Set It Off Shows Telling “Stories” Can Be A Good Thing

December is nearly halfway through. That means that 2015 is inching ever closer to its final days. As those days become fewer and fewer, it means more certainty for the critics’ year-enders. This critic has held off as long as possible. But now the lists are final. And there are a lot of them, too. Beginning today, Phil’s Picks will feature one new “Best Of” list each day right up to New Year’s Eve. Each list presents not only the ten best new releases in each given category but five extras that get special recognition for a total of fifteen titles. So let’s get things going. Without any further ado, here is the first of those lists, 2015’s Best New EPs. So few people give EPs the credit that they so rightly deserve. But the reality is that for many acts EPs are just as important as LPS. For many acts, the EP is the very first taste of what may or may not be to come for a band. For others it’s more or less a contractually obligated space filler. Regardless of the situation, the fact of the matter is that the EP is just as important as the LP. That being the case, this critic has compiled once again a list of the year’s best new EPs. And this year, that list is topped by Set It off and its new EP Duality: Stories Unplugged. Independent rock act Lawless Hearts make the list, too with its new EP Creatures of Habit as well as Amaranthe with its acoustic EP Breaking Point: B-Sides 2011 2015. These are just a handful of the names to make the list this year. The complete list of this year’s best new EPs as presented by Phil’s Picks is noted below.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 BEST NEW EPs

  1. Set It Off — Duality: Stories Unplugged
  2. Adrenaline Mob — Dearly Departed
  3. Zebrahead/Man on a Mission – Out of Control
  4. Patent Pending – Armageddon
  5. NoMara — …And So It Begins
  6. Lawless Hearts – Creatures of Habit
  7. Amaranthe – Breaking Point: B-Sides 2011 2015
  8. Nation Beat – Carnival Caravan
  9. De’Anza – Despertar
  10. The Devil Wears Prada – Space
  11. Galley Beggar – Silence and Tears
  12. Broadcasters – Spin
  13. Infidel – Infidel
  14. Collie Buddz – Blue Dreamz
  15. Straight Line Stitch – Transparency

 

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Nation Beat Releases Carnival Caravan Today

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

Multi-cultural music group Nation Beat releases its new EP today. Carnival Caravan will be released today in stores and online. The Brooklyn, NY-based collective’s five-track EP feature performances by not only Nation Beat but also from the Mardi Gras Indian/funk group Cha Wa. Carnival Caravan’s complete track listing is noted below.

Carnival Caravan Track Listing

  1. Casa Diamante / Sew Sew Sew (feat. Cha Wa)
  2. Vou Cantar Esse Coco (feat. Silverio Pessoa)
  3. Golden Crown (feat. Cha Wa)
  4. Canto da Ema / All On a Mardi Gras Day (feat. Cha Wa)
  5. Liza Jane (feat. Cha Wa)

‘Cantar Esse Coco (ft. Silverio Pessoa)’ and the disc’s opener ‘Casa Diamante /Sew Sew Sew,’ which also features the music of Cha Wa, are both Latin-tinged works that will have listeners instantly on their feet. There is also a Dixieland-style piece included in the record that comes in the form of the group’s cover of ‘Liza Jane (ft. Cha Wa).’ Nation Beat is currently touring in support of Carnival Caravan. Its current schedule takes it through September 17th in Hartford, CT.  The group’s current tour schedule is listed below.

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

DATE                                               CITY                                          VENUE

August 1                                       Queens, NY                                  Queens Library

August 2                                       New York, NY                    Central Park Summer Stage

August 8                                       Bethlehem, PA                                  Musikfest

Sept. 17                                        Hartford, CT                                  Real Art Ways

Audiences can keep up with the latest updates on Carnival Caravan and Nation Beat’s tour schedule online now along with all of the group’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.nationbeat.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nation-Beat/10175932771

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nationbeat

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.

Nation Beat’s New EP Is A Wonderfully Enjoyable Festival For The Ears

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

The Brooklyn, NY-based collective known as Nation Beat will release its new EP Carnival Caravan later this month. More precisely, the record–Carnival Caravan–will be released on Friday, July 31st. The band’s first EP and fourth overall release, it is one of this year’s best new EPs. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Nation Beat’s body of work every listener will agree with this sentiment after listening to each of its five tracks. The record is anchored by the group’s take on the traditional tune ‘L’il Liza Jane.’ Just called ‘Liza Jane’ in this presentation, Nation Beat’s take on the song pays proper tribute to the original song. Yet at the same time, its full-on Dixieland rendition gives the song its own identity separate from every version of the song ever recorded. The disc’s opener ‘Casa Diamante – Sew Sew Sew’ is another of its high points. It mixes a Latin sound with something of a hip-hop backbeat and rock vibe all into one piece that will catch listeners of every taste. ‘Golden Crown,’ which serves as the disc’s midpoint is one more of the record’s compositions that audiences will enjoy. All three of the noted songs shows in their own way what makes Carnival Caravan such an enjoyable collection of songs. That is not to ignore the remaining pair of songs that rounds out the record–‘Vou Cantar Esse Coco (ft. Silverio Pessoa)’ and ‘Canto Da Ema – All On A Mardi Gras Day.’ Whether for that pair or for the pieces more directly noted, audiences will find plenty to like about this record. In listening to all five songs together, audiences will agree that Carnival Caravan is just as enjoyable of a first impression for Nation Beat’s new fans as for those that are more familiar with its music. More simply put, audiences alike will agree in hearing this record that it is one of this year’s best new EPs.

Depending on which definition one takes, the one thing that rings true about a carnival regardless of definition is that it is considered a festival. The only difference is the structure of said festival. That being the case, it can be argued that in listening to Nation Beat’s new EP Carnival Caravan, it is a festival for the ears. That is thanks to all five of the songs that make up the body of the record. The disc’s closer, its own rendition of the traditional tune ‘L’il Liza Jane’ is one example of how the record’s songs make it such an enjoyable musical festival. While Nation Beat stays true to the work that was originally composed way back in the early 1900s, it also gives its take on the song its own identity presenting the song in a full-on Dixieland rendition here complete with vocal accompaniment. The group’s trademark Latin-tinged sound is there, too making even clearer this rendition’s separation from other renditions such as those from The Preservation Hall Jazz Band or The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Listening to Nation Beat’s rendition of the timeless tune, audiences can almost hear the group marching down the parade route on Mardi Gras, trombones and trumpets shining in the air, drummers keeping the beat, getting the revelers moving all along the way. That overall celebratory nature of the song in its rendition here more than helps it live up to the EP’s title. It is just one example of what makes Carnival Caravan a festival for the ears. The record’s two-part opener ‘Casa Diamante – Sew Sew Sew’ is another example of what makes it a wonderfully enjoyable musical party.

Much like its closer ‘Liza Jane,’ Carnival Caravan’s opener ‘Casa Diamante – Sew Sew Sew’ is another wonderful example of what makes Nation Beat’s new record a wonderful festival for the ears. It, too is based on a traditional song. And as with ‘Liza Jane,’ the members of Nation Beat have taken that original composition and given it a whole new identity all while saying as true as possible to the original work. Scott Kettner’s infectious hip-hop style back beat and Mark Mashall’s blues-rock style guitar line combine in the first half of the song for a song that instantly catches listeners’ ears and gets them moving. The second half of the song stands just as much as its own work as the first half, as it presents a sound that is completely separate from that song. The call and response style approach presented through Fabiana Masili’s vocals and the song’s choral response is just as enjoyable. What is really great about that approach is that even those that might not speak the language (more than likely Portuguese), need not worry about what the performers are singing. The upbeat vibe of the song along with its equally celebratory sound translate quite well in their own right, letting listeners know that the song’s message is in fact a happy one. That happy, celebratory message combines with the upbeat sound of both ‘Sew Sew Sew’ and ‘Casa Diamante’ to make the whole of the songs one whole work that proves itself a great opener for Nation Beat on its latest recording and yet another example of why Carnival Caravan a wonderfully enjoyable festival for the ears.

Both ‘Liza Jane’ and ‘Casa Diamante – Sew Sew Sew’ are clear examples in their own right of what makes Carnival Caravan a wonderfully enjoyable festival for the ears. That is because the members of Nation Beat have paid full honor to the original songs on which they are based all while giving listeners songs that still stand apart from those songs as their own works. That balance of old and new within both songs shows clearly why Carnival Caravan is such a wonderfully enjoyable festival for the ears and one of the year’s best new EPs in whole. ‘Golden Crown,’ which serves as the record’s midpoint is one mor example of what how that balance of old and new makes this record in whole so fun for listeners. As with ‘Liza Jane’ and ‘Casa Diamante – Sew Sew Sew,’ ‘Golden Crown’ is also an update of a classic song. More specifically it is based an a traditional Mardi Gras Indian tune. This is significant because in traditional Mardi Gras Indian culture, women have generally been forbidden from singing such works. Yet here, Fabiana Masili handled lead vocal duties. For Masili to break that standard and take the reins on this song is a big step not for her but for Mardi Gras Indian culture in whole as well as women in general. Masili’s vocals set alongside Nation Beat’s standard New Orleans/Latin hybrid sound makes the song stand out even more. The mix of the noted elements makes the song stand out not just from the original take of ‘Golden Crown’ but also from all of the other songs that are featured as part of Carnival Caravan. Those songs alongside this work show in full why Carnival Caravan is both a wonderfully enjoyable festival for the ears and one of this year’s best new EPs.

Carnival Caravan only boasts five songs. But across the course of those songs and the record’s twenty-one minute run time, the EP proves in the long run to be a wonderfully enjoyable musical festival for the ears. It also proves to be one of this year’s best new EPs. The disc’s closer ‘Liza Jane,’ its opener, the dual part ‘Casa Diamante – Sew Sew Sew,’ and ‘its midpoint ‘Golden Crown’ all serve as clear examples of what makes this record so enjoyable. The remaining pair of songs that round out the record–Vou Cantar Esse Coco (ft. Silverio Pessoa)’ and Canto Da Ama – All On A Mardi Gras Day’ both serve as their own clear examples of what makes this record so enjoyable even for those that might not speak any foreign languages. All things considered, the music that makes up the body of Carnival Caravan shows in whole that this record is both a musical festival for the ears and one of the best new EPs of this year. Carnival Caravan will be available on Friday, July 31st in stores and online. Currently Nation Beat is touring in support of its upcoming EP. Audiences can keep up with the band’s latest tour schedule as well as its latest news and updates on Carnival Caravan online now at:

Website: http://www.nationbeat.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nation-Beat/10175932771

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

Nation Beat Announces Carnival Caravan Release Date, Tour Schedule

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

Brooklyn, NY-based quintet Nation Beat announced this week that it will release its latest recording late this month.

Carnival Caravan will be released Friday, July 31st under the new global release date system. The five-track EP will feature performances by not only Nation Beat but also from the Mardi Gras Indian/funk group Cha Wa. throughout. It is most evident in the Dixieland style sound of the record’s closer ‘Liza Jane.’ For those wanting something a little different there is the Latin-tinged sound of ‘Cantar Esse Coco (ft. Silverio Pessoa)’ and the disc’s opener ‘Casa Diamante /Sew Sew Sew,’ which also features the music of Cha Wa. Carnival Caravan’s complete track listing is noted below.

Carnival Caravan Track Listing

1. Casa Diamante / Sew Sew Sew (feat. Cha Wa)

2. Vou Cantar Esse Coco (feat. Silverio Pessoa)

3. Golden Crown (feat. Cha Wa)

4. Canto da Ema / All On a Mardi Gras Day (feat. Cha Wa)

5. Liza Jane (feat. Cha Wa)

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

Nation Beat is currently touring in support of Carnival Caravan ahead of its release later this month. The group will be at Carl Schurz Park in New York City next Wednesday, July 8th. Its current schedule takes it through September 17th in Hartford, CT.  The group’s current tour schedule is listed below.

DATE                                               CITY                                          VENUE

July 8                                           New York, NY                             Carl Schurz Park

July 11                                          London, Canada                              Sun Fest

July 12                                          London, Canada                              Sun Fest

July 14                                          Toronto, Canada                          Pan Am Games

July 30                                          Huntington, NY             Huntington Summer Arts Festival

July 31                                          Brooklyn, NY                                    Littlefield

August 1                                       Queens, NY                                  Queens Library

August 2                                       New York, NY                    Central Park Summer Stage

August 8                                       Bethlehem, PA                                  Musikfest

Sept. 17                                        Hartford, CT                                  Real Art Ways

Audiences can keep up with the latest updates on Carnival Caravan and Nation Beat’s tour schedule online now along with all of the group’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.nationbeat.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nation-Beat/10175932771

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nationbeat

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.