Mark C. Daniel Debuts New Single, ‘Sign Za Life’

Courtesy: CowgirlZen Entertainment

Independent singer-songwriter-musician Mark C. Daniel kicked off the weekend by debuting his latest single.

Daniel debuted his new single, ‘Sign Za Life‘ (pronounced like ‘Signs of Life’) Friday. The song features an up-tempo percussion-driven arrangement. The steady time keeping and drums’ rich sound pairs with the guitar line, vocals, and bass to give the song a vintage rock and roll style and sound a la Jerry Lee Lewis. At the same time, there is also a sort of modern rock touch that exhibits influence of bands, such as The Black Crowes and Led Zeppelin.

The Led Zeppelin comparison is not accidental, either, as Daniel noted in comments about the song’s arrangement.

“This was the last song we recorded in this session and the first take of it,” said Daniel. “Mickey Curry – Drums(the Cult, Bryan Adams, Alice Cooper) felt like adding a few John Bonham-‘esque punches in the Verses. It created an interesting dynamic and added a “Zeppelin Feel.” We are all huge classic rock fans so it felt great. I let the electric energy of the live room take over which is interesting in that I actually wrote this song on an acoustic as a slow-burning Blues song. It felt like we were going to go off the rails a few times but that’s exactly what gives the song its honesty and true to form edgy feel.”

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the song’s premiere. Listening to the song, the lyrics come across as a sort of social commentary. That is of course just this critic’s interpretation.

More information on Mark C. Daniel’s new single is available along with all of his latest news at:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/markdanielmusic

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.

Greta Van Fleet’s Sophomore LP Shows Some Growth From The Band

Courtesy: Lava/Republic Records

Early this spring, up-and-coming new wave of classic rock band Greta Van Fleet released its sophomore album, The Battle at Garden’s Gate.  The band’s sophomore album, it was also the band’s major label debut, as it was released through Lava/Republic Records.  That major label support was itself a big statement about the band’s place in the rock community today.  It was a statement of support for and belief in the band.  That support was and is justified, too.  That is because this record actually presents the band as a group that really has made a valid attempt to evolve and grow away from the nonstop comparisons that it received upon the release of its debut album and EP.  ‘Age of Machine,’ the album’s lead single serves well to support the noted statement.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘The Barbarians,’ one of the album’s later entries, is another way in which that growth and evolution is exhibited in this record.  It will be discussed a little later.  The album’s contemplative midpoint, ‘Tears of Rain’ is yet another example of the band’s growth and evolution.  It will also be discussed later.  All three songs examined here do their own part to show Greta Van Fleet’s growth on its latest album.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album a record that while maybe not perfect, still an improvement over its predecessors and gives some hope for the band’s future.

Greta Van Fleet’s recently released sophomore album, The Battle at Garden’s Gateis a strong new statement from the band.  It is a statement of growth and development from the up-and-coming new wave of classic rock act.  That is proven in part through the album’s lead single, ‘Age of Machine.’ The song is a stark stylistic contrast to the band’s existing body of work. The song’s arrangement sets a decidedly brooding atmosphere through the use of its guitars, bass, and heavy drums. Yes, front man Joshua Kiszka is still easily likened to Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant here, but that is the closest comparison that one can make here.  The production that is used in the song gives the sound from the band in whole a certain echo effect. The guitar riffs throw back to the golden age of rock thanks to that production and their own approach. The drums and bass collectively sound so full, too, while the use of the choral vocal element adds its own touch to the song. 

The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement touches on a familiar topic. According to information provided about the song, its lyrics center on “the influence of technology on modern life; the role conflict plays in the global sphere; the deceptive fulfillment of tangible riches; and philosophical questions about life, love and power.”

Jake Kiszka offered an explanation on the song’s lyrical theme during a recent interview ahead of the song’s debut.

“It’s reflecting a lot of the world that we’ve seen, and I think that it’s reflecting a lot of personal truth.  What [front man] Josh  does very well with the lyrics is telling ancient tales with a contemporary application,” said Jake.

Drummer Danny Wagner built on his band mate’s comments with his own thoughts.

“We realized that while growing up, we had been shielded by many things, and we were unaware of a lot of things,” said Wagner.  “And then we were thrown out into this huge world, and it was a bit of a culture shock at first.  But as we started to travel a lot, meet new and different people and experience different cultures, our definition of ‘normal’ changed.”

Bassist Sam Kiszka also shared his thoughts on the band’s single.

“I suppose that everything has changed except what got us here in the first place,” added Sam.  “Everything – our perception of the world, perception of life itself, what it means to be an artist, what it means to be part of a beautiful, gorgeous society.  We’ve gained a larger understanding of why we’re all here.”

’Age of Machine’ is just one of the songs that serves to exhibit Greta Van Fleet’s growth in this album.  As noted, ‘The Barbarians’ is another example of that growth and development.

The familiar neo-classic rock sound and stylistic approach for which Greta Van Fleet has come to be known over such a short time is just as present here as in ‘Age of Machine’ and the other songs featured in this album.  The thing is that even with that in mind, this song still holds its own unique identity separate from the album’s other works.  There is more of a brooding, almost contemplative nature to this composition.  That is in comparison to all of the other work featured in the album.  The seeming tightness and warmth from the guitar and the definition in the drums and bass serves well to translate that feeling.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song makes for its own interest.

In the case of the lyrical content featured here, it comes across as a familiar commentary about mankind’s tendency toward conflict.  That is inferred with some clarity in the song’s lead verse and chorus, which state, “Children with their toys of war/ Birthright of death with a fiery breath/Funeral of innocence/Painted up in the red and dressed in lead/We are/Are we prisoners or renegades?/Well, I’ve done my time, woah/Behold visions of burning skies/Alas, Babylon/Woah, whoah, whoah, whoah.”  The seeming commentary is made even clearer in the song’s second, brief verse, which states, “Mothers of barbarians, woah/Were your young so spry when they left to die?/We are”  This is all just this critic’s interpretation, but it certainly seems in this case, that the song is addressing people’s tendency toward war and fighting in general.  If in fact that is the case, then it would make sense that the song’s arrangement is so brooding and contemplative in its nature.  Keeping that in mind, the whole here shows even more why the album is at least somewhat of a growth from GFV’s debut EP and album.  It is just one more example of the album’s strength.  The album’s even more contemplative midpoint, ‘Tears of Rain’ is yet another example of the continued growth in Greta Van Fleet as a unit.

‘Tears of Rain’ is a deeply moving, semi-acoustic work whose depth creates so much emotional impact for audiences.  The simple strumming on the guitar alongside the vocals here work with the piano and electric guitar line to tug at listeners’ heart strings.  To a point, one can make more of a comparison to works from The Beatles than Led Zeppelin.  The song’s musical arrangement is just one of its positives.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement makes for its own appeal.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Tears of Rain’ comes across as yet another social commentary, despite what the song’s title infers.  In this case, the commentary comes across as addressing the state of the world.  This is inferred in the song’s lead verse and chorus as they state, “Bathing in the light around us/Praying for the night to comfort thee/Dancing on the coals below us/Praying for the flood to set us free/And the planet is still turning/And the faces are still burning/And the mother with their children/search for the rain.  That mention of the rain circles back to the song’s title.  The rest of the lead verse and chorus it seems to comment on all the negativity and how we are just wishing for things to get better and the suffering to end.  The song’s second verse tends to lean in the same direction as it states, “Drifting through the plains before us/As it turns to dust before our eyes/Pleading for a god to pour us/Just a little bit of rain from an empty sky.”  Again, here is that call for some higher power to make things better in all of the misery.  It makes the song’s moody musical arrangement make more sense, looking at all of this.  To that end, the song is just one more example of what makes The Battle at Garden’s Gate a positive new offering from Greta Van Fleet.  When this and the other songs featured in the album, the whole makes the album a record that while not perfect, still a mostly enjoyable new addition to this year’s field of new rock albums.

Greta Van Fleet’s sophomore album, Battle at Garden’s Gate is a record that is worth hearing at least once.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The content shows some growth from the band members themselves and as a collective.  It shows that the band cannot still be solely likened to Led Zeppeling, even despite the clear vocal similarities.  That will always be unavoidable.  Regardless, the arrangements and lyrical themes show the band is growing and changing.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes the album an unsuspectingly positive addition to this year’s field of new rock records.  Battle at Garden’s Gate is available now through Lava/Republic Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://mywaysoon.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/gretavanfleet

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/GretaVanFleet

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.

Dirty Honey’s Self-Titled Debut LP Succeeds Because Of Its Fully Accessible Musical, Lyrical Content

Courtesy: Dirt Records

Independent rock and roll act Dirty Honey will release Friday, what is one of 2021’s most  welcome and best new pure guitar rock albums in its self-titled album.  The eight-song record has been the subject of a lot of hype since 2019, and it can be said that the album lives up to that hype and then some.  That is evidenced clearly through the 28-minute album’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes, all of which are fully accessible.  One of the songs featured in the album that serves to support the noted statements comes halfway through its nearly half-hour run time in the form of ‘Hold My Hand.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Another Last Time,’ which closes out the album, is another example of how its musical and lyrical content comes together to make the album so engaging and entertaining.  It will be discussed a little later.   ‘The Wire,’ one of the album’s early entries, is yet another example of the importance of the album’s collective content.  It will also be discussed later.  All three songs examined here are important in their own way to the success of Dirty Honey’s self-titled debut album.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes Dirty Honey a work that every guitar rock purist will enjoy.

Dirty Honey’s self-titled debut album is a strong start for the up-and-coming neo-classic rock quartet.  The album’s success comes collectively through its musical arrangements and lyrical themes.  One of the songs that most notably exemplifies the noted statements comes halfway through the album in the form of ‘Take My Hand.’  The musical arrangement in this song is the polar opposite of that in the album’s lead single, ‘California Dreamin’’.  Not to get too far off topic, but ‘California Dreamin’ is not to be confused with the song made popular by The Mamas and the Papas way back in 1965.  rather, this song is its own, original composition.  Getting back on the matter at hand, the musical arrangement featured in ‘Take My Hand’ immediately lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of Small Town Titans and Audioslave.  The Audioslave comparison should come as no surprise considering that Dirty Honey worked with producer Nick DiDia on this album.  DiDia worked with Tom Morello and his band mates in Rage Against the Machine (whose members eventually formed Audioslave after a split with front man Zach De La Rocha in 2000).  Clearly DiDia’s own creative influence came into play here, considering that history.  The guitar arrangement, the drums and bass all immediately mirror works from Audioslave.  Front man Marc LaBelle’s vocal fiery vocal delivery style and sound is itself even comparable to that of the late, great Chris Cornell here, making the Audioslave comparison even clearer.  For all that the song’s musical arrangement does to make it stand out, it is just a portion of what makes the song (and album) work.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical content also plays into that success.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Take My Hand’ stands out because of the discussion that it will generate.  It would seem that, in listening closely, the song’s lyrical content presents a message about letting go of the past and just moving forward in life.  This is inferred in the song’s lead verse, in which Labelle sings, “No time to change/The mistakes you made/And if I carry the weight/It’s the price I have to pay/But I wanted all your love/And I needed all your love…take my hand/You’ll understand/I’m just a sinner, too/There’s no way out/We’re headed south/I’m lonely just like you.”  This alone would seem to hint at someone telling another person that he/she knows about the other person’s past but that said person needs to just leave the past in the past because things in the present are what they are and that other person is not alone in his/her situation.  The seeming message continues in the song’s second verse, with LaBelle singing, “Hide in the light/Stories that you told/Paying no mind/To your wicked ways of old/When I wanted all your love/And I needed all your love/It drove me out of my mind/Take my hand/You might understand/I’m just a sinner, too/There’s no way out/We’re headed south/Don’t play me for a fool.”  Again, here is that seeming message of just letting go of the past, not letting it weigh one down mentally and emotionally.  LaBelle does not just come out and make clear if the overall lyrical theme has anything to do with perhaps a couple in a relationship or if this is just a general statement made from one person to another.  Regardless, the seeming message is relatively clear.  When it is paired with the song’s infectious musical arrangement, the whole makes the song a clear example of what makes the album’s musical and lyrical content so important to the album’s overall presentation.  ‘Another Last Time,’ which closes out the album, is another example of what makes Dirty Honey a successful presentation.

‘Another Last Time’ presents a musical arrangement that will itself find quite the interesting comparison.  The song’s opening bars lend themselves to comparison to Pearl Jam’s hit 1992 b-side, ‘Yellow Ledbetter.’  That comparison is brief, but is there.  From there, listeners will notice a sound and stylistic approach that is more akin to works from the Black Crowes, what with the combined use of the keyboard, choral type backing vocals, guitar, and drums.  It is a work that will appeal to any southern rock fan.  The tone in the song’s arrangement, that sense of melancholy, does well to help illustrate the familiar story featured in the song’s lyrical content.  The story in question comes across as being that familiar tale of the breakup of a romantic relationship, with the “last time” being metaphorical language for the one last go-round.

The breakup story is made even more as LaBelle’s subject adds in the song’s chorus, “Tell me what it takes/’Til you find your way back to me/And we’ll say/One last time/Another last time/Another go round and we say goodbye.”  That the song’s subject compares the woman in question to whiskey and rain, stating, “Lord knows when I’ll see her face again” in the song’s lead verse adds even more to the clear story.  He even notes that the woman has “Got me wondering/Why I’m holding on to this,” making even clearer, the noted statement.  This is a mournful, melancholy song about a relationship’s end, thus the lyrical and musical content.  The thing is that it is more of an introspective and retrospective look at that relationship.  This is something to which many listeners will relate, proving its accessibility.  When it is paired with the song’s equally accessible southern rock stylistic approach and sound, the whole continues to prove the role of the musical and lyrical content featured in Dirty Honey’s self-titled debut album.  It is just one more example of that importance, too.  ‘The Wire,’ which comes early in the album’s body, is one more example of what makes the album’s collective content so important to its success.

‘The Wire’ presents a musical arrangement that is one of the most unique of the album’s compositions.  The song’s arrangement immediately exhibits influences from the likes of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and even the aforementioned Black Crowes.  Even with so many distinctly different influences presented here, the band still manages to craft a song that is unique and that boasts its own identity.  The energy exuded by the song’s musical arrangement is important to examine because it helps to translate the message presented through the song’s lyrical content.

The message presented in ‘The Wire’ is that of a man who knows he needs to get away from a woman who is not good for him, but he can’t help but keep going back to her.  That is evidenced as LaBelle sings, “This wasn’t part of the plan/I  never wanted to see you again/I’m a fool for you/And those things that you do/Can’t get this picture of you out of my head…I’ve been walking the wire/And I’ve been walking your wire for too long…turn and walk away.”  This is just the song’s lead verse, but it makes relatively clear the noted inference.  The song’s second verse continues the statement as LaBelle sings, “Thought it would get better with time/But your kisses, baby/They still blow my mind/I’m a fool for you/And those things that you do/The way that you love me is such a crime.”  That last statement about the mistreatment in the relationship is the most telling.  Again, this is someone who knows he is in a bad situation, but can’t bring himself to just walk away.  He keeps getting drawn back into the toxic situation because “your kisses, baby/They still blow my mind.”  While the song is sung from the vantage point of a man, women could relate just as much.  That is because they get into the same situations.  To that end, the song’s lyrical theme proves its accessibility even more.  The energy exhibited through the song’s musical arrangement does well to help illustrate the subject’s mixed mindset.  Together, the two elements join to make this song another standout addition to Dirty Honey, showing once more why the record’s musical and lyrical content collectively makes it such a successful offering.  When this song and the other examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole leaves no question about the engagement and entertainment that the record offers.  All things considered, it leaves no doubt that the album is one of this year’s top new independent and rock albums.

Dirty Honey’s self-titled debut album is a strong first offering from the up-and-coming rock band.  It succeeds as much as it does because of its combined musical and lyrical content.  The record’s musical arrangements exhibit influences of some of the most talented and respected bands past and present throughout.  Even with those influences noted, the arrangements still boast their own unique, engaging, and enjoyable identities.  They are fully accessible and enjoyable compositions from one to the next.  The lyrical themes featured in the album’s featured songs are just as engaging and accessible as their musical counterparts.  All three of the songs examined here more than support the noted statements.  When they are considered alongside the rest of the songs featured in this record, the whole makes Dirty Honey a standout addition to this year’s field of new rock and independent albums.  Dirty Honey is scheduled for release Friday through Dirt Records.

More information on Dirty Honey’s new record is available along with the group’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.dirtyhoney.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/DirtyHoneyMusic

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/dirtyhoneyband

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

The Lancasters Takes On Scammers In New Single, Video

Courtesy: Rivertale Productions/Fuzzy Cracklins Records/Epidemic Records

Independent rock band The Lancasters debuted its latest single last week, along with its companion video.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Scallywag‘ and its companion video April 5. The musical arrangement featured in The Lancasters’ new single bears a notable classic rock vibe in the vein of Lynyrd Skynyrd. That is evidenced through the use of the distorted slide guitar, the rich sound of the drums and equally steady bass line. One could just as easily make a comparison (albeit slight) to works from Led Zeppelin.

The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement takes on scammers who use television and other media to take people’s money.

Front man Dave (his last name was not provided in the news release announcing the single and video’s premiere) talked about the song’s lyrical theme.

“I have to say that I really enjoy it when I find people chatting about stars and cosmic flows that bring some kind of energy,” he said. “But what I enjoy the most is to sabotage these s****y fake beliefs from the inside”

Dave’s band mates Steve and Fred (their last names also were not provided in the noted press release) expanded on those statements.

“It’s kind of a personal revenge, we can’t stand these pricks and the lies they spread on TV,” they said. “All that glitters is not gold, sometimes it’s just plastic garbage.”

The video for ‘Scallywag’ illustrates and translates the band members’ statements. It features the trio as a group of fake psychics trying to scam viewers as the song plays over the silly visuals.

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

Website: https://thelancastersband.bandcamp.com

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

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.

Greta Van Fleet Debuts New Single, ‘Heat Above’

Courtesy: Lava/Republic Records

Greta Van Fleet debuted its latest single this week.

The band debuted its new single ‘Heat Above‘ Wednesday. The song is the third single from the band’s forthcoming album The Battle at Garden’s Gate, which is scheduled for release April 16 through Lava/Republic Records. It follows the premiere of the album’s singles ‘Age of Machine‘ and ‘My Way, Soon.’

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Heat Above’ continues to show Greta Van Fleet’s evolving growth away from its comparisons to Led Zeppelin. While front man Joshua Kizka’s vocals still closely resemble those of Robert Plant, that is the only real link to Led Zeppelin this song has. Kizka’s vocals, as a matter of fact, pair with the song’s instrumentation here to make the song overall just as comparable to works from Rush as to those from Led Zeppelin.

No explanation of the song’s lyrical theme was provided in the press release distributed Wednesday about the song’s debut. That aside, the lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement is sure to connect with listeners in its own right.

In other news, the track listing for The Battle at Garden’s Gate was revealed Wednesday. The listing is noted below.

Complete track-listing:

1.  Heat Above

2.  My Way, Soon

3.  Broken Bells

4.  Built by Nations

5.  Age of Machine

6.  Tears of Rain

7.  Stardust Chords

8.  Light My Love

9.  Caravel

10. The Barbarians

11. Trip the Light Fantastic

12. The Weight of Dreams

More information on Greta Van Fleet’s new single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://mywaysoon.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/gretavanfleet

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/GretaVanFleet

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.

Any Guitar Rock Purist Will Appreciate The Straddlerz’ Self-Titled Debut LP

Courtesy: Independent Music Promotions

Independent rock act The Straddlerz’ self-titled debut album is among the most notable of this year’s new independent albums.  Released by the duo – Linda Filippin (vocals) and Michael Reynal (guitars) — Jan. 29, the nine-song record is continued proof that independent music acts deserve just as much attention and credit as their more well-known mainstream counterparts.  That is proven easily through the recording’s musical and lyrical content.  The record’s musical arrangements take influence from some of the greatest music of the 1960s, 70s, and even 80s for its own original compositions while the lyrical content generates its own share of entertainment and engagement.  Case in point is the bluesy ‘Don’t Go Away,’ which comes late in the 35-minute record’s run.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Without You,’ with its driving vintage guitar rock sound is another example of why this band and its debut album deserve so much attention.  It will be addressed a little later.  ‘Circle of Insanity,’ which forms a portion of the album’s midpoint, is yet another example of how this album has managed to stand out among this year’s field of new rock and even independent albums.  When it and the other songs noted here are considered with the rest of the album’s content, the whole proves it is as deserving of its own spot on this year’s list of top new independent albums.

The Straddlerz’ self-titled debut album is a work that guitar rock purists and independent music devotees alike will appreciate.  That is because its musical arrangements and lyrical content collectively shows it is just as powerful a presentation as anything that its more well-known mainstream counterparts have crafted in recent years.  ‘Don’t Go Away’ is just one way in which the noted statements are supported.  Right from its opening strains, the song’s arrangement lends itself to comparisons to Led Zeppelin’s performance of ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.’  That is evidenced in the slow, bluesy sound of the guitar and the steady drums and bass.  Filippin’s vocal delivery even lends itself to that comparison in its own way.  Making the arrangement even more interesting is that the noted comparison is juxtaposed by the song’s much heavier chorus sections.  The heavy, grinding sound of the whole in the chorus is more of a modern garage influence.  The contrast of those two styles is balanced expertly and ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  Interestingly enough, the musical content featured in this recording is not the only aspect that takes a cue from Robert Plant and company.  The song’s very title is its own ironic echo of Led Zeppelin’s song, as is the lyrical content that accompanies that title and musical content.

Filippin sings in the song’s lead verse, “Stay with me/Don’t go away/Tell me a story/I can believe…The dream is over/My mind’s wide open/And I see now/The  her is bad/It’s just me and myself/And I say/Don’t go/Don’t go far away/Don’t go away/Don’t go away.”  Some of the lyrics in this verse are difficult to decipher sans lyrics sheet to reference, but the seeming message here is relatively clear even at this point.  Filippina continues in the song’s second verse, “Your touch/On my skin/Soft like those flowers in spring/You left me here/With no goodbyes/Now I say/Don’t go away/Don’t turn away.”  At this point, the song’s lyrical message leaves virtually no doubt as to its topic.  This is, as inferred, one of those songs that centers on a breakup, much as with Led Zeppelin’s take of ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You.’  Even with such comparisons, The Straddlerz’ song still boasts its own unique identity, showing in its own way musically and lyrically why the band and is debut album are equally deserving of respect.  It is just one of the songs that makes clear why the noted respected is so deserved.  ‘Without You’ is another way in which the noted statements are supported.

‘Without You’ is, musically speaking, a direct contrast to ‘Don’t Go Away.’  This song, with its fuzzed guitar and vocals, rich drum sound and bass, is a powerful indie-garage rock style work that lends itself to comparisons to some of the greatest works of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, while also again incorporating some more modern garage rock influence to enrich the song even more.  It is a sound that both in its execution and production does so well to create that sense of nostalgia that succeeds so well where so many other bands, both well-known and not, have failed.  It is an infectious work that in even just under three-and-a-half minutes, leaves listeners feeling fulfilled by the time it hits that last note.  The song’s  lyrical content works with the fiery energy in the musical arrangement to make for even more engagement and entertainment.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Without You’ is, as the song’s title suggests, another work that centers on the topic of a relationship.  In the case of this song, the song’s subject is more confident.  Much of the song’s lyrical content is difficult to decipher because of the song’s production – there is a lot of fuzz even on the vocal track here – but there are points at which Filippin’s vocals are decipherable, and they make the message clear.  There is a point at which Fillipin sings about having a “view from the dark/And I’m ready to shine” that hints at that confidence.  As the song continues to  progress, she makes mention of giving “No mercy at all” which bolsters the inferred statement even more before stating just as forcefully, “I’m gonna feel what I want to/Without you.”  Simply put, this is someone who feels wholly liberated from a bad situation and is embracing the end of that broken relationship.  It is another point that is certain to resonate with listeners, what with the strength exuded in the lyrical content and equally fiery musical arrangement.  The whole makes this song another clear example of why The Straddlerz’ self-titled debut album is such a strong start for the duo.  It is just one more of the ways in which the album shows its strength.  ‘Circle of Insanity’ is yet another way in which the album shows it holds its own against so many of its counterparts.

‘Circle of Insanity’ takes a cue from another classic rock icon in its musical arrangement, this time not only Joan Jett and company, but also the one and only Lita Ford.  That latter is especially evidenced in the driving metal approach taken here.  Yes, there is a hint of the semi-punk style of Jett and company, but the metal influence is far more prevalent here.  Even Filippin’s vocal delivery style matches that of Ford more than Jett.  That musical content couples with the song’s lyrical content to make for even more engagement and entertainment. 

In the case of this song’s lyrical content, once again much of the noted content is difficult to decipher.  However, at least the chorus and some of the verses can be deciphered.  From what can be understood, it would seem that the song here is focused more on the subject’s connection in general to someone else, not romantically, but plutonically.  That is inferred as Fillipin noted in the chorus sings that “this life drives me insane.”  There are points in the chorus in which she also makes note of wanting to change and not be like another unidentified person.  Early on in the song’ Fillipin’s subject even tells the unidentified person, “You don’t really understand me” and that “I hate your point of view,” adding, “I don’t want to be like you.”  So clearly this song has nothing to do with romance at all.  Maybe it is the subject standing up to someone in a household or even someone she/he knows who is not the best person in the world.  Whoever that person is, the subject has had enough of that person and is letting that person know it, too.  It is another wholly accessible theme to which plenty of listeners will relate.  Add the fiery energy in the song’s classic metal style arrangement, and the song becomes even more powerful among the album’s entries.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole proves itself a presentation that is easily just as enjoyable as anything that The Straddlerz’ more well-known mainstream counterparts have crafted.

The Straddlerz’ self-titled debut album, released independently by the band Jan. 29, is a powerful work that any guitar rock purist will find enjoyable.  That is proven throughout the album from start to finish through its musical and lyrical content.  The songs examined here do well to help support the noted statements.  When those songs are considered along with the rest of the album’s other songs, the whole becomes a work that continues to prove why independent acts deserve just as much respect and attention as their more well-known mainstream counterparts.  That respect and attention could potentially make a band, such as The Straddlerz one of the next big mainstream rock acts.  The Straddlerz is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://thestraddlerz.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/straddlerz

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.   

Saxon Announces Title, Release Date, Specs For New Covers Collection

Courtesy: Silver Linings Music

Saxon will open the new year with a new covers record.

The band is scheduled to release its new collection, aptly titled Inspirations, March 19 through Silver Linings Music. The 11-song record features covers of songs from bands, such as The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, and Thin Lizzy. Audiences can hear the band’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ famed song ‘Painted Black,’ which is featured in the compilation, here.

Front man Biff Byford, who released his own solo record School of Hard Knocks this year, talked about the band’s new compilation during a recent interview.

“We wanted to do an album based on our influences, the songs and bands that inspired us to write what we did and still do, and it was also interesting to see what my voice could do as I haven’t sung many of these songs before,” said Byford.  “We didn’t want to change any of the songs too much, just play them more like Saxon.  And we also think it’s very important to have – and share with the fans – some fun in these dark times.”

Alongside the noted covers, Saxon’s forthcoming compilation also features covers of songs from other acts, such as Motorhead, Toto, and Led Zeppelin. The collection was recorded at Brockfield Hall near York, in the United Kingdom. the structure was constructed in 1804 and houses the largest collection of paintings from Yorkshire’s impressionist artists — The Staiths.

Byford talked about recording in the facility during his noted interview.

“The warmth and feel of Inspirations had so much to do with being together in this magnificent place and doing it ‘old-school’ style,” said Byford. “This is how many bands back in the day -including some of the ones covered here- made such great albums, so it just felt really good to be able to do this somewhere like Brockfield Hall.”

Inspirations‘ track listing is noted below. The album will release on CD, vinyl, and digital outlets. Pre-orders are open.

Track Listing:

  1. Paint It Black
  2. Immigrant Song
  3. Paperback Writer
  4. Evil Woman
  5. Stone Free
  6. Bomber
  7. Speed King
  8. The Rocker
  9. Hold The Line
  10. Problem Child
  11. See My Friends

 More information on Inspirations is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.saxon747.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/saxon

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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.

Greta Van Fleet Announces New LP Title, Release Date; Debuts Album’s Second Single

Courtesy: Lava/Republic Records

Greta Van Fleet’s next album will come in the new year.

The band announced it will release its new album The Battle at Garden’s Gate on April 16 through Lava/Republic Records. Pre-orders are open.

In anticipation of the album’s pending release, the band debuted its second single, ‘Age Of Machines‘ Thursday. The single’s premiere comes less than two months after the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘My Way, Soon’ and its companion video.

While ‘My Way, Soon’ continues the lend itself to comparison to Led Zeppelin, GVF’s latest single is a stark stylistic contrast to its existing body of work. The song’s arrangement sets a decidedly brooding atmosphere through the use of its guitars, bass, and heavy drums. Yes, front man Joshua Kiszka is still easily likened to Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant here, but that is the closes comparison that one can make.

The production that is used in the song gives the sound from the band in whole a certain echo effect. The guitar riffs throw back to the golden age of rock thanks to that production and their own approach. The drums and bass collectively sound so full, too, while the use of the choral vocal element adds its own touch to the song.

The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement touches on a familiar topic. According to information provided about the song, its lyrics center on “the influence of technology on modern life; the role conflict plays in the global sphere; the deceptive fulfillment of tangible riches; and philosophical questions about life, love and power.”

Kiszka addressed the song’s lyrical content, albeit indirectly, during a recent interview.

“There was a lot of self-evolution happening during the writing of this album that was prompted by experiences I had, experiences we all had, so a lot of contemplation occurred,” he said.

Kaje Jiszka expanded on Josh’s comments.

“It’s reflecting a lot of the world that we’ve seen, and I think that it’s reflecting a lot of personal truth.  What Josh does very well with the lyrics is telling ancient tales with a contemporary application,” said Jake.

Drummer Danny Wagner built on his band mates’ comments with his own thoughts, discussing not just the band’s new single, but the group’s forthcoming album, too.

“We realized that while growing up, we had been shielded by many things, and we were unaware of a lot of things,” said Wagner.  “And then we were thrown out into this huge world, and it was a bit of a culture shock at first.  But as we started to travel a lot, meet new and different people and experience different cultures, our definition of ‘normal’ changed.”

Bassist Sam Kiszka also shared his thoughts on the band’s new material.

“I suppose that everything has changed except what got us here in the first place,” added Sam.  “Everything – our perception of the world, perception of life itself, what it means to be an artist, what it means to be part of a beautiful, gorgeous society.  We’ve gained a larger understanding of why we’re all here.”

Greg Kurstin (Adele, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney) produced The Battle at Garden’s Gate.

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

Websitehttp://mywaysoon.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/gretavanfleet

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/GretaVanFleet

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.

Ace Frehley’s New Record Is The Exception To The Rule About Covers Compilations

Courtesy: eOne

Covers collections are a dime a dozen.  From one genre within the bigger musical universe to the next, they are overly abundant offerings.  There is no denying that in the bigger picture of things, covers collections are little more than space fillers used by acts for the purpose of fulfilling contractual obligations between new albums.  Many of those albums are that and little more.  However, every now and then at least one rarity rises above the rest to do at least a little more, and actually show some value.  Ace Frehley’s latest covers compilation is one of those rarities.  Released Friday through eOne, the 12-song record stands out in part because of its featured covers.  This will be discussed shortly.  The performances of the songs play their own part in the album’s presentation and will be discussed a little later.  The production that went into the record rounds out its most important elements and will be addressed later, too.  Each noted item is important in its own right to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make Frehley’s latest space filler a work that will appeal to plenty of classic rock fans.

Ace Frehley’s latest covers compilation, released Friday through eOne, is an interesting addition to this year’s field of new space fillers.  That is because unlike its counterparts, it actually proves itself to actually be worth at least some value.  That is due in part to the record’s featured songs.  While there are some notable works featured in the record from some very well-known bands, there are also some lesser-known deep cuts from those bands, too.  Mountain’s ‘Never in my Life’ is an example of one of those deep cuts.  The band is well-known, and while Climbing!, the album in which the song is featured, is considered a hit for Mountain, the song itself was never considered to be one of the album’s biggest hits.  ‘I’m Down,’ which was a b-side to The Beatles’ hit song ‘Help!,’ is another example of Frehley including a lesser-known work from a big name band in this record.  Cream’s ‘Politician’ is yet another example of the noted lesser-known songs featuring in this record.  While the album in which the song is featured – Wheels of Fire – is the world’s first platinum-selling double album, the song was never used as a single.  To that end, it is more of a deep cut.

On the other end of the spectrum, works, such as The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s ‘Manic Depression’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Space Truckin’’ (whose lyrics Frehley changes slightly here when he sings, “we’re space ace truckin’) are examples of the more well-known works featured in the album.  Between these songs and the lesser-known pieces is in reality a little bit of a rock music history lesson.  Audiences get to learn about some big name bands (I.E. The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin) and those who were more mid-level (Mountain, Paul Revere & The Raiders) while also getting a starting point on discussions on the acts and their catalogs.  What’s more, being that those lesser-known works are rarely if ever played on corporate terrestrial radio and are just as rarely presented in other acts’ covers compilations, their inclusion adds to their importance.  Keeping all of this in mind, the compilation’s featured songs actually prove at least some value to its presentation.

While the songs featured in Frehley’s new covers set present at least some value, the performances of said songs plays just as much importance if not more.  That is because while Frehley and his fellow musicians do stay at least somewhat true to their source material throughout the record, they  also give the songs a new updated sound.  Case in point is the group’s performance of The Rolling Stones’ hit song ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’  The Rolling Stones’ original composition is energetic in its own right, and the band’s live performances of the song step things up in the song even more.  Frehley and company’s version here however really amps things up.  Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards’ guitars are replaced in this case by that of Frehley and guitar goddess Lita Ford.  The duo also takes on Mick Jagger’s vocals jointly and definitely take things collectively in a whole new direction.  It should be noted that Ford does drop some f-bombs here, so some listener discretion is advised.  Honestly, its disappointing that Ford would work blue here since the original song did not need any foul language in order to be enjoyable.  Charlie Watts’ steady, subtle time keeping has even been replaced by an equally heavy drum line here.  Simply put, the performance in whole does stay true to the source material in terms of sound, but in terms of style it is a completely different song.  So that is certain to generate its own share of interest and discussion among listeners.

The group’s take on The Animals’ ‘We Gotta Get Outta Here’ is another example of the importance of the performances of the featured songs here.  The Animals’ original rendition of the song was grounded in its bass line and vocals.  In the case of Frehley and company’s take on the song, Frehley takes on the bass line, using the guitar instead for that famous line.  Between that, the semi-operatic vocal delivery and the bombastic drumming, the whole of the song takes on a distinctly 80s hair metal vibe that echoe the sounds of KISS (no surprise there) instead of presenting the song in its more subdued original presentation.  At the same time, considering that the song’s lyrical content focuses on a relationship matter and “needing to get out of this place,” the song’s energy in this presentation does seem to work in its own right.  To that end, it is sure to generate its own share of interest and engagement.

On another hand, the performance of The Beatles’ I’m Down’ stays almost true stylistically to its source material.  Yes, it’s amped up compared to the original, but compared to let’s say The Beatles’ performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, this performance actually echoes that performance relatively well, even despite being so amped up.  As a matter of fact, this performance is actually a step up from the Beatles’ original song.  That is not to say that The Beatles’ original is bad by any means.  That should not be misconstrued.  Rather, Frehley and company took a song that was great to begin with and stepped it up, improving upon it even more.  Between this performance, the others noted here and the rest of the collection’s performances, it can be said that the performances pose their own importance to the record’s presentation just as much as the songs themselves.  The performances are just one more part of what makes the collection worth hearing, too.  Its production rounds out its most important elements.

The production of Origins Volume 2 is important to note for the very reason that has already been raised in examining the performance of the record’s featured songs:  the performances take the original songs from decades ago and really amp them up.  This is important because in so many of the songs, there is a lot more going on than in these works than the originals.  In other words, there is more need to balance all of the elements to ensure each song presents the fullest performance.  Those behind the record’s production are to be applauded for their efforts, too.  For all that is going on in each song, the guitars, bass, vocals, and drums are quite well balanced.  The energy is transmitted just as well because of that expert work that went into balancing each element within each song.  The end result is an album that works just as well for its aesthetics as for its content.  When this is considered along with the record’s content and the performances therein, the result is a covers collection that while it is a covers set, actually proves itself worth hearing at least once if not more.

Ace Frehley’s new covers compilation Origins Volume 2 is an interesting follow-up to his 2016 set Origins Volume 1.  That is due in part to its featured songs.  The songs are a balance of well-known works and deep cuts.  They and the bands that performed them can actually serve as a starting point on discussions about rock’s modern history.  That is actually a positive in its own right.  The performances of the featured songs is important to this record because they stay true to their source material in terms of sound, but stylistically, they clearly show Frehley’s own influence, what with the overly bombastic nature of each performance.  That is certain to generate its own share of discussion among audiences.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  That is because it ensures for all of the elements going on in each song, those elements are well-balanced, making the record just as worth hearing for this aesthetic element as for its content.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the compilation a presentation that is the exception to the rule for covers compilations.  It is available now.  More information on the set is available along with all of Ace Frehley’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.acefrehley.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/officialacefrehley

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Ace_Frehley

 

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.

Guerilla Ghost Debuts New LP’s Second Single, ‘The Immigrant Song’

Courtesy: Third Eye Entertainment/Infecting Cells PR

Guerilla Ghost debuted its latest single this week.

The duo — Tron Jovi and Bad Graphics Ghost — debuted its new single ‘The Immigrant Song‘ Friday.  It come from the group’s forthcoming album We Get What We Deserve, which is scheduled for release July 31 through Third Eye Entertainment.  Its debut comes less than a month after the act debuted the album’s lead single, ‘Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man.’

While ‘The Immigrant Song’ bears the same name as the famed song from famed rock band Led Zeppelin, this is not a cover of that song.  Rather, it addresses the oppression of African-Americans.

Bad Graphics Ghost talked about the song, including its lyrical theme, in a recent interview.

“This song is one of my personal favorites on the record and possibly one of the better songs we’ve written and recorded,” he said. “Our dear friend and frequent collaborator Commakazee blessed us with her signature brand of harmony and melody to help drive the urgency of the song’s message home. I wrote this after watching a video of a young girl crying for her father after he was wrongfully arrested and sent to ICE concentration camps along the southern border. Being a father of two daughters myself, this moved me to the deepest pits of my heart and soul. I was moved to say something and to speak it loudly. I believe that no one should have to suffer for the racist and sexist stigmas enforced upon their people and culture by a fascist capitalist empire that seemingly refuses to show sympathy or practice tolerance of other beings.”

“For a country that claims to be founded as a safe haven for refugees and immigrants fleeing their homelands from political and religious persecution, it’s devastating to witness us become a nation thriving with racial injustices and violence in the name of Christianity,” added Bad Graphics Ghost. “Everyone deserves the right to equal treatment and the promise of a better future for themselves and their family. That being said, it was only fitting to debut this song during the weekend while America celebrates it’s “independence”. I hope this song strikes a nerve in all who listen, specifically motivating them towards positive change. If god does exist, we are all made in her image. If god does exist, may she show mercy on the world. No child left behind.”

‘The Immigrant Song’ is available to stream and download through Spotify, Google Play, and the duo’s official Bandcamp page.

Pre-orders for We get What We Deserve are open now.

More information on Guerilla Ghost is available along with all of the group’s latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://guerillaghost.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/guerillaghost

 

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.