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.   

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.

Echobats Debuts ‘Save Me From Loving You’ Video

Courtesy: Mercia Records

Rock super group Echobat debuted the video for its first-ever single this week.

The band — Tony Harnell (TNT), Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, Trans Siberian Orchestra), James Lomenzo (White Lion, Megadeth), Matt Starr (Mr. Big), and Eric Levy (Night Ranger) — debuted the video for its new single ‘Save Me From Loving You‘ Friday.  The video, shot in London, California, and New York as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, features the band members singing along (and performing to) the single.

The song’s musical arrangement features a catchy, upbeat indie-rock style arrangement that also has a touch of influence from the rock and pop sounds of the 1960s and 70s.  It will stick in listeners’ minds.

The song’s musical arrangement is a direct contradiction to its lyrical theme, which Harnell said is the polar opposite of the feeling in the song’s musical arrangement.

“The lyrics for ‘Save Me from Loving You’ are ironic for such a happy song!,” he said. “They’re kinda dark; describing someone who’s pretending to be something that looks good to the world while hiding a dark and empty soul. I think, against the happy melodies, it gives it a kind of cinematic mood. “Isn’t there more to you than shine, or are you an empty room”. A friend of mine described the song as Bop-Noir. I kinda like that!”

‘Save Me From Loving You’ is available to stream and download at: Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, and Deezer.  The song was mixed by Chris Collier (Prong, Lita Ford, Korn, Whitesnake).

More information on Echobats’ new song is available along with all of the band’s latest news at http://www.facebook.com/echobatsofficial.

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.

Heaven Below Reveals Release Date, Teaser Stream For Its New Album

Courtesy: EMP Label Group/eOne/ODonnell Media Group

Courtesy: EMP Label Group/eOne/ODonnell Media Group

Dave Ellefson’s EMP Label Group has expanded its roster again.

Heaven Below, which features Union Underground/Lita Ford guitarist Patrick Kennison, has joined the label’s ever-growing stable of up-and-coming artists.  The band will release its new album Good Morning Apocalypse via EMP Label Group on Friday, October 14th.  The album, the band’s fourth full-length studio effort, is a concept record that is set in a post-apocalyptic world.  It features guest appearances from Lita Ford, Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys, Broken Teeth), Udo Dirkschneider (Accept) and Kobra Paige of Kobra and the Lotus.  Kennison explained in an interview that the album has been in the works for some time.

“Nearly four years ago the band and I decided that wed like to start working on a concept record,” he said. “We knew how ambitious it sounded to even consider that, but once several legendary artists offered to help make it become a reality, we knew we had something.”

Kennison also discussed the album’s overall sound, noting its mix of old school rock and more modern elements.  “With over 30 songs written, we narrowed it down to the top 12,” he said.  “Udo Dirkschneider, Lita Ford, Jason McMaster, and Kobra Paige all stepped up to lend their amazing talents.  We feel this album is a powerful culmination of old school metal meets current fresh metal.  This kind of undertaking only comes along once in a lifetime, and we think we captured this moment on Good Morning Apocalypse.  The timing was perfect with EMP’s outside of the box approach to new music.”

The band has made available a teaser stream featuring samples of each of the album’s 12 songs online now via Soundcloud.  Audiences can check out the stream online now here.  The album’s full track listing is noted below.

Tracklist:
01. Nefarious Angels (feat. Jason McMaster)
02. Renegade Protest Movement
03. Follow Me Under 04. Devilina And The Damage Done (feat. Kobra Paige)
05. Nightfall Comes To Life
06. Killing The Deadman
07. Running Under Satan’s Hand (feat. Lita Ford)
08. Death Battalion
09. Bonded By Blood
10. Black Sunrise/ War Of The Gods (feat. Udo Dirkschneider)
11. Among The Wolves/Worldwide Suicide
12. I Would Do It All Again/Burials At Sunset

More information on Heaven Below and its new album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.heavenbelow.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/heavenbelow

 

 

 

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.

Another Lost Year Added To Shiprocked 2017 Lineup

Courtesy: O'Donnell Media Group

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Another Lost Year is getting Shiprocked!

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based band has been announced as the latest addition to the 2017 edition of the annual Shiprocked cruise.  The cruise will feature a number of today’s top rock acts including but not limited to: Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach, Alter Bridge, Sevendust, Pop Evil, and The Stowaways.  The floating music festival will be held aboard the Carnival Victory.  The liner will sail out of Miami Florida on January 16th, 2017, and make its way to Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos before returning to port on January 20th, 2017.  Also featured in the 2017 Shiprocked cruise will be: Avatar, Crobot, 12 Stones, and many others.  A very limited number of rooms is still available for the 2017 Shiprocked cruise.  VIP packages are sold out.  Pricing information for the available rooms is noted via the official Shiprocked website.

Before the band takes to the high seas it will also perform live at the 2016 Laconia Fest Motorcycle Music Festival.  The Laconia Fest is part of what is billed as the “oldest motorcycle rally on the planet.”  The nine-day festival takes place at Weirs Drive-In Theatre in Laconia, New Hampshire from Saturday, June 11th to Sunday, June 19th.  The debut installment of the Laconia Fest will feature performances from some of the top acts from rock’s past, present, and future.  They include but are not limited to: Steven Tyler, Lita Ford, Ted Nugent, Warrant, LA Guns, Dope, Everybody Panic!, Sevendust, Buckcherry, Fuel, Saving Abel, and many more.  General Admission tickets and VIP passes are available for a number of the festival’s performances.  General admission tickets include: Admission to the Festival village, the FMX Stunt Show, Main stage & EMP Group Label Group – Stage 2 Views, and more.  VIP Pit passes include: Exclusive, best-position access to stage-front from the Pit viewing area, 2 complimentary tokens, and access to cash bar and other amenities.  VIP Tower passes are also available.  They include: Exclusive access to an elevated 15-foot platform with premium stage view, private bar with beer and other drinks, prepared box meal, luxury accommodations, and other optional extras.  Those extras come at an added cost.  Wheel chair access will also be available for the festival.  Tickets and VIP passes allow for “all-day” access to the Laconia Fest and all related events and attractions.  Tickets are sold on a per-day basis and re-entry is allowed per day.  More information on ticketing, VIP passes, performance lineups, and more is available on the festival’s official website.

The band’s performance at the Laconia Fest is just one of a number of dates that is on ALY’s current live schedule.  The band will be live today in Chesterfield, Michigan before heading to Janesville, Wisconsin for a performance there this Sunday, May 15th.  Performances in Pinehurst, NC and Charlotte, NC on June 2nd and 4rth are also included in that schedule, which is noted below.

 

Another Lost Year Tour Dates:
5/12/2016 Chesterfield MI @ Diesel w/ P.O.D.
5/15/2016 Janesville WI @ Back Bar w/ DEVOUR THE DAY
5/18/2016 Belvidere IL @ Apollo Theatre w/ P.O.D.
5/20/2016 Janesville WI @ Back Bar w/ ROMANTIC REBEL – JJO Presents
5/29/2016 Algona IA @ Afterlife Lounge
6/2/2016 Pinehurst NC @ Private Acoustic
6/4/2016 Charlotte NC @ Rabbit Hole w/ SCOTT BARTLETT of SAVING ABEL
6/9/2016 Hagerstown MD @ Municipal Stadium – Hagerstown Suns Baseball Game After Party

6/10/2016 Battle Creek MI @ The Music Factory w/ SHAMANS HARVEST
6/11/2016 laCrosse WI @ Pearl Street Brewery w/ DRUGS DELANEY
6/12/2016 Ft Atkinson WI @ Hyjinx w/ DRUGS DELANEY
6/15/2016 Laconia NH @ Laconia Fest w/ STEVEN TYLER
6/16/2016 Laconia NH @ Laconia Fest w/ BRET MICHAELS
6/17/2016 Cranston RI @ 1150 Oak Bar w/ EVERYBODY PANIC
6/18/2016 Cranston RI @ 1150 Oak Bar
6/19/2016 Hampton Beach NH @ Wally’s
7/2/2016 Battle Creek MI @ Private Party
7/3/2016 Pekin IL @ Twisted Spoke w/ DRUGS DELANEY
7/15/2016 Kankakee IL @ Kankakee BBQ Fest w/ VINCE NEIL
7/16/2016 Clarksville TN @ z97.5 Festival
7/16/2016 Grayson KY @ HeadCase Festival
8/6/2016 Hagerstown MD @ Private Party
8/12/2016 Algona IA @ Algona Fairgrounds w/ SMILE EMPTY SOUL

 

Another Lost Year will release its new album Alien Architect Friday, Jun e10th via EMP Label Group and Mirage M’Hal Records.  The band recently premiered the video for the album’s lead single ‘Wolves’ online.  It can be viewed via YouTube and Vevo.  More information on Alien Architect is available online now along with more information on the band’s upcoming live dates at:

 

Website: http://www.whoisALY.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Official_ALY

 

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.

Friedman To Appear On VH1’s That Metal Show This Weekend

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Veteran guitarist Marty Friedman will appear on VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show this weekend.

Friedman will appear on That Metal Show Saturday, March 1st at 11pm ET.  Friedman will join Mike Jones (Foreigner), Leslie West (Mountain), and Lita Ford (The Runaways) on this week’s edition of That Metal Show.  Friedman jokingly noted in an interview that while the main purpose of his appearance was to promote his upcoming album Inferno, he also even more excited about being on the show because he got to talk to one of his own favorite guitarists of all time.  “Of course I talked about my upcoming album, ‘Inferno,’” he said.  “But there was another guitarist on the show, and I just had to ask him what I wanted to know ever since I was a kid — just what the hell was he thinking when he laid down one of the most unorthodox (and cool) solos ever. Hope they don`t edit that part out!” Tune in tomorrow night to find out!”

Inferno is scheduled to be released via Prosthetic Records May 27th in North America and May 26th in the UK and Europe, May 23rd in G/A/S and via Universal Records in Japan May 21st.  It will be his first record of original material in four years and the first in over ten years that will be released simultaneously around the world.  The album was recorded in Los Angeles with engineer Chris Rakestraw (Danzig, Children of Bodom) and mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth).  It will also include a number of A-list guest appearances from the likes of: Rodrigo y Gabriela, Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), Keshav Dhar (Skyharbor), and David Davidson (Revocation) among others.  The album’s track listing is included below.

“Inferno” Track Listing:

1. Inferno
2. Resin
3. Wicked Panacea (feat. Rodrigo y Gabriela)
4. Steroidhead (feat. Keshav Dhar) (STREAM)
5. I Can’t Relax (feat. Danko Jones)
6. Meat Hook (feat. Jørgen Munkeby)
7. Hyper Doom
8. Sociopaths (feat. David Davidson)
9. Lycanthrope (feat. Alexi Laiho & Danko Jones)
10. Undertow
11. Horrors (co-written by Jason Becker)
12. Inferno -reprise-

 Friedman will tour in support of his new album beginning May 1st in Tampere, Finland.  He will serve as support act for Gus G. who is also set to release his new album this Spring.  Friedman’s current tour itinerary is listed below.

EUROPEAN TOUR DATES 
5/1       Tampere, FL – Klubi #
5/2       Helsinki, FL – Nosturi #
5/3       Stockholm, SW – Stockholm Rocks Festival #
5/5       Gothenburg, SW- Tradgarn #
5/6       Malmo, SW – KB #
5/9       Krakow, PL – Lizard King #
5/10      Warsaw, PL – Progreja #
5/12      Munich,DE – Backstage #
5/14      Hannover, DE – Musixzentrum #
5/15      Essen, DE – Turock #
5/16      Zoetermeer, NL – De Boerderij #
5/17      Hasselt, BE – Muziekodroom #
5/18      Uden, NL – De Pul #
5/20      Savigny Le Temple, FR – L’impriente #
5/21      London, UK – O2 Academy Islington #
5/22      Nuneaton, UK – Queens Hall #
# with Gus G

Tickets for Friedman’s upcoming tour dates, and all of the latest on his upcoming album and more is available via Friedman’s official website, http://www.martyfriedman.com.  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.

Ford Is As Ferocious As Ever On Her New Live Recording

Courtesy:  SPV/Steamhammer Records

Courtesy: SPV/Steamhammer Records

Lita Ford’s new live recording, The Bitch Is Back, is a good introduction to the veteran rocker’s music.  Ford, who started her career decades ago as a member of the famed Runaways, proves with this latest live release that she still has plenty left to offer her audiences.  From the show’s set list to the audio mix to her general presence, there is much to like about this new live recording.  All things considered, Ford should have titled this recording, The Bitch Is Here instead of its given title.  Regardless, it proves in the end to be one of the year’s top live CDs.

The set list chosen for Ford’s 2013 show at California’s famed Canyon Club is the first part of what makes The Bitch Is Back so enjoyable for audiences.  Most of the songs chosen for this show come from her 2012 album, Livin’ Like a Runaway.  However, there are some older tracks included in the set list presented on this recording.  One of the best of the songs included in this recording is ‘Can’t Catch Me.’ She explains to the audience in attendance that the song was spawned after a chance meeting at the Rainbow Room.  Who would have ever thought that Lita Ford and Lemmy Kilmister would collaborate?  Regardless, the result is a fun, high octane piece that bears all the trademarks of classic Motorhead.  It’s little tidbits such as this that Ford shares through her set that makes this recording even more fun.  But that will be discussed later.  Ford’s collaboration with Lemmy Kilmister is just one of the high points that fans will take away from The Bitch is Back.  She also includes ‘Hate’, which is just one of the songs that she pulled from Livin’ Like a Runaway.  The song’s lyrical side is a powerful social commentary about society’s seemingly growing obsession with violence and hate.  It’s not such a stretch.  One need just look at the content of today’s TV shows and movies and one will agree that Ford is right on the mark here.  Her driving guitar riffs expertly compliment the song’s lyrics, making it one more high point of the show.  There is so much more that could be discussed concerning the show’s set list.  Allegedly, there were even a number of songs from the show not included in this recording.  If that is indeed the case, then maybe fans will get the remainder of those songs in a future live release.  To that extent, one could argue that by not including all of the songs from her show, Ford has left fans wanting more in the best possible way.  Again, that just makes this recording all the more worth hearing.

The set list included in this recording is the center of what makes it so enjoyable.  However, it isn’t the only part of what makes it so enjoyable.  The recording and mastering work done by Bill Gall and Fernando Cavasos respectively makes the record all the more worth the listen.  Indoor venues always present their own set of challenges when recording live performances.  This is the case regardless of whether one is recording a pop star, rock band, rapper, or some other act.  So it goes without saying that Gall and Cavasos did an impressive job in making sure that Ford’s fans were presented with the best product possible.

The final audio mix presented in The Bitch is Back works in tandem with the recording’s set list to make it a record that is a good introduction to first time fans.  The final product is just as good for those fans that are more knowledgeable of Ford’s body of work.   For everything already noted, there is still one more piece to this recording that can’t be ignored.  That piece is Ford’s own performance.  As with the set list, so much could be noted.  There just isn’t enough space or time for it all.  While this recording is only the concert’s audio portion, one can tell simply by listening, that even after so many decades, Ford has not lost a single bit of steam.  As a matter of fact, the level of energy that she exhibits throughout the performance echoes the energy and stage presence of her fellow veteran rockers in their heyday.  That stage presence is the final proverbial nail for this recording.  Alongside the expert audio mix and equally impressive set list, it makes this record that much more of a must hear for any Lita Ford fan old and new alike.  It is available now in stores and online.  After fans pick up her new live release, they can also make plans to see her live once she hits the road again in the new year.  She is currently taking some much needed rest and relaxation in order to get recharged before hitting the road again.  She is currently slated to kick off 2014 with a live performance on January 9th at the world famous Whiskey A Go Go in West Hollywood, California.  That show will be followed by performances in Nevada and more dates in California.  Fans can get the latest tour updates, news and more from Lita Ford online at http://www.facebook.com/litaofficial and http://www.LitaFordOnline.com.  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.

Queen V Hits Compilation A “Royal” Hit

Courtesy:  Royal Noise Records

Courtesy: Royal Noise Records

Ladies and gentleman, all hail her highness, Queen V.  For those rock and roll purists that haven’t yet heard the music of this heroine of hard rock, the New York based artist and her band mates are sure to impress with the new release, The Decade of Queen V.  This eleven track singles collection tracks the band’s now decade-long career together.  With any luck, the release of this brand new compilation will generate enough interest in Queen V to see her previous releases including her debut EP, Critical.  There is not one bad track on this compilation, which is a rare feat for a “hits” collection; this is especially rare considering that the band has flown just below the mainstream radar throughout the first ten years of its time together.

The first of the classic songs on this compilation, ‘Revolution Baby’ will instantly conjure thoughts of Joan Jett and Lita Ford with her gritty vocal style and hard driving music.  Her defiance as she sings lines such as: “You’ve got yours and I want mine”, “I’ve got every reason/to waste me time/Revolution baby/If you think you own me/Go to hell” is the mark of a strong confident woman who could care less about the reputation of the rock industry being marked as a man’s world.  The inclusion of this song as the compilation’s opener is simply put, a reminder of that confidence to first time listeners of her music.  The musical backing is just as solid as Queen V’s own vocals.  The bluesy harmonica backing wouldn’t seem to go with the harder guitars and drums.  But somehow it all melds nicely together to make a perfect introduction for first timers and re-introduction for those that might have otherwise forgotten about her and her band mates.

The energy doesn’t let up at all on the compilation’s next song, ‘America.’  This is pure, guitar-driven hard rock at its absolute finest.  The guitar solos are there.  The energy is there from each one of the band’s members.  And one can so easily close one’s eyes and imagine the band on stage, Queen V up front, fist in the air as she screams, “America/Can you hear me?”  What is most intriguing and interesting about the song is not so much it’s lyrical content, but its slow boil style.  It starts hard enough.  But audiences will notice how the song seems to build, musically increasingly with each verse until it all explodes with a massive guitar solo at the song’s end with Queen V hitting some of the highest notes of any female rocker of any era.  It’s like hearing Janis Joplin if she were a hard rocker, for lack of better comparison when she hits those high notes.  No doubt, long-time fans will appreciate all of this. And first-time listeners will be just as impressed with the talents exhibited here by the entire band.

Not all of the songs on Queen V’s new compilation are older pieces.  She also includes a newer piece in ‘My Machine’ that features none other than Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, The Watchman, Street Sweeper Social Club).  Morello sounds as strong as ever with his guitar wizardry.  As bizarre as this may seem, but the way that Queen V intros the song, bring about thoughts of John Lee Hooker.  It’s that familiar opening of “ha, ha, ha, ha.”  John Lee Hooker fans will get the reference.  It might not have been entirely purposeful.  But it’s a nice touch to the song.  And it only gets more intense from here.  The intensity developed throughout the compilation’s sequence of songs is right here, too. 

There is so much that could be written on Queen V.  But suffice it to say that whether for the songs noted here, or the compilation’s others, including its closer—which was co-written by and features none other than Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) on vocals—or any of the album’s other outstanding works, this compilation is an absolute must have for any hard rock purist.  Fans can catch the songs from this brand new release and even more of the band’s hits tonight when the band takes the stage at the Thunderbird Café in Pittsburgh, PA.  The band will be in Clifton, New Jersey on July 26thThe Decade of Queen V is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct online from the Queen V website at http://www.queenv.com/web/?product=the-decade-of-queen-v-cd-pre-order or via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-decade-of-queen-v/id662842188.  Audiences can find out more about the band’s live schedule and all of the latest news and more from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/officialQueenV, http://www.queenv.com, http://twitter.com/theQueenV, and http://www.reverbnation.com/queenv.

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 sports and entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The queen of rock and roll has officially returned

Courtesy: SPV/Steamhammer

Ladies and gentlemen, her majesty, the queen of rock and roll has returned to reclaim her throne.  For those wondering, that would be a reference to the one and only Lita Ford.  She sounds as amazing as ever on her new record, “Living Like a Runaway.” 

“Living Like a Runaway” is a rock solid listen from the straight forward album opener, ‘Branded’ to the softer, more emotional ‘Mother’ to the equally hard rocking album closer, ‘Song to Slit Your Wrist By.”  The songs on the album come from an obviously personal standpoint, as they focus on both personal and romantic relationships.  Ford proves yet again on this album that while she can still rock out with the best of them, she can also be very gentle and fragile.  The balance of those sides makes “Living Like a Runaway” a success.   

“Living Like a Runaway”‘s opener, ‘Branded’ gives listeners the first does of what’s to come as they take their musical journey with her.  She sings about being in a relationship with a somewhat unstable man.  She sings on this song, “I don’t wanna fight with you no more/I watched you put your fist through the wall/I don’t wanna hear you screamin’ my name/I’m so tired of playin’ this same old game.”  It seems to hint that the man in question was abusive.  The hard driving guitars in the song really emphasize the tension caused by said individual.  However, she does note that while the relationship was seemingly abusive, she did get out of it.  And just like other women who have been abused, they can escape too.  So in its own right, this is an excellent opener to this album.  It could also be argued that she echoes a similar vibe later on the song, ‘Mask.’

Ford writes in ‘Mask’ that a man with whom she had some form of relationship was the equivalent to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  She sings, “Take off your mask/and let me see what’s underneath/something from the past/It’s eating away at me/I’ve gotta see what’s really inside/I will never know/It’s one big surprise/you Jekyll and Hyde.”  There’s no doubt about what she is writing here.  As in the album’s opener, it comes across as her being in a relationship with a man who wasn’t exactly what he appeared to be.  He was hiding things.  So it would make sense that the two songs have some connectivity.

Lita Ford sings a lot about relationships on her new album.  But what can be said of those songs is that they aren’t the standard “oh-woe-is-me” style.  ‘Branded’ is a prime example of that.  It’s an empowering piece.  It’s not the only one, though.  ‘Relentless’ is another wonderful, empowering piece.  She sings about being put down and held down through her life and her career, but still facing it all with head held high.  She sings in the song’s chorus, “I am relentless/like a freight train coming through the driving rain/relentless/like a fighter in the ring/I don’t feel pain/I am relentless/All you try to do is drive me insane/you’re never gonna keep me down/I am relentless!” If ever there was an arena anthem from this album, ‘Relentless’ is it, period.  It has the hooks and the chorus that could easily make it one of many radio ready singles from the whole album.

For all the hard rocking moments from “Living LIke a Runaway”, Ford does include some softer moments, too as in the more emotional, ‘Mother.’  It comes across as something similar to a lullaby being sung to a child.  She sings, ‘I am your mother/your flesh and blood/your family/and like no other/until they bury me six foot deep/no matter what the future holds/and even though you’ve just begun to grow/just know you’ll always have your mother.”  The gentility in her voice and in the music make this a surprisingly impressive moment on the album.  It’ll make for its own special moment for listeners whether at her live shows or listening to the album alone.  It’s just one more part of what makes “Living Like a Runaway” one more great album for rock fans everywhere in 2012.

Lita will be touring this Summer in support of her new album.  And she hasn’t left out fans in North Carolina.  She’sll be making a stop at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, August 11th.   Fans can keep up with all the latest tour dates and news from Lita Ford online at http://litafordonline.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/litaofficial, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litaford.

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

Laura Wilde’s debut record is rock done right

Courtesy:  Vice Grip Music Group

Courtesy: Vice Grip Music Group

Laura Wilde, meet the world.  World, meet Laura Wilde.  This Aussie rocker looks like Britney Spears, but sings like Joan Jett and Lita Ford.  She is everything that Avril Lavigne wishes she could be.  Lots of rock acts have come from the land down under.  But not since AC/DC has there been such a hard hitting act.  Wilde comes right at audiences on her debut album, “Sold My Soul.”  The album’s opener, ‘All Alone’ comes at audiences with all the power and energy of fellow female rockers, The Donnas, The Runaways, and so many other female rock acts.  It’s a great high energy, fist pumping, arena anthem that is perfect for any rock radio station.  She sings on the album’s opener, “I think you’re sexy/and I like your face/But much more, I like the chase.”  It comes across as a very confident, “I am woman hear me roar” type of song filled with enough energy to get audiences both male and female moving.

Wilde follows up ‘All Alone’ with an equally adrenaline fueled song in ‘Sold My Soul.’  She writes of the rigors of touring all over the world, and not looking back after kissing her mother goodbye as she heads off.  It’s not one of those Bon Jovi or Kid Rock style emotional pieces.  Instead, it takes the classic road warrior theme, and takes that proverbial bull by the horns, almost embracing it in a way.  The softest that Wilde gets on her debut is the song, ‘For You.’  She definitely wears her emotions on her sleeve in this song.  But it isn’t what one might expect.  This piece isn’t the standard “oh woe is me, I’ve had my heart broken” sort of song.  She lays into the object of her anger throughout the song, eventually leading into a string of profanities aimed at said individual at the end of the song.  She shows that she’s not going to go the route of so many standard break up songs.  And that sort of mentality is just what will keep Laura Wilde one of the leading names in the next generation of mainstream rock.

Laura Wilde’s debut album was released nationwide just three months ago.  Since that time, this artist who started her career years ago at the age of sixteen has taken some huge steps.  She has been tapped to join legendary rocker Ted Nugent on his Summer tour.  The pair are out on tour now.  They will be performing at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, California next Saturday, May 26th.  After next Saturday’s show, Wilde will take some time off before hitting the road again in June.  From there, she’ll be touring the rest of the Summer.  North Carolinians will get to see both Wilde and Nugent on their tour this Summer, as they’ll be making a stop in Durham, North Carolina Thursday, August 9th at the famed Durham Performing Arts Center.  Audiences can go to http://www.dpacnc.com to get information about tickets and more for the show.  Regardless of which date fans attend, audiences can get a taste of what to expect from Laura Wild right now.  The video for her single, ‘Sold My Soul’ is up on Youtube now.  It can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6z2GrhZxDU. Fans can also get all the latest on Laura online at http://www.laurawilde.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/laurawildemusic, on Twitter at http://twitter.com/laurawilde, and on her official Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/laurawildemusic.

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