ‘Hard Times (Come Again No More).’  The album goes out on a controlled note in its final two songs, landing listeners easily on a distant musical shore from where they started on the musical journey that is this record.  By the record’s end, audiences will find that the journey is one on which they will want to go again thanks to the clear attention to the rise and fall in the album’s energies.  That attention keeps things interesting from start to end, and in turns keeps the record moving and sounding so enjoyable.  Keeping this in mind along with the importance of the album’s content, the result is a record whose content and related presentation thereof is equally positive.  All things considered, they make …And the Triumph of Justice a triumph of an independent album and an album in general.

Countless Thousands’ new album …And the Triumph of Justice is itself a triumphant new offering from the unsigned, independent band.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements, which are quite diverse to say the least.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements adds its own share of appeal to the album.  The sequencing of that collective content puts the final touch to the album’s presentation, bringing everything full circle.  Each item note here is key in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album in whole a musical triumph.  The album is available now.  More information on the record is available along with all of Countless Thousands’ latest news at:

Website: http://www.countlessthousands.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/countless1000s

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

Anni Pohto Debuts New LP’s Lead Single

Courtesy: Independent Music Promotions

Singer-songwriter Anni Pohto is giving audiences their first preview of hew new album.

Pohto debuted her new single ‘Deep‘ last month along with its companion video. The song is the lead single from her forthcoming album The Rising,’ which is due for release this year. It is expected for release this summer, with a definite release date under consideration.

The musical arrangement featured in Pohto’s single is a gentle, soulful composition. It is anchored by Pohto’s vocals, which lend themselves to comparisons to those of Alicia Keys. the production and the sound of what comes across as an antique piano adds even more warmth and richness to the arrangement.

The lyrical theme featured in Pohto’s new single is introspective, according to a statement from Pohto.

“It tells a story about facing our inner darkness, and why that is crucial in order to find joy,” she said. “Finland has been ranked the happiest country in the world three times in a row. But against expectations it’s not because Finns are overtly positive, but quite the opposite.”

More information on Pohto’s new single is available along with all of her latest news at http://www.facebook.com/AnniPohto.

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.

Pale Lady Debuts New Single, ‘Lost And Found,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Independent Music Promotions

Independent pop rock band Pale Lady released its new single and companion video over the weekend.

The band debuted its new single ‘Lost and Found‘ Friday along with the song’s companion video. The video features the band in what is supposed to be the setting of a quaint little restaurant. Front man Conall D. Ryan meets a variety of people as the band performs its new single, as red and green flags fly, trying to give him signals about each encounter.

It is not until the story’s end that Ryan’s character is finally able to clearly see the red and green flags, illustrating even more the message in the song’s lyrical theme.

The band addressed the song’s lyrical theme in a prepared statement.

“‘Lost and Found’ is about being with someone when they don’t really care about how you feel,” the statement reads. “They treat you affectionately and lead you into thinking they are interested, but then will coldly push you away without any explanation. Yet, even knowing this, you decide to stay with them anyway, to your own detriment.

The musical theme featured in Pale Lady’s new single offers a sort of emo-pop vibe combined with a straight forward rock influence. The balance of the two styles makes for an interesting overall approach and sound that will fit on any mainstream rock radio programmer’s play list.

The band addressed the song’s musical content, too.

“A big part of our music is the combination of classic rock elements mixed with modern music production,” the band said. “We saw our new single ‘Lost and Found’ as an opportunity to try and make the most out of a top-class recording studio. We recorded the track at Roundhead Studios in Auckland New Zealand which provided us with numerous musical toys to play with. Before hitting the studio, ‘Lost and Found’ as a song was fairly complete but we left lots of room for creative ideas to take place as part of the recording process. What we ended up with was a song fueled by an emotional message and the fun creative energy we had while recording it.”

More information on Pale Lady’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.pale-lady.com

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

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.

Shihori Encouraging Audiences To Find Their Calm Place With New Single, ‘Soul Trip’

Courtesy: Independent Music Promotions

Independent singer-songwriter Shihori debuted her new single over the weekend.

Shihori debuted her new single ‘Soul Trip‘ Friday.  The single’s release comes approximately a month after the release of her most recent single, ‘Perfect Imperfection.’

The musical arrangement featured in Shihori’s new single is a distinct R&B-infused work.  Its beats and electronics couple with her gentle, airy vocal delivery to make the song so appealing to her target audiences.

The song’s lyrical theme delivers a message that is meant to help people deal with the stress of everything going on in the world today.

“The power of “like” is the strongest,” she said.  “Remember it every time you feel stressed, pick your favorite something out!  Then you will find the light a bit easier.  I hope the ‘Soul Trip’ will help get you to the higher frequency.”

‘Soul Trip’ is available to stream through Spotify.

More information on Shihori’s new single is available along with all of her latest news at:






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.

Weiss’ Debut EP Is One Of 2020’s Most Surprising New Records

Courtesy; Induced Records

Independent musician Justin Weiss is scheduled to release his debut EP Vast Caldera 1 Tuesday.  The five-song record, the first under Weiss’ moniker of Vast Caldera, is one of the most intriguing offerings independent or otherwise to see the light of day so far this year.  That is because this 16-minnute instrumental opus takes the musical road less traveled throughout its presentation.  The musical journey on which it takes listeners will be discussed shortly.  It is just one of the EP’s most important elements.  By connection, the set’s sequencing is just as important to examine as its songs.  This item will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.  When it is considered along with the songs and the record’s sequencing, the whole makes Vast Caldera 1 one of this year’s most surprising new EPs.

Justin Weiss’ debut release under the moniker of Vast Caldera is proof that big things can and often do come in small packages.  That is proven in part through the EP’s featured songs.  The songs themselves present sounds and styles whose elements are easy to compare, but are collectively very difficult to pin down.  That is evident right from the record’s outset.  The gentle, flowing piano line that opens the record in ‘Romance’ does anything but conjure thoughts of romance.  Rather, it presents a decidedly brooding tone.  That tone is enhanced even more as the equally subtle guitar line is introduced alongside the piano line.  Even as the guitar begins to take the lead, it is still controlled and subdued.  By the time the song reaches its final seconds and the guitar fades out, audiences are left feeling so moved with that final piano “solo.”  The arrangement in whole is difficult to liken to anything past or present out there.

Much the same can be said of ‘Nightfall’ as was noted of ‘Romance.’  This song is just as subdued as that composition.  Even more interesting is that it opens with a riff that sounds like the main bars of the ‘Battle of the Fates’ theme from the Star Wars: Episode 1The Phantom Menace.  Odds are that similarity was unintentional, but it is there regardless.  It is refrained at points throughout the course of the song which barely tops the 2:30 mark.  The rest of the song again exhibits such control from Weiss and all involved here.  From the steady beat from the bass drum to the subtle addition of the electronics alongside to the subdued final bars, these is so much going on and it is all so powerful in its presentation.  It is just one more way in which the record’s musical content proves its value to the overall presentation.  Glory’ is yet another way in which the record’s musical works prove so pivotal to Vast Caldera 1.

‘Glory’ opens with a subdued, but still groove-based guitar line that is immediately infectious.  It couples with the song’s equally electronic drum line, synthesized strings and electronics to make this song stand strong on its own merits.  There is even a horn line (likely also synthesized) that adds its own subtle touch to the arrangement.  This song is completely unlike the EP’s other works just as they are from this work and one another.  What’s more, it is near impossible to tie it down to a comparison to any other work out there.  Between this song, the other two noted here and the EP’s two remaining tracks, the whole of the EP’s arrangements leaves zero doubt as to the engagement and entertainment that they generate for listeners.  They are just one part of what makes the EP such a strong offering from Weiss, too.  The record’s sequencing plays alongside the songs themselves to strengthen the EP’s presentation even more.

Vast Caldera 1’s sequencing is so important to note because it ensures the EP’s subtle, yet rich arrangements maintain the record’s mood throughout.  As already noted, the EP’s opener boasts a certain energy, yet is still so controlled and subtle in its own right, even with the addition of the guitar.  That sense of controlled tension continues nicely in the EP’s second song, ‘Adamant.’  The guitar line forms the song’s foundation, but still maintains that sense of mystery established in ‘Romance.’  The record changes pace again in ‘Glory’ in terms of its stylistic approach.  Even with the stylistic change, the controlled tension remains here just as much as in the EP’s first two tracks.  ‘Nightfall’ with its guitar line continues the emotional depth established in the EP’s first three songs and ensures audiences remain engaged just as much as those noted songs.  ‘Dawn’ puts the final touch to the EP, sending out with just the slightest bit of edge.  The piano line that finishes off the song in its final bars closes out the EP just as softly as the record’s opener if not more so.  Looking back at all of the EP’s songs, the result of the sequencing is an effect that will move listeners in a most surprising fashion and ensure their appreciation for this record even more.  Even with this in mind, the EP’s sequencing is just one more of its most important elements.  Its production rounds out its most important elements.

As has already been mentioned multiple times here, there is so much going on in each of the EP’s songs, even in the simplest of moments.  Whether it is the duality in the instrumentation in the EP’s opener, the more advanced work in ‘Glory’ or the depth of ‘Nightfall,’ Each song has its own share happening.  Within each song, the instrumentation is well-balanced so that whether it be those noted simpler moments or those with a little more going on, the impact is the same.  The fades between the lines in each song are so smooth, and they play so much into the overall work in the best way.  That element and the richness of each instrumentation just leaves listeners feeling so connected with each song in a different way.  When this is taken into consideration along with the songs’ arrangements and their sequencing, the whole of this EP becomes a presentation that shows in its own unique way why independent artists and acts deserve just as much attention as their more well-known counterparts.

Justin Weiss’ debut EP under the moniker of Vast Caldera is a work that stands out so well in this year’s field of new EPs.  It take influences from rock and from electronic yet sounds little to nothing like songs from the most well-known acts in said genres.  It really holds its own against other releases in this year’s field of new EPs.  That is proven in the arrangements featured in this record.  The sequencing of those arrangements adds even more appeal to the record’s presentation.  The EP’s production puts the final touch to its presentation.  All the elements noted here are important in their own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make Vast Caldera 1 unquestionably deserving of its own spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new EPs.  More information on the record is available along with all of Weiss’ latest news is available at:




Website: http://www.justwinweissdesign.com/vast-caldera-1

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/justin.weiss.33

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Justinweiss3




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Serenity Lynn Debuts New Single, ‘U & Me’

Courtesy: Independent Music Promotions

Independent pop artist Serenity Lynn debuted her latest single over the weekend.

Lynn debuted her single ‘U & Me’ Friday.  The song’s musical arrangement is a mid-tempo composition whose steady beat and melody make it a song that would fit well in any top 40 pop programmer’s play list.

Much the same can be said of the lyrical theme at the center of ‘U & Me’ as that of its musical content, as pointed out by Lynn in a recent interview.

“This song is inspired by events and conflicts that I have come across in my life,” she said.  “Like all my music that I write, it’s romantic and simple and sweet.  It’s interesting and leaves you wanting more.”

‘U & Me’ was produced by Cameron Nadler.  The song is available to stream through Spotify.

More information on Serenity Lynn’s new single is available along with all of her latest news at:


Website: http://serenitymusic.com

Facebook; http://www.facebook.com/serenitymusic


To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.