Musical Cosplay Collective’s Debut Record Is A Successful Effort

Courtesy: Rise Records

Courtesy: Rise Records

Star Wars is one of the biggest film franchises in Hollywood’s modern history.  Ever since the franchise’s first movie debuted way back in 1977, it has proven to be anything but a niche property.  It has generated no fewer than eight movies, multiple TV series, video games and more.  Next month, another tribute to the Star Wars will be released in the form of the self-titled debut record from cosplay cover band Galactic Empire.  The 11-song collection will impress Star Wars fans and fans of Powerglove, Trans Siberian Orchestra and other acts of that ilk.  That is due in no small part to the songs chosen for the record.  That will be discussed shortly.  The songs’ arrangements are just as important to note in examining this record as the songs themselves.  That will be discussed later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element plays its own important part in the record’s presentation.  All things considered, Galactic Empire proves in the end to be an enjoyable covers collection and a fun first effort from the band from a galaxy far, far away.

Galactic Empire’s self-titled debut album is not a collection of original compositions.  That aside, it is still an enjoyable experience that Star Wars fans will appreciate just as much as fans of Powerglove, Trans Siberian Orchestra, and others of that ilk.  That is due in part to the songs chosen for the record.  The 11 songs that make up the body of the record come from not just one of the franchise’s films but a number of them.  ‘Main Theme’ and ‘Imperial March’ come from the franchise’s original trilogy.  ‘The Force Theme’ has been incorporated into most of the franchise’s entries including The Force Awakens. The band even reaches back to the series’ “prequels” with ‘Duel of the Fates’ from Episode I: The Phantom Menace.  Fittingly, the whole thing ends with the famed “Throne Room” theme from the end of Return of the Jedi.  Between that and the rest of the songs featured here, it becomes clear why the songs collected for this record are so important to its presentation.  They show the band wanted to reach as many of the franchise’s fans as possible, not just one specific audience.  To that end, the band is to be commended.  It is just one reason the band (and album) should be commended, too.  The arrangements that are presented within the songs are just as important to note as the songs themselves.

The songs that make up the body of Galactic Empire’s debut album are in themselves key to its presentation.  That is because they show the band aimed at as many of the franchise’s fans as possible.  They are, collectively speaking, just one of the record’s key elements.  The songs’ arrangements are just as important to note in examining the record’s presentation as the songs themselves.  Listeners will note that while the arrangements are presented in a rock format, they stay largely true to the original compositions.  Listeners will especially appreciate the way the band handled the beloved ‘Force Theme.’  It maintains that solemn vibe presented in the original composition, even despite being handed on guitar.  On another note (no pun intended) one could argue the band’s take on ‘The Asteroid Field’ (from Star Wars Episode V) is even more exciting than the original symphonic composition with its guitar-driven sound.  That is not to say that the original composition is bad by any means.  In fact it is very enjoyable.  Keeping that in mind and considering the record’s other arrangements, it is clear in listening to each arrangement why the arrangements in whole are so important to this record’s presentation.  They are, again, just as important to note as the songs themselves, and are still not the only important pieces of the record’s whole.  The record’s sequencing is just as important to note as its songs and their arrangements.

The songs presented in this record and their arrangements are both clearly important alone and collectively to the record’s presentation.  As important as they are to the record’s presentation they are not its only key elements.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  It is clear in listening to the record from start to finish that a lot of thought was given to its sequencing.  It begins with a bang with the franchise’s original theme.  It ends with just as much of a bang with the song used at the end of the original trilogy’s final movie.  In between, the energy rises and falls at all of the right points, thus keeping listeners fully engaged throughout.  The record’s first three songs keep the energy high before things pull back a little in track 4, ‘The Force Theme.’  Things pick right back up with the record’s next two songs, ‘The Asteroid Field’ and ‘Battle of the Heroes’ before turning a little more light-hearted with the band’s cover of the famed song from the famed cantina scene in which Luke originally meets Han Solo.  The energy and emotion rises and falls just as much in the record’s final songs.  The end result is an experience that will keep listeners engaged and entertained just as much in that final group of songs just as much as any of the record’s other compositions.  All things considered, the ups and downs are expertly balanced from beginning to end, guaranteeing an experience that listeners will enjoy and appreciate.  Being that they will enjoy and appreciate that well-thought-out sequencing just as much as the record’s featured songs and their arrangements, listeners will agree that when all three elements are joined together, they make the record in whole a collection that Star Wars fans will appreciate just as much as fans of Trans Siberian Orchestra and Powerglove.  They join together to make the record a fun first effort from Galactic Empire.

Galactic Empire’s self-titled debut record is a work that Star Wars fans will appreciate just as much as fans of Powerglove, Trans Siberian Orchestra and others of their ilk.  As has been noted here, that is due in part to the songs that make up the body of the record.  They pull from the franchise’s original trilogy and its prequels.  Being that ‘The Force Theme’ is included in The Force Awakens, one could even argue to a point that even that movie is represented to a point.  That shows that this musical cosplay collective wanted to reach as many Star Wars fans as possible with this collection.  The songs’ arrangements stay largely true to the source material, even having been re-worked in a rock setting.  Truly devoted Star Wars fans will appreciate that aspect of the songs.  The sequencing rounds out the record’s most important elements.  It is clear in listening to this record that a lot of thought was put into its sequencing.  Each element is obviously important in its own right to the record’s presentation.  All things considered, Galactic Empire proves, once more, to be a fun first effort from its namesake; a record that will take listeners easily to that galaxy far, far away with every listen.  It will be available in stores and online on March 10 via Rise Records.  More information on Galactic Empire is available online with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

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

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/galacticempireofficial

 

 

 

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Galactic Empire Makes A “Forceful” Debut With Its “Star Wars Main Theme” Cover

Courtesy:  Rise Records/Velocity Records

Courtesy: Rise Records/Velocity Records

The force has officially awoken. Disney’s new mega-blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens is breaking box office records across the country right now. And more than likely so are the movie’s related ad campaigns breaking their own records. And there’s no telling just how many videos are out there featuring people performing music from the original franchise (or its prequels). Speaking of those performances there is now one more to add to that mass in the form of Galactic Empire’s (yes, that’s really the group’s name) take on the famed composition.

Galactic Empire, whose members actually don the costumes of famous figures from the Star Wars universe, debuted the video this week for its cover of composer/director John Williams’ theme from the original Star Wars franchise. The band’s performance of the song can be viewed online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPV9NNvtL20&feature=youtu.be. The performance mixes elements of djent with a power metal feel similar to that of Powerglove and others of that ilk for a take on the song that will definitely surprise audiences. It’s not all serious for the band either. There is even a little break in the six minute plus video that reveals the green screen behind the band and more. As of last night, the video had already been viewed more than one million times according to the band’s official Facebook page.

Audiences can download Galactic Empire’s performance of the ‘Star Wars Main Theme’ now via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/star-wars-theme-end-title/id1068343183?app=itunes. The song’s release comes ahead of Galactic Empire’s upcoming debut full-length album, which is currently slated for a Spring 2016 release. No official date has been announced for its release. But fans can keep up with that information and more online now at:

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

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/galacticempireofficial

 

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PBS To Release Guerrero Bio On DVD Next Month

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Pedro E. Guerrero is one of the most well-known and accomplished photographers in the world. He has worked with some of America’s top magazines. He has worked with military gunners and turned them into talented photographers in their own right and even worked with one Frank Lloyd Wright just to name a few of his many accomplishments. Now thanks to PBS, audiences will learn about all of that and much more next month when PBS and PBS Distribution release a very special episode of its hit bio series American Masters.

PBS and PBS Distribution will release American Masters: Pedro E. Guerrero–A Photographer’s Journey next month. It will be released on Tuesday, November 17th and will be released exclusively on DVD. The program focuses on the legacy left behind by the famed photographer. It follows Guerrero’s life from his earliest days enrolled in photography classes and his time serving in World War II, to his work in the worlds of media and advertising, to his work with the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and others. As an added bonus, PBS will feature via the American Masters website a digital exhibit of Guerrero’s work. American Masters will also launch an Instagram project (#PedroPBS) that encourages viewers to share their own local art and architecture photos. The best photos will be featured online via American Masters’ website, the series’ official YouTube channel, and PBS’ other social media outlets.

For educators, additional material focused on Guerrero’s life and legacy will be available online in partnership with Latino Public Broadcasting at http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/. American Masters: Pedro E. Guerrero–A Photographer’s Journey will be available Tuesday, November 17th. It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be ordered online at a discounted price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=american%20masters%20pedro%20e.%20guerrero&origkw=American+Masters+Pedro+E.+Guerrero&sr=1.

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Disrtibution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Disrtibution

A deluxe package including the book Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey for MSRP of $79.98. Though, it can be ordered online via PBS’ online store via the already noted website. More information on this and other episodes of American Masters is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters

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

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The Bots Confirmed For Summer Tour With Deftones, Incubus, Death From Above 1979

Photo Credit: Elijah Dominique

Photo Credit: Elijah Dominique

The Bots announced over the weekend that it will join Deftones and Incubus on the road this summer.

Fresh on the heels of its own US tour with Australia’s The Preatures, the duo announced over the weekend that it will join Death From Above as a support act for Incubus and Deftones on their upcoming U.S. tour. The tour kicks off July 22nd in Clarkston, MI and runs through August 30th in San Diego, California. In also includes a stop in North Carolina on August 9th. before that though, the duo is set to perform live May 30th at the Sweetlife Festival in Columbia, Maryland. The upcoming performances are all in support of The Bots’ latest full-length studio effort Pink Palms, which was released October 14th, 2014. The complete schedule for The Bots’ upcoming tour with Deftones, Incubus and Death From Above 1979 is noted below:

THE BOTS U.S. TOUR DATES

05/30    Sweetlife Festival    Columbia, MD

With Incubus, Deftones, and Death From Above 1979

07/22 DTE Energy Music Theatre Clarkston, MI*

07/23 First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre Tinley Park, IL#

07/25 Riverbend Music Center Cincinnati, OH

08/04 PNC Bank Arts Center Holmdel, NJ

08/05 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, NY

08/07 Xfinity Center Mansfield, MA*

08/08 Susquehanna Bank Center Camden, NJ

08/09 PNC Music Pavilion Charlotte, NC

08/12 Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood Atlanta, GA

08/13 MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre Tampa, FL

08/14 Coral Sky Amphitheatre West Palm Beach, FL

08/16 Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square New Orleans, LA***

08/17 Austin360 Amphitheater Austin, TX

08/19 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Houston, TX**

08/20 Gexa Energy Pavilion Dallas, TX**

08/24 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO*

08/26 Shoreline Amphitheatre Mountain View, CA

08/30 Sleep Train Amphitheatre San Diego, CA^

* on sale April 25

** on sale May 1

*** on Sale May 8

# Death From Above 1979 not appearing

^ The Bots not appearing

Audiences can check out the video for its latest single ‘Blinded’ now online via Vevo at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ7K1IO_k_c. Audiences can also check out a performance of ‘Blinded’ on NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers by clicking the picture below.

Courtesy:  BBGun Press

Courtesy: BBGun Press

More information on The Bots’ upcoming tour dates is available online now along with the duo’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.thebotsband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thebotsband

Instagram: http://instagram.com/thebotsla

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.

Tales From Wisconsin Is One Of Teenage Bottlerocket’s Best Records Yet

Courtesy:  Rise Records

Courtesy: Rise Records

Teenage Bottlerocket is one of the best punk rock bands that audiences have never heard. For almost fifteen years, this Laramie, Wyoming-based band has been making its own brand of punk rock and building its audience base. All the while, it has remained just under the mainstream radar. This is actually a good thing. That is because it has kept the band from becoming just another cookie cutter pop punk rock band a la Sum 41, Blink 182, Newfound Glory, etc. Remaining just under that mainstream radar has allowed the band to continue crafting its own brand of music more akin to its counterparts in The Lillingtons, Bowling For Soup, and others of that ilk, all the while building its legions of fans around the world. The band’s latest album Tales From Wisconsin is proof of that. It is a fourteen track, thirty-five minute record that is just as certain to have listeners singing along happily just as much as any of the band’s previous releases. This has already been proven thanks to the album’s lead single, the light-hearted ‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You),’ and its follow-up ‘They Call Me Steve.’ Both songs clearly show that nearly fifteen years after it first formed and roughly thirteen years after the release of its debut album Another Way, Teenage Bottlerocket has not lost a single step. The album’s gentle, acoustic closer ‘First Time’ shows this just as much. What’s more, it shows a certain growth from the members of Teenage Bottlerocket. Sure, the comparison to Dropkick Murphys and Green Day are inescapable here. But considering TBR’s body of work up to this point, it shows a turning point for the band and just as with the album’s first two singles shows yet again why this album is one more success from what is one of the punk realm’s best kept secrets.

TBR’s new album Tales From Wisconsin comes some thirteen years after the release of its debut record Another Way. One would think that considering how long TBR has been making music together, it would have broken through into the mainstream a long time ago when MTV and VH1 were still airing music videos and when they, along with the nation’s mainstream radio stations, were thirsting for the next big name in punk rock. Interestingly enough that never happened. Yet considering what those outlets did to the reputation of punk rock, maybe it’s a good thing that TBR never did break through. It allowed TBR to continue making its own music rather than give in to some A&R rep and other label exec along the way. Because it has manage to avoid those trappings, the band has manage to craft an album in Tales From Wisconsin–its sixth full-length studio effort–that is just as enjoyable as any of its previous recordings. That is evident early on in the record courtesy of its lead single ‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You).’ This fully tongue-in-cheek song pays homage to veteran hard rock/metal act Metallica all while presenting a story of a man who has met a woman who is just as much a fan of the band as him. The song’s standard, melodic punk sound will itself have audiences on their feet, dancing in time as Brandon Carlisle keeps time alongside brother Ray Carlisle and fellow guitarist Kody Templeman. The song’s lyrical side is just as apt to put a smile on audiences faces as Templeman makes reference after reference to Metallica’s body of work throughout the song, singing, “That guy was such a d*******/When we were sticking up for Jason Newstead/That’s when you said you loved …And Justice For All/I didn’t make up with the creeps that night/they were looking for a fight/I was totally right on/The frayed ends of sanity/The shortest straw has been pulled for me/I’ll probably fade to black someday/Unless you hit the lights and escape with me.” The references to Metallica’s extensive catalogue don’t stop here. There is also a reference to ‘The Unforgiven’ and ‘Nothing Else Matters.’ The song’s very title is itself a reference to ‘Nothing Else Matters.’ Such playful use of references coupled with the standard theme of a love found make this one of the most original compositions of its kind to be churned out by a musical act in any genre. Such originality makes clear why this song was chosen as the lead single for TFW. It also makes clear by itself what makes TFW one more wonderful release from one of the rock world’s best kept secrets. Audiences can check out the song’s lyric video online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdRrN4xQ8zk.

‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You) is one of the most original compositions about a relationship that has ever been crafted by any act in any of the music world’s many genres. The playful references to Metallica’s biggest hits as the basis for the song’s story coupled with the song’s catchy hooks and chorus makes it obvious why the song was chosen as TFW’s lead single. It also stands as just one clear example of why TBR remains today one of the best kept secrets in both the world of punk and rock in general. The song’s follow-up ‘They Call Me Steve’ shows just as clearly how much TBR has to offer on its latest release. The song’s musical side boasts even more infectious hooks and choruses throughout its two-minute, twenty-one second run time. Looking at the song from a lyrical standpoint, it is just as intriguing as Templeman sings, “I knocked down a tree with my bare hands/And I’ve been to all four corners of this land/I killed a giant spider with an iron sword/And I ran ten miles being chased by a zombie horde/They call me Steve/I’ll do anything you want me to/They call me Steve/I’ll dig a hole to Hell and back for you.” If not for the song’s companion video, which can be viewed online now, the song alone would definitely have had audiences talking. The song’s companion video is a Minecraft themed creation that perfectly complements the song’s lyrical content. It’s a love story in a video game world. The video can be viewed online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqLAkjRyiJU. In viewing the video, audiences will agree that it perfectly illustrates the story presented in the song and in turn makes the song even more enjoyable than it is on its own musical merits. The combination of the song’s musical and lyrical sides, and its companion video makes clear once again why TBR remains one of the best names in the punk realm and one of rock’s best kept secrets. Alongside ‘Nothing Else Matters (Without You),’ it shows even more clearly whyTFW is such an enjoyable record.

‘Nothing Else Matters (Without You)’ and ‘They Call Me Steve’ are both clear examples of what makes TFW such an enjoyable record both for fans that are new to the band’s material and to those that are more familiar with the band’s body of work. As much enjoyment as those songs offer audiences, there is one more song on this record that stands out even more than them as one of the album’s highest of points. That song is the album’s string-laden acoustic closer ‘First Time.’ Both musically and lyrically it presents the band’s much more rarely exhibited softer side. The comparison to Green Day and Dropkick Murphys among others is inescapable here because of that combination of music and lyrics. But being one of those truly rare times that the band has gotten to display its softer side, it makes this moment something special. It shows the band a little more willing to grow and show a more mature side from the band in comparison to what audiences have become accustomed to hearing. There is almost a certain desperation in Templeman’s voice as he sings I’m falling apart with a broken heart for the first time/I’m starting to doubt what this feeling’s about/For the first time/I stare at the wall/I’m beginning to fall…For the first time/spinning out of control/With nowhere left to go.” It’s not the standard oh, woe is me sort of delivery musically or lyrically that audiences have become all too familiar with from so many punk and emo bands. It has its own identity. Because of that, it proves yet again what makes TFW just as enjoyable as TBR’s previous records and why this veteran punk rock band remains today one of the best kept secrets of the rock world in whole. Together with ‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You)’ and ‘They Call Me Steve,’ all three songs together exhibit why this record is just as enjoyable for first time listeners and for those that are more familiar with the band’s body of work. That is not to discount the other dozen tracks that make up this record, either. Each of those tracks not noted here makes its own argument in favor of TFW, too. The whole of those tracks and those more fully noted here show clearly why every punk rock fan should hear this record regardless of their familiarity with TBR.

TBR is currently out on tour in support of its new album. It will wrap up the U.S. leg of its tour this Sunday, April 19th in Denver, Colorado before taking a few days off to recharge and prep for the European leg of its tour. That leg kicks off next Thursday, April 24th in Lindau, Germany. Fans will be able to pick up TFW at either of those shows or any of its upcoming shows, too. Fans that can’t make it to the band’s shows can also pick up TFWin stores and online. Fans can check out TBR’s latest tour dates and get more information on TFW, and where they can purchase it online now at:

Website: http://www.teenagebottlerocket.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/teenbottlerock

Instagram: http://instagram.com/teenagebottlerocket

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.

Royal Blood Performing Live Tonight On Conan

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

Fans of the hugely popular British rock duo Royal Blood will get to see the band live tonight on TV. There’s just one catch. They have to be able to stay up late to see the pair perform.

Royal Blood is scheduled to perform live tonight on Conan. There is currently no word on which song or songs the duo will perform. The performance is part of Royal Blood’s ongoing support for its self-titled debut album released via Warner Brothers Records late last year. The dup is currently on tour in support of its self-titled debut. It is currently scheduled to perform live tomorrow, April 17th in Pamona, California before a sold out crowd before making an appearance this weekend at the annual Coachella Festival in Indio, California.

Conan airs Monday through Friday on TBS at 11:00pm EST. Fans can get more information on tonight’s performance on Conan along with information on Royal Blood’s upcoming tour online at:

Website: http://royalbloodband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/royalblooduk

Instagram: http://instagram.com/royalblooduk

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.

Garbage Premieres Video For Record Store Day Release

record-store-day-2015

Record Store Day 2015 is this Saturday, April 18th. In honor of the annual celebration of all things vinyl, Garbage has released the video for a song that will be included on its own Record Store Day release.

Garbage has debuted the video for its song ‘The Chemicals’ online via YouTube. The video, directed by Sophie Muller, places the song over footage of a small punk rock club. In its own way, the homage to the punk rock clubs of days past is a link to the small indie record shops that are still peppered (albeit seemingly less and less) across America. As Garbage front woman Shirley Manson explains of the reason for the footage, “”We’ve always been talking about the beauty of small punk clubs. We were sort of rueing with the loss of a lot of those clubs that Sophie and I grew up in – that sort of sweaty excitement and the sensuality that comes when you cram people in such a tiny space.”

‘The Chemicals’ is one of two songs that Garbage will release on a special fluorescent orange 10” vinyl this Saturday. The disc will be released via the band’s own label Stunvolume at select independent record stores across the country. Fans can see a full list of independent record stores in their area online at http://www.recordstoreday.com/Venues. More information on Garbage’s new Record Store Day release is available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://garbage.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/garbage

Instagram: http://instgram.com/garbage

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.