Nine Inch Nails “Adds” Itself To The Top Of Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Best New EPs List

Courtesy: Capitol Records

Time is officially ticking away to the end of the year, so as the countdown moves closer to the year’s final moments, those annual year-ender lists are starting to show up.  Keeping that in mind, Phil’s Picks has its own year-enders.  As is the case in year’s past, this year’s series of lists starts with the smallest releases, the year’s top new EPs.  Topping this year’s list of new EPs is none other than Nine Inch Nails’ new EP, Add Violence.  This five-song record takes all the best elements of Trent Reznor’s work from With Teeth all the way up to his most recent Nine Inch Nails record, Hesitation Marks both musically and lyrically.

Also included in this year’s list of the year’s top new EPs are independent releases from Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights, Chapel, Light The Way and others.  The list, as in years past, includes the year’s Top 10 new EPs as well as five additional honorable mention titles, for a total of 15 records.  With all of that having been noted, the following is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New EPs.


  1. Nine Inch Nails — Add Violence
  2. Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights — Give Up The Ghost
  3. Chapel — Sunday Brunch
  4. The Offering — The Offering
  5. Light The Way — Grace
  6. Sleep Signals — At The End Of The World
  7. Lane Change — Rise
  8. Red Reign — Red Reign
  9. Willamena — Strong Enough To Last
  10. The Major Minor — Different Light
  11. Constructs — Shapes
  12. Denzel Curry — 13
  13. New Kingston — Kingston Fiyah
  14. Vault 1 — Kid
  15. Pig — Prey & Obey

Next up on the calendar for Phil’s Picks is the year’s top new independent albums.  That list will be posted some time tomorrow afternoon, so stay tuned.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

‘Come From Far’ Shows How Far New Kingston Has Come, How Far It Can Go

Courtesy: Easy Star Records

New Kingston released this past August, what is the group’s fourth full-length studio recording when it released A Kingston Story: Come From Far. The 10-song offering was the band’s fourth overall album and came almost seven years from the release of its 2010 debut In The Streets. That actually bucks the trend of most mainstream acts regardless of genre, which typically sees acts release the same number of albums in a 10-year period. This latest effort is everything that audiences have come to expect from New Kingston both musically and lyrically, though there are at least a few songs that stand out this time around including ‘Agape’ and ‘Solid As A Rock’ — both of which would fit easily into any mainstream Top 40 pop radio station’s rotation — and ‘Starlight.’ Of course, this trio of songs is only part of what makes this album another work that will appeal to the group’s fans. The album’s seven other songs not noted here combine with the more directly noted works to ensure the album will keep listeners engaged and entertained throughout its 32-minute run time.

New Kingston’s fourth full-length album A Kingston Story: Come From Far is, over the course of its 10-song, 32-minute run time, everything that audiences have come to expect from the group. This applies both musically and lyrically. Of course some of the songs featured included in this record do stand out from their counterparts. ‘Agape’ is one of those standout offerings. Musically speaking, the song easily fits into any mainstream Top 40 pop station’s rotation. The guitar and electronics couple with the group’s vocal delivery make the song a gentle, accessible presentation that will reach a wide range of listeners. Of course the song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement. In regards to its lyrical theme, the song is a moving song about believing in love no matter what. That is proven as guitarist/vocalist Stephen Suckarie sings in the song’s lead verse, “Some people search a lifetime/A lifetime/Tryingto find a love like mine/So I thank the man above for sending me love like this/Though I wasn’t looking, my heart found it/So you can’t give up on love/Love is everything you need in life.” the rest of the song continues in very similar fashion, with that central message of not giving up on love remaining throughout. That positive message is one from which every listener will benefit, and the fact that the group didn’t go over the top in its delivery makes it all the more impacting. When it is coupled with the song’s equally gentle and emotional musical arrangement, that pairing shows clearly why this song stands out on New Kingston’s new record. it is only one of the record’s most notable additions. ‘Solid As A Rock’ is another of the record’s most standout offerings.

‘Solid As A Rock’ stands out from its counterparts — just as ‘Agape’ — in no small part because of its musical arrangement. The song’s arrangement does present something of an old school reggae sound. However, the group doesn’t let it dominate the song. Instead, it incorporates more modern guitar and keyboard lines into the song to make it more up-to-date. The use of those more modern influences in the song’s arrangement makes it another easily accessible and radio ready addition to this record. Of course as is the case with ‘Agape’ again, this song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical theme is important to discuss, too. That theme is one of self-determination and persistence, thus the song’s title ‘Solid As A Rock.” That theme is best illustrated in the song’s final verse in which the group sings, “One day/Oh, one day/things are gonna change/What doesn’t kill me/Can only make me stronger/Growing from the pain…Got to make the best of what this world has given you/It’s up to you…unconditional, you know that we’re solid as a rock.” Similar wording is used earlier in the song as the group addresses naysayers and life’s general challenges. All things considered, the same message of “staying solid as a rock” remains throughout. Keeping that in mind, it is clear here that the group is sending a very positive message that, again, applies to listeners of all ages. When it is coupled with the song’s laid back musical arrangement, that pairing creates such a positive vibe that it makes the song stand out that much more among its counterparts. It is still not the last of the album’s most standout songs. ‘Starlight,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is one more notable inclusion in this record.

‘Starlight’ stands out because of the pairing of its musical arrangement and its lyrical theme. The song’s musical arrangement is a clear throwback to reggae’s roots, with its guitars, keyboards and drums. Even its upbeat tempo is familiar. Keeping that in mind, it doesn’t necessarily stand on its own two feet. However, when that arrangement is coupled with the song’s lyrical theme, which is one of a love song, that pairing makes the song in whole stand out. The group sings of a man who is in love. In fact, it starts off with the statement that “Love is the greatest thing.” From there the group goes on to sing of a man who will love a woman unconditionally, singing, “when the sunlight fades away/And the moonlight starts to wake/Let the sunlight guide the way/Bring your loving my way. This is just the chorus of course. The group sings of all the positives that a woman brings to a man’s life, even calling her a blessing from the heavens and a queen. There is also mention of a man never letting a woman go and working to make sure things work. It would have been so easy for the group to go over the top with way too schmaltzy wording. But it really didn’t do that, nor did it even get away with itself in its delivery of its words. When this is considered with the power in the song’s arrangement, that pairing becomes a whole that stands out among today’s love songs. When it is considered alongside the other songs noted here and those not noted, they make the whole of the record a work that is certain to win applause from the group’s most devout fan base and maybe even garner some new fans. That could include fans who come to the group’s upcoming live shows on its winter 2018 tour, which launches Jan. 24 in Albuquerque, NM. The tour currently runs through Feb. 18 in Colorado Spring, CO and includes performances in Seattle, WA; Bozeman, MT; Eugene, OR and a number of other cities across the midwest and west coast — weather providing.

New Kingston’s new album A Kingston Story: Come From Far is a work that is certain to appeal to the group’s most devout fan base while also possibly earning the group some new fans. That is due to a mix of familiar musical and lyrical material and some newer material that fits easily into any mainstream Top 40 pop radio station’s rotation. Between that material and the group’s more familiar material, the whole of the album proves over its 10 songs and 32 minutes to be another strong new effort from the group. It is available now in stores and online. It likely will be available at the group’s upcoming Winter 2018 tour stops, too. more information on A Kingston Story: Come From Far is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:




To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at