Nick Perri, front man and namesake of Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves talked about Nirvana’s role in his life and in American culture in a new “episode” of Premiere Guitar‘s “Hooked” video series.
Perri said in the nearly six-minute video that he became a fan of Nirvana thanks in part to a member of his extended family. Who that family member is will be left for audiences to find out on their own. Additionally, Perri talked about the role the Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’ played in his early development as a guitarist during the video.
In other news, the band announced on July 28, a new series of live dates. The band’s new tour schedule, which is in support of its album, Sun Via, is slated to launch Sept. 7 in the nation’s capitol. It is scheduled to run through Sept. 19 in Des Moines, IA, with dates in cities, such as Chicago, IL; Philadelphia PA and St. Pail, MN along the way.
The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets are available here.
Sept 7th – Lincoln Theatre – Washington D.C. Sept 9th – Stone Pony Summer Stage – Asbury Park, NJ Sept 10th – The Mann Center – Philadelphia, PA Sept 11th – Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY Sept 12th – Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA Sept 14th – Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL Sept 18th – Palace Theatre – St Paul, MN Sept 19th – Vel Air Ballroom – Des Moines, IA
The band debuted the video for its latest single, ‘I Want You’ May 20 through American Songwriter. The premiere came approximately nine months after the band debuted the album’s lead single, ‘Feeling Good.’
Sun Via is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:
Rock and roll is not dead. Despite what KISS bassist Gene Simmons and others want to believe, it is anything but. People have tried to claim that the genre (and metal) is dead. Apparently, even the Recording Industry Association of America wants audiences to believe rock is dead. Thankfully, year after year, so many bands prove that quite the contrary is the reality. Independent rock band Grande Royale is just the latest band to prove the critics wrong thanks to its forthcoming album, Carry On. Scheduled for release Friday, the band’s fifth album leaves no doubt that real, pure guitar rock is alive and well. That is evidenced clearly in the record’s collective musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The arrangements’ companion lyrical content does just as much to support the noted statements. It will be discussed a little later. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this latest offering from Grande Royale. All things considered, they make the album clear proof that rock and roll is indeed alive and well.
Independent rock band Grande Royale’s fifth full-length studio recording, Carry On, is proof positive that despite the continued claims by so many that real guitar rock is dead, it clearly is anything but dead. In fact, it is pure, guitar rock at its finest, and proves that the genre is alive and well. That is proven in large part through the album’s collective musical arrangements. The arrangements are everything that guitar rock purists have come to love about the genre. The rich, driving guitar riffs start off the album with a sound and stylistic approach that is closely similar to that of Pearl Jam circa 2000 in ‘Troublemaker.’ ‘One of a Kind,’ which immediately follows, incorporates the most subtle touch of vintage guitar rock and pairs that with an equally subtle touch of vintage punk for yet another interesting composition. ‘Bang,’ the album’s very next song, incorporates even more of a vintage guitar rock influence for its body, changing things up. As if all of that is not enough, the band even gives listeners a touch of 90s pop rock late in the album’s 32-minute run in ‘Staying Dry.’ It’s just one more example of what makes the album’s musical arrangements so enjoyable. Between these arrangements, the stoner rock approach of ‘Schizoid Lullaby,’ the raucous ‘Just As Bad As You,’ and everything else featured here, there is no doubt that the musical arrangements featured throughout this album give plenty of reason for audiences to hear the album. They are just a portion of what makes this latest offering from Grand Royale so enjoyable. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements add to the record’s appeal even more.
The importance of the album’s lyrics is shown in part late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Ain’t Got Soul.’ This two minute, 40 second opus is classic rock right to the bone in its lyrical theme. The song’s chorus gives listeners every reason to raise the horns as it states against the arrangement’s high energy, “You got no role/I am swinging to the beat/You better watch out/I’m swinging to the beat/Do not stand there and shout, ‘Over and out’/’Cause you ain’t got soul/Unless you rock n roll/’Cause you ain’t got soul/An eternal case where we all belong.” The tribute continues as the song’s subject states in the song’s second verse, “All the rules you make/I am guilty of the crime/Guilty of the charge/Playing the blues/I am a slave to my passion/Do not tell me what to do/Go back to your pretty city.” Again, this is just a tribute to rock and roll, and to simply rocking out. It is just as pure rock and roll as any of the album’s musical arrangements.
‘Troublemaker’ is its own pure rock and roll work in its lyrical content just as much as its musical arrangement. This is one of those familiar, accessible works that finds its subject addressing someone who is toxic. That is inferred right from the song’s outset in its lead verse. The subject states in the song’s lead verse, “All that you are in your tattered soul/Leave it all behind/You got no options my friend/All that you need/You better hit the speed/You don’t need to pretend/I’m here to take a stand.” The commentary continues in the song’s second verse, which finds the subject telling that second person, “
I cannot stand this anymore/We’ve been here before/Knocking at your door/You are trouble, the devil/I cannot stand your face oh/My cannon is loose/Are you ready for some news?” The song’s chorus adds to the statement even more as the subject is addressing that person, who turns out to apparently be a woman, stating, “So, darling meet me at the Troublemaker Street/Calling you a rascal, calling me a fraud/Darling, you’re the queen of the Troublemaker Street/Calling you a rascal, calling me a fraud” Whether the song’s subject is addressing solely a woman, overall or two different people, the fact of the matter is that this familiar rock and roll theme. It will connect with any rock and roll purist.
‘Just As Bad As You’ is one more example of what makes this record’s lyrical content so important. This song’s lyrical theme comes across as being one of those classic “partners in crime” type songs in regards to its lyrical content. That is inferred early on in the song’s lead verse, which states, “Yeah, we are in the game/No need to put out the flame/Just me and you/Into the hall of fame/We are in the game/And who are you to blame?/Just you and me/And the power of gain.” That seeming message continues as the song states, “Darling, you are wild/We can’t go on/This life lies way beyond/But I’m just as bad as you/Cause you are wild/We can’t go on/But I’m just as bad as you/Yeah, we are in the zone/Nothing left to atone/Just you and me/Descending the throne.” Again, this “just the two of us” style theme is familiar to rock fans as the other themes noted here. Between these themes and those in the record’s other songs, little question is left as to the appeal of the album’s lyrical content to its presentation. When this overall element is considered along with the album’s musical arrangements, the album’s appeal increases even more. The overall content is still only a portion of what makes the album a success. The record’s production rounds out its most important content.
The production that went into Carry On is important to note because of the impact that it has on the album’s general effect. One need not listen too closely to catch the raw, garage rock sound at the center of each of the album’s songs. The richness and thickness in the drums and bass, the cutting but still so raw, driving guitars, and even the effect used on the vocals put their own touch to the record’s presentation. That is all thanks to the production that went into making each item sound so good. What’s more, each instrument is so well-balanced with the others and the vocals throughout. The result is that the record will appeal to listeners as much for its general effect as for its overall content. Keeping all of that in mind, the album overall proves itself to be a welcome return for Grande Royale.
Grande Royale’s latest album, Carry On, is a presentation that the band’s established will find a welcome return from the group. At the same time, audiences who are less familiar with the band and its catalog will find it just as welcome an introduction to the band. That is due in no small part to the record’s featured musical arrangements. The arrangements are pure, guitar rock at its finest. The lyrical themes featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements are vintage rock and roll in their own right, and are accessible in their own right. The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation, bringing everything together. Each item noted is important in its own right to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make Carry On one more of this year’s top new rock and independent albums. Carry On is scheduled for release Friday through The Sign Records. More information on Carry On is available along with all of Grande Royale’s latest news at:
Early this month, independent music collective Royal Horses released its debut album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve to the masses. The 10-song record is a strong start for the band. It is a presentation that makes this band one of the next big names in the country and southern rock communities. That is proven in no small part to through the musical arrangements that make up the album’s 37-minute body. They will be addressed shortly. The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical content adds to the album’s appeal. It will be addressed a little later. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will be addressed later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make the album a positive start for the up-and-coming outfit that is certain to appeal to a wide range of audiences.
Royal Horses’ debut album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve is a powerful start for the collective. It is a presentation whose appeal is far-reaching. This is proven in part through its musical arrangements. From start to end of the album, the band refuses to stick to just one sound and stylistic approach. There is some rock influence, such as in ‘Rattlesnake Smoking a Cigar,’ which comes late in the albums run. The song’s arrangement and sound is psychedelic. There are times in this four-and-a-half-minute opus that conjure thoughts of Jimi Hendrix while at others, there are hints of Clutch. Yes, it’s one heck of a combination, but it is balanced surprisingly well here and works just as well. On a completely different note, ‘Leave A Light’ presents an old school country music approach that will appeal to fans of Hank Williams, what with its vintage honky ton sound and style. On yet another note, a song, such as ‘Valley of the New’ will appeal to fans of the modern country rock band Reckless Kelly. There is even a welcome bluegrass element in ‘Call It War’ and an equally enjoyable blues-based rock presentation in ‘Who Do You Know’ that will appeal to fans of Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band. ‘Ruby Do’ gives audiences a sort of rockabilly approach that fans of Rev. Horton Heat and the Legendary Shack Shakers will enjoy. Between these noted arrangements and the others featured throughout the album, the whole of the record’s musical content shows great diversity. That in itself ensures the album’s noted wide appeal. It is just one aspect of what audiences will enjoy about the album. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s diverse range of musical arrangements adds to the record’s appeal even more.
The lyrical content that is presented throughout A Modern Man’s Way To Improve adds to the album’s success because it is just as accessible as the album’s musical arrangements. Case in point is the lyrical content featured in ‘Valley of the New.’ Front man Shelby Kemp sings here, “give me a reason to be here/Give me something to lose/Sing me a riddle/And I’ll give you a good answer/And I’ll hold you ‘til the sun comes shining through.” From there he sings later, “If I die here/There is something you must do/March me down/In a field of golden roses/March me down/to the tune of something blue/hang my hat/On a yonder mountain/Lay my heart/In the valley of the new.” This is as old school country as a song can get. On another note, the addition of the claves to the song’s arrangement gives the work a little bit of a Jimmy Buffet influence. Getting back on track, the song follows lyrically in similar fashion as that presented in its lead verse and chorus. Simply put, this is vintage country in which someone is singing about life gone by and what is to come. It’s one of those classic introspective songs that one could so easily hear in an old, dimly lit honky tonk bar. Its introspective lyrical content and equally moving musical arrangement makes for so much enjoyment.
‘Valley of the New’ is just one of songs whose lyrical theme shows the overall importance of the album’s lyrical content. ‘Rattlesnake Smoking A Cigar’ presents its own interesting lyrical content. It is just as psychedelic as the song’s musical arrangement. The subject sings here about going for a drive with his dad. The duo meets a group of women *allegedly* and one turned out to be not quite what she appeared. It is the most unique lyrical presentations featured in this album and will certainly have listeners talking.
‘Bottom of the Chart’ presents another unique lyrical theme that is worth noting. This song finds the song’s subject singing about being there for someone else when all of life’s negativities happen. From everything dying to “mother earth closing her eyes”, to even rivers being dammed up by trees, the song’s subject says he will be there for that person “at the bottom of your chart.” This is just this critic’s interpretation, but it comes across as someone saying, even when I’m the last on your list, the least important to you, I’ll be there. If in fact that is what the song’s subject is saying, then it is powerful. Most people who realize they are at the bottom of someone else’s priorities will do something to change things and perhaps just walk away from that situation. For this song’s subject to seemingly say he will be there, devoted as ever, no matter what, is a powerful statement. On one hand, it is moving. On another, some might say not so smart. The seeming lyrical theme in itself is certain to generate plenty of discussion. Building on the noted discussion, if in fact this critic’s interpretation is right then it takes listeners in yet another distinct direction. It shows even more, the record’s lyrical diversity. The result is that it shows even more, the importance of the album’s lyrical content in whole. The rest of the record’s lyrical content supports the noted statements just as much as that examined here. Between all of that and the album’s musical content, all of this more than makes this record worth hearing. All of that content is just a part of what makes A Modern Man’s Way Of Improving such a strong start for Royal Horses. The production of the noted collective content rounds out the record’s most important elements.
The production of A Modern Man’s Way of Improving is important to note because of how much is going on in some of the album’s entries, and how little is going on in others. ‘BLD’ for instance, which closes out the album, is one of the entries that has very little going on. It is grounded in a very simple, light guitar line. The echoing effect in the guitar’s melancholy approach is a credit to the production. It really serves to help set the mood in this song. The lyrical content is very limited here, which means the music takes center stage. Those behind the boards are to be credited for their work here. That noted echo effect and just the simplicity in the guitar line here supports the old adage that it is possible for a song to be heavy without being heavy.
By comparison, the album’s title track, which comes very early in its sequence, has a little bit more going on. The poppy approach and sound in the song again lends itself to comparisons to works from Reckless Kelly, but in this case, also to works from Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen. That’s one heck of a collection of influences, but it works so well here. It is also a credit to those responsible for the album’s production. That upbeat but still light guitar line works so well with the song’s solid time keeping and catchy vocal delivery style to make for so much enjoyment. On another level, the subtlety in the lead guitar line against the lighter rhythm guitar line adds its own richness to the presentation. The bass line pairs with that aspect to fill out the arrangement even more. As the song progresses, an increasing amount of action takes place. Each element within the song is expertly balanced throughout, to the end that the song offers listeners full enjoyment and engagement from start to end. It is just one more way in which the album’s production proves so important and hardly the last. ‘Call It War’ is another example of the importance of the album’s production.
‘Call It War’ crosses elements of bluegrass with southern rock and country into one whole for its foundation. The very crossing of the elements into one whole makes for an interesting presentation. That the banjo and electric guitar get equal attention here thanks to the production enriches the song’s arrangement in its own right. That the drums are used to tastefully here to add accents in all of the right points adds even more to the song’s enjoyment and engagement. The whole conjures thoughts of the Jerry Reed/Dick Feller hit song ‘Eastbound and Down’ from the timeless Burt Reynolds movie Smokey & The Bandit. That the whole can conjure such a comparison and that everything is so well-balanced here is one more example of the impact and importance of the album’s production. The production clearly brings out the best aspects of each song, in turn making each song so enjoyable and engaging. When this is considered along with the album’s musical and lyrical content, the whole of these elements makes the album in whole a successful first outing for Royal Horses.
Royal Horses’ debut album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve is a positive first outing for the up-and-coming band. It is a presentation that is sure to appeal to a wide range of listeners. That is proven in large part through its musical arrangements. The record’s musical arrangements offer elements of southern rock, country, bluegrass, and even blues-based rock. The arrangements never stay on one track for too long a period of time, either. That ensures in its own way, listeners’ enjoyment and engagement. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements is just as diverse as the album’s musical arrangements. It ensures even more that enjoyment and engagement. The production that went into the album’s presentation brings out the best elements of each arrangement, making the album even richer in its presentation. Each item noted here is important in its own right to the album’s presentation. Al things considered, they make the album a promising first outing for Royal Horses. The album is available now.
More information on A Modern Man’s Way To Improve is available along with all of Royal Horses’ latest news at:
The year 2020 threw a lot of misery and negativity at the world. Between the seemingly endless issues raised as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the political problems that plagued America and the world, and some of the most respected names in the industry passing, there has been more than enough for us to never speak of 2020 again when it ends. For all of that negativity and misery that the world has seen this year though, there actually has been at least some positive in the form of new music from so many acts. The lists compiled already recently by Phil’s Picks and other outlets have more than supported that statement. That new music includes new albums from lots of new and established rock acts, such as Deep Purple, Faith & Scars, and even Nine Inch Nails. All three acts are featured in this year’s list of Phil’s Picks Top 10 New Rock Albums. Their musical and lyrical content collectively (and sometimes by themselves) prove them fully deserving of their spots on this (and any critic’s) list.
As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 new titles in the given category and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles. Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Rock Albums.
PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS
Deep Purple – Whoosh!
Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves – Sun Via
Derek Sherinian – The Phoenix
Ricky Byrd – Sobering Times
Joe Satriani – Shapeshifting
Pearl Jam – Gigaton
Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts V
Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts VI
Soul Asylum – Hurry Up and Wait
Shadow and the Thrill – Sugarbowl
Faith & Scars – Revolver
Jason Kui – Naka
Michael Abdow – Heart Signal
Horisont – Sudden Death
Night – High Tides – Distant Skies
Next up from Phil’s Picks is 2020’s Top New Hard rock & Metal Albums. Stay tuned for that.
Independent rock band Nehoda is scheduled to release its new album But Anyways… Friday. The nine-song record is an interesting presentation from the band. That is due to in part to its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The 39-minute album’s lyrical content also plays into its presentation. It will be discussed a little later. The sequencing of that collective content rounds out the album’s most important elements. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make But Anyways… a work that shows promise for Nehoda.
Nehoda’s forthcoming album But Anyways…is a presentation that is worth hearing at least once. That is proven in part through its musical arrangements. The arrangements in question are of interest because while they do an impressive job of exhibiting the band’s wide range of influences and talents. From the plodding, Animals-eque ‘Lies’ and ‘Devil’s Bitch’ to the more Bruce Springsteen style approach of ‘Please Don’t Go’ to the Pearl Jam-esque ‘Afterglow’ to the more grunge stoner vibe of ‘I Don’t Know,’ the album’s opener to the more alt-rock approach of ‘Shakey Pop,’ this record takes audiences in a variety of directions. On the surface, this is a good thing. That is because again, it shows the wide range of the band’s influences and talents. It shows that the band is not just some one-trick pony so to speak, which will appeal to plenty of listeners. This is just one aspect of the record that will appeal to listeners. The arrangements’ companion lyrical content works with that content to make for even more appeal.
The lyrical content that is featured throughout Nehoda’s new album is key to discuss because it is so simple and accessible for listeners. The album opens with a clear sociopolitical commentary that goes after a variety of institutions. Band namesake and founder Patrick Nehoda opens the song by addressing those who would attack anyone who might want to speak their minds as he writes, “Try to find your voice/It ain’t f****** correct/Try to make a choice/Cut you off at the neck.” That second line in the song’s lead verse comes across as a statement of how people are just as apt to attack one another for standing on one side of an issue or another. The short and simple here is that he is seemingly making a statement about how divided America has become. In the song’s second verse, Nehoda seems to address the government sending people off to war and the fact that when American forces go overseas, innocent people (including children) are killed. It is a lot of metaphorical language, but it would seem to make sense at least in this critic’s mind. This is inferred as Nehoda sings, “Governments killing babies/Children for hire/It’s no wonder the youth of the world/Want to set this place on fire.” That line about “children for hire” maybe hints at people as young as 18 (basically children) are hired by the military to go to war and “kill babies.” Again, this is all just this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as gospel. That aside, it certainly seems to be somewhere in that proverbial ballpark. Sociopolitical commentary is anything but new to the rock realm, but is no less impacting here as it is in those other instances. From here, things take a noticeable change, focusing more on the topic of relationships and inner struggles. Case in point are songs, such as ‘Devil’s Bitch,’ ‘Lies,’ and ‘Just Another Season.’ ‘Afterglow’ meanwhile takes a slightly different, more upbeat tone. ‘Shakey Pop’ does center on a personal relationship, but comes across more as a song whose story is more of a coming-of-age presentation than the standard work about relationships of any kind. Simply put, the lyrical themes featured throughout this record will connect with listeners just as much as its wide range of musical arrangements if not more so. Now keeping that in mind, it is still just one more of the elements that warrants examination. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
The sequencing of Nehoda’s new album is important to examine not so much just because of the songs’ energies, but rather the ability of this element to connect the album’s distinct musical styles. Case in point are the transitions between the record’s first three songs. The stoner rock opener that is ‘I Don’t Know’ dies off and fades out slow enough that when the equally slow, introspective ‘Lies’ opens up, the transition is fluid. The same can be said of the transition between that song and its follow-up, ‘Devil’s Bitch.’ Now while the transitions between the album’s first three songs are solid, that is also because the songs’ arrangements are so similar. From there, things change notably. ‘Shakey Pop,’ which immediately follows ‘Devil’s Bitch’ is more of a Foo Fighters type work in comparison to the gritty blues rock sound and approach of ‘Devil’s Bitch.’ Yet somehow the transition works even in this case. Maybe it is again the amount of time given between songs and the fashion in which the prior ends and the latter begins. The two are clearly different, but each has a certain heavy fuzz about them, giving at least some connection. The relaxed finale of ‘Shakey Pop’ is what makes its transition into the even more reserved ‘Walk Away’ work as well as it does. Much the same can be said of the transition between ‘Walk Away’ and the album’s title track. Interestingly enough, that song gradually builds to a very heavy arrangement. The heavy opening bar of the otherwise contemplative ‘Just Another Season’ is what makes the transition there work as well as it does. The record’s final two songs move just as fluidly as the rest of the album’s entries. The end result is a presentation that shows despite having so many distinct musical influences and styles throughout, those behind the glass put in a lot of time and thought to ensure this aesthetic aspect strengthened the album’s presentation just as much as its content. When it is considered along with the collective content, the whole of the album becomes even more worth hearing. As a matter of fact, they combine to make the album a presentation that in hearing, listeners will agree shows some promise for Nehoda.
Nehoda’s new album But Anyways… is a work that will leave audiences saying anything but But Anyways… Rather, it will keep them engaged and focused on its presentation throughout. That is proven through its diverse musical arrangements and its accessible lyrical content. When that content is joined with the album’s sequencing, the whole of the album proves itself a presentation that shows some promise for Nehoda’s future. But Anyways… is scheduled for release Friday. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
It might be hard to believe, considering everything that has happened around the world this year, but 2020 is almost halfway over. It’s been a tough year so far thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak effectively shutting down the world and causing economic havoc the world around. Protests and riots brought on by the killing of African-Americans by white law enforcement officers has made things even more bleak. Division among people the world over has widened thanks to our political leaders. For all of the negative that the world has laid at our feet this year, one thing to the positive that can be said of this year is that it has given audiences a lot of great new music. From one genre to the next, audiences have had a lot to be thankful for. From the likes of MMXX, the long-awaited new album from prog-metal collective Sons of Apollo to ACCA, the equally anticipated new album from jazz/pop artist Ala.ni to hip-hop group Run The Jewels’ powerful new offering RTJ4 and more, this year has given audiences lots of reason to be happy. One of those albums in the “and more” that is notable is Pearl Jam’s new album Gigaton. Released March 27 through Monkeywrench Records, the 12-song album is a welcome follow-up to the band’s 2015 album Lightning Bolt. That is due to the album’s musical arrangements and its lyrical themes. Each item will be noted shortly. The record’s sequencing adds its own touch to the record’s presentation. Each item noted is key in its own way to the whole of this record. All things considered, they make Gigaton a record that while not musically explosive, is still a powerful new offering from the band.
Veteran rock band Pearl Jam’s latest full-length studio recording Gigaton (its 11th album) is a welcome new return for the band, coming more than six years after the release of its 10th album Lightning Bolt, which was released in October 2013. This latest album, released in March, offers for audiences longtime and new to appreciate, beginning with its musical arrangements. Much as with so many of the band’s past records, the arrangements that make up the 57-minute album’s run time present the band as a unit that is not afraid to continue experimenting with different sounds. The band has been doing this since the release of its 1993 album Vs. With each progressive album, the band’s creativity and growth has been increasingly on display, with this album being no exception to that rule. Case in point is the arrangement used in ‘Dance of the Clairvoyants.’ This song’s arrangement is grounded in what sounds like an 80s new wave work with its keyboards and seemingly programmed drums. The use of the short guitar hits and front man Eddie Vedder’s vocals add to that feel, with the end result being an arrangement that is almost incomparable to anything that the band has done past or present. What’s more, that seeming 80s influence, the work in whole is still engaging and entertaining in its own right. ‘Comes Then Goes’ is another way in which the arrangements featured in this record prove so important to its presentation. The simple, acoustic opus feature Vedder and a guitar. It is a semi-country rock work akin perhaps to something that Vedder’s longtime friend and fellow veteran rocker Neil Young might compose. It is a stylistic approach that Pearl Jam and company have rarely if ever taken on any of its past albums, and it succeeds in its own right in keeping listeners engaged and entertained. ‘Seven O’Clock’ is yet another example of how the band’s continued experimentation and growth benefits this record. There are moments in this record that incorporate a semi-80sstyle guitar work alongside synthesizer and strings (also possibly synthesized) that is very much unlike so much of what the band has done in the past. It sounds like an odd combination, but the reality is that it really quite engaging because it is such a unique presentation. It’s just one more way in which the record’s musical content overall proves itself so important to the album’s presentation. Taken into consideration along with the other arrangements noted here and the rest of the album’s musical content, the arrangements in whole create a fully encompassing environment that audiences will enjoy from beginning to end.
As much as its musical arrangements do for its presentation, Gigaton’s musical content plays just one part in the record’s overall appeal. Its lyrical content plays its own key part to its whole. There is a lot of commentary about the current state of America and the world, such as in the album’s fourth song, ‘Quick Escape’ in which he directly addresses Donald Trump and the damage that Trump has done to America and the world. He goes so far in the song as to say, “Crossed the border to Morocco/Kashmir then Marrakech/The lengths we had to go to then/To find a place Trump hadn’t f***** up yet.” From there, Vedder goes so far as to sarcastically hint that the only way out of the current situation is to go to another planet, writing, “And here we are/The red planet/Craters across the skyline/A sleep sack in a bivouac/And a Kerouac sense of time/And we think about the old days/Of green grass/Sky and red wine/Should’ve known/So fragile/And avoided this one-way flight.” This content and the rest of the statements featured in the song paint a picture of someone looking back while also looking at the present, trying to figure out what went wrong. It’s not necessarily a downer of a song, but is a justified display of frustration at what had happened in the song’s scenario. It’s just one example of what makes the album’s lyrical themes a collectively important part of the record’s presentation. ‘Take The Long Way’ is another example of that noted importance.
‘Take The Long Way’ delivers a feeling of hope through so much, which is certain to connect with listeners. Vedder sings in the song’s lead verse, “You got me through those feelings/That separates me from you/Put myself through beating/Need you to pull me through/Ill break through these feelings/I’ll break through the ceiling.” This is a pretty straight-forward statement that leaves little room for interpretation. He continues in the song’s second verse, “Now’s the time to resurface/Take back me and you/the hammer will fall on purpose/Our time/Our truth.” Again, here audiences get a message of determination and refusal to give up despite whatever circumstances might be. This is not one of those typical songs about someone trying to get back together with someone following a breakup. It is an allegory that is just meant to encourage listeners to never give up in life because they are not alone. At least that is this critic’s interpretation. Regardless, it clearly shows why it is such an important addition to Gigaton. It is just one more way in which the record’s lyrical content shows its importance. ‘Seven O’Clock’ is another important addition to the album’s presentation.
‘Seven O’Clock,’ like many of the album’s other songs, uses the state of the world as its basis, but also reminds listeners to never give up in even the most adverse circumstances. He sings at one point, “Freedom is as freedom does/And freedom is a verb/They giveth and they taketh/And you fight to keep that what you’ve earned/We saw the destination/Got so close before it turned/Swim sideways from this undertow and do not be deterred.” The statement continues even more directly as the song progresses, “Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse come forget the north and west/Then there’s sitting Bull**** as our sitting president/Talking to his mirror/What’s he say/What’s it say back?/A tragedy of errors, who’ll be last to have a laugh?” The song’s indictment hardly lets up from there as Vedder reminds listeners, “What’s to be done/Carve a path for rivers reign/Much to be done/Oceans rising with the waves.” This is clearly a statement about the world’s rising oceans and the connection to global warming. The short and simple here is that Vedder and company are urging people to keep up even despite everything going on. They are telling audiences there is “much to be done” and that even despite the damage that Trump has done to the nation, they must persevere. It’s a unique approach to a very familiar lyrical theme and one more way in which this record’s lyrical content proves so pivotal to its whole. It’s another way in which the album presents a theme of hope and determination despite everything happening in this topsy-turvy world. When the lyrical content featured throughout Gigaton is considered along with the whole of the album’s musical arrangements, the overall content featured in this record gives audiences plenty to appreciate. Together with its sequencing, the album’s presentation is strengthened even more.
The sequencing of Gigaton is important to note in the bigger picture of the LP in that it does just as much to keep listeners engaged as the record’s overall content. The record starts out fiery and strong in its first four songs, but soon thereafter, its mood pulls changes briefly in ‘Alright’ and Seven O’Clock.’ Those songs’ more reserved nature do well to help translate the songs’ messages while also keeping the album’s overall energy unique in its own way. ‘Never Destination’ brings the record’s energy back up. That energy carries through ‘Take The Long Way’ before the record slows back down again in ‘Buckle Up’ and maintains its reserved nature through to the record’s finale, ‘River Cross.’ As the final notes of that song fade away, listeners are left feeling fulfilled after having experienced such balanced energy and mood changes throughout this record. The fulfillment brought through Gigaton’s sequencing joins with the album’s content to bring everything in this album full circle and make the album complete and completely successful.
Pearl Jam’s latest album Gigaton continues a trend of success for the band that it has experienced over the entire course of its life. That is because once again, the band has shown it is not afraid to experiment and try something new, musically. The record’s lyrical content will engage, entertain and inspire listeners with its lyrics filled with messages of hope and determination. The record’s sequencing ensures its energy rises and falls at all of the right points. It plays alongside the album’s overall content to bring everything full circle and in turn make the album maybe not a hugely explosive new offering from Pearl Jam, but still a record that will have a lasting impact in the bigger music community. Gigaton is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Pearl Jam’s latest news at:
Independent rock band Lullwater is taking Pearl Jam fans back in time with a video for its cover of Peal Jam’s classic song ‘Release.’
The original song was included in Pearl Jam’s debut 1991 record Ten. Lullwater’s take on the song was recorded at London Bridge Studios in Seattle, Washington. The video, which premiered via Loudwire, features the band performing with Dave Krusen (Pearl Jam, Candlebox) and Kevin Martin (Candlebox).
Courtesy: TAG Publicity
Lullwater front man John Strickland discussed the band’s take on the song in a recent interview, saying recording and performing the song is something special for him.
“The entire process of recording Pearl Jam’s ‘Release’ in London Bridge Studios was so surreal,” Strickland said. “Pearl Jam is one of my favorite bands, and to cover that in one song in the same room as they did, was very emotional for me. I had no idea that a couple of years later we would be performing it live with Dave Krusen and Kevin Martin on the Candlebox tour; it’s such an odd and incredible feeling of living and experiencing the moments we’ve made because of ‘Release,’ It’s by far the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me as a musician. Thinking back to when I was in my adolescent years playing that song over and over and then one day to be performing it live with the original drummer, i simply crazy for me. ‘Release’ has a special place in my heart and is one of my favorite songs to play live.”
Lullwater’s next album Voodoo is expected to be released in Winter 2018. More information on that is available online now along with all of Lullwater’s latest news and more at:
The rock super group—Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Mike McCready, and Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam)—announced this week that it has reunited and will tour together for the first time ever. The group also announced that it will re-issue its self-titled 1991 record this fall to mark the 25th anniversary of its release. The album will be re-issued Friday, September 30th via UMe. It will be available in four different formats—four-disc Super Deluxe Edition, double LP vinyl, two-disc Deluxe Edition CD set, and standard single-disc platform. Pre-orders for physicals are open now. They can be placed here. Each pre-order includes a detailed list of the contents of each presentation.
The band’s tour launches November 4th and currently spans only five cities—Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle—winding down on November 20th. Pre-sale tickets are currently open for fans signed up with Pearl Jam’s official fan club, Ten Club, and to the e-mail lists of Soundgarden and Chris Cornell. Fan pre-sales end next Wednesday, July 27th. General public ticket sales begin at 12pm local time next Friday, July 29th. $1.50 from each ticket sold will benefit the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation. An additional $1.50 from each ticket sold will benefit Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation.
Temple of the Dog originally rose from the remnants of Mother Love Bone. That band ended after then front man Andrew Wood died from a drug overdose. Wood was, coincidentally, Cornell’s room mate and close friend. After Wood’s passing Cornell went on to write the songs ‘Say Hello 2 Heaven’ and ‘Reach Down’ in order to process his grief. Those songs would also go on to be included in Temple of the Dog’s sole album. Eventually Gossard and Ament, two of the original members of Mother Love Bone, added Mike McCready to the band’s lineup, who was then followed by Cameron on drums. The resultant album, according to TOTD’s members, was originally not meant for commercial release. As Cornell recalls of the album, “Temple was about making an album simply for the joy of doing it. We weren’t concerned what anyone outside of our group of friends would think of it. It was the first and maybe only stress-free album that we all made.” When the band crafted ‘Hunger Strike’ Cornell felt that the song needed a duet. Enter Eddie Vedder, who would eventually go on to front Pearl Jam. The song would go on to be the band’s biggest hit and would peak at #4 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Chart.
Temple of the Dog did have a very limited number of shows in November and December of 1990. The band’s upcoming shows this fall mark the first time since those shows that the band has ever toured together. There was a performance in 2015 in which Cornell joined his former TOTD band mates for a performance of ‘Reach Down’ and ‘Call Me A Dog’ at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. In 2014 Cornell also joined the band for a performance at the Bridge School show and for two nights at PJ20 in Alpine Valley, Wisconsin. More information on Temple of the Dog’s upcoming concerts and album re-issue is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at http://www.facebook.com/TempleofTheDog.
The Charleston, South Carolina based indie band Loner’s Society is set to release its new live EP King City Sessions next month. The five-track recording is a good introduction for those that might be less familiar with the band and just as enjoyable for those that are more familiar with its works. What’s most interesting about the band’s new release is the sound of the songs included in the recording. The songs are interesting in their own right because of their musical and emotional depth. But they don’t exactly sound like the description of the band’s sound on its official Facebook page. According to the band’s official Facebook page, the band is “comparable to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers if The Heartbreakers had been comprised from members of: Pearl Jam, Rancid, and The Temptations.” That wording comes verbatim from the band’s Facebook page. And it’s quite a mix of influences. But as listeners will notice right from the recording’s outset, its sound is more comparable to Bob Dylan and certain classic Country Western acts than any of the acts noted on the band’s Facebook page. Where Loner’s Society does finally start to bear more of the Pearl Jam meets Rancid sound is on the recording’s fourth song, ‘Autum Breeze.’ These two songs (and the recording’s remaining trio of live tracks) make King City Sessions quite the live recording even as short as it is.
Loner’s Society opens its upcoming live EP with the song ‘LaGrange.’ This song is an interesting introduction because of the throwback vibe that it conjures up among listeners. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Megrue openly states in the song in almost Lou Reed style, “And we recorded a record/Then we loaded the van/The last thing the world needed was another punk rock band/So I spent the next five years just barely getting’ by/Cause as time goes by it’s certain/That certain things’ll change/And you can spend your whole life working/Trying to stay the same/But plan on doin’ doubles till you die/At that diner in LaGrange. The line about the last thing the world needing was another punk rock band is very telling. It goes back to the previously noted difference in the sound of the songs included on this recording versus the band’s own description of its sound. This song sounds anything like a punk rock band. It’s more of a Country Western style piece interestingly enough. Even that first verse’s remaining lines line up more with old school Country Western than punk, Pearl Jam, and especially The Temptations. For all of its deep introspection, there is one funny moment in this song in which Megrue sings about things he’s seen in his life. He sings “I’ve seen marriages, divorces, babies, and divorces.” That must be one heck of a lot of divorces. Whether or not it was meant to be joking, it’s such a subtle joke that one can’t help but laugh a little bit hearing the emphasis on divorces that have been seen. That subtlety set alongside the song’s more heartfelt introspective musical and lyrical elements make it an excellent introduction for the band in every sense of the word.
‘LaGrange’ is a solid opener for the band’s new upcoming live recording. It’s just one of the recording’s most interesting of points. The recording’s penultimate performance of ‘Autumn Breeze’ is another of those high points. It is more along the lines of the band’s described sound. It starts off gently enough, but eventually picks up and bears more of an indie-folk/rock sound. Listeners can feel such emotion as Megrue sings, “I can feel that Autumn breeze/Blowing in from Tennessee/It soaks my nights in whiskey dreams/Old cruel winds just speak to me.” There’s a certain pain in Megue’s voice as he sings this verse that tugs at the heart. The song takes a more driving feel from there. Even with that more up-tempo feel, the song doesn’t lose the pained emotional state established early on in its near five-minute run time. It all makes for what is easily one of the highest of this live EP’s performances.