Symphony X Announces 25th Anniversary Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records/InsideOut Music

Symphony X will celebrate its 25th anniversary as a band next spring.

The band made the announcement through a news release distributed Monday. The band is scheduled to embark on a tour to mark the occasion starting May 10 in New York, NY. The tour, which will feature Haken as a special guest, is scheduled to run through June 12 in Montclair, NJ. The tour also features performances scheduled in cities nationwide, such as Cleveland, OH; Mesa, AZ and Carrboro, NC.

Guitarist Michael Romeo talked about the upcoming tour during a recent interview.

“After the past year and a half of tours and festivals being canceled, it looks like things are finally moving along and getting back rolling,” he said. “We are SO looking forward to the upcoming tour and getting back out there playing again! We can’t wait and we’ll see you all soon!”

Front man Russell Allen echoed his band mate’s sentiments.

“The wait is over! We are really looking forward to getting back on the road and sharing the live music experience with all of you. See you on the road my friends!”

The members of Haken spoke highly of Symphony X in a prepared statement, additionally expressing their anticipation for getting out on the road together.

“We are so excited to get out on the road again at all, but having the honour to do it alongside Symphony X will make it that much more special,” the statement reads. “We have nothing but the utmost respect for them as progressive metal pioneers and when we were starting out, Symphony X was one of the bands who inspired us to practice our instruments and strive to be better musicians – and still do! We’ve really missed the USA and the fans over there so much over the lockdown period. Getting back over there to see some familiar faces as well as meeting new friends will be an emotional ride. We can’t wait for this Odyssey to begin!”

The schedule for the upcoming tour is noted below. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale at 10 a.m. local time Friday.

Confirmed dates for the SYMPHONY X25th Anniversary North American Tour” with HAKEN and TROPE are:
May 10 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
May 11 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre
May 12 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
May 13 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell
May 14 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
May 15 – Toronto, ON – The Danforth Music Hall
May 17 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Theatre
May 18 – Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre
May 19 – Chicago, IL – Park West
May 20 – St. Louis, MO – Red Flag
May 21 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
May 23 – Denver, CO – The Oriental Theater
May 24 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
May 26 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
May 27 – Vancouver, BC – The Rickshaw Theatre
May 28 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
May 29 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
May 31 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory
Jun 1 – Los Angeles, CA – The Belasco Theater
Jun 2 – Mesa, AZ – Nile Theater
Jun 4 – Austin, TX – Empire Garage
Jun 5 – Dallas, TX – Amplified Live
Jun 7 – Atlanta, GA – Heaven At The Masquerade
Jun 8 – Orlando, FL – The Plaza Live
Jun 10 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
Jun 11 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
Jun 12 – Montclair, NJ – The Wellmont Theater

More information on Symphony X’s upcoming tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://symphonyx.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/symphonyx

More information on Haken’s tour with Symphony X is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.hakenmusic.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Haken_Official

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

ESPN Announces Key Matchups For Week 7 Broadcast Schedule Of The 2021-22 College Football Season

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has announced its broadcast schedule for week seven of the 2021-22 college football season.

This weekend’s schedule is set to kick off at 10:30 p.m. ET Friday. Pac-12 conference opponents No. 9 Oregon and California are scheduled to face off.

The college football action continues at noon Saturday with a packed schedule. One key matchup at noon will see a showdown between American Athletic Conference opponents #3 Cincinnati and UCF. The game is scheduled to air on ABC. Meanwhile over on ESPN2, Nebraska and Minnesota are scheduled to kick off at noon.

Also at noon, the Gators and LSU Tigers will face off on ESPN. It will simulcast on ESPN Radio. Additionally, No. 21 Texas A&M will face Missouri at noon on the SEC Network.

Saturday’s daylong schedule continues at 3:30 with two more games. No. 19 BYU will face Baylor on ESPN’s 4K Game of the Week. Also at 3:30, No. 2 Iowa is scheduled to hit the field against Purdue on ABC following the Bearcats/Golden Knights game.

The SEC will get more attention at 7 p.m. on ESPN as No. 5 Alabama takes the field against Mississippi State.

Back over on the SEC Network, Ole Miss and Tennessee will go under the lights at 7:30 p.m. ET on SEC Saturday Night Presented by T-Mobile. #22 NC State will be on the road against Boston College at 7:30 p.m. on the ACC Network. The gridiron action continues at 7:30 p.m. on ABC’s Saturday Night Football Presented by Capitol One as No. 4 Oklahoma hosts TCU.

Utah and No. 18 Arizona State round out the key matchups on this week’s schedule of games across the ESPN networks. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The games noted here are just a handful of contests scheduled for this weekend. Even more games are scheduled across the ESPN networks.

More information on this weekend’s broadcast schedule is available along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

Websitehttps://www.espn.com/college-football

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/espncfb

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

‘Doom Patrol: Season Two’ Is A Successful New Entry To One Of DC’s Most Unique Properties

Courtesy: DC Comics/Warner Brothers

Aaaaah, family.  Family is one of the best things in the world.  Family is also one of the worst things in the world.  Good or bad, family is all that we have in this world.  That is really the crux of the second season of DC’s Doom Patrol.  Released early this year on DVD and BD, the series’ second season is an interesting continuation for the series.  That is due to the noted story featured in this season.  It will be addressed shortly.  The cast’s work throughout the season is also of import here, and will be examined a little later.  The bonus content, as little as it really is here, also plays at least some part in the set’s presentation.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Doom Patrol’s second season.  All things considered, they make this season one more of this year’s gradually growing list of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown-up audiences.

The second season of DC’s Doom Patrol is an interesting outing for the series.  The series, and group is among the lesser-known of DC’s properties, but this season is sure to help bring both much more attention.  That is proven in part through the season’s story.  The story, as noted already, is on the importance of family.  Even as emotionally heavy as the story is throughout, that emphasis remains.  Audiences will be moved as they watch Larry (a.k.a. Negative Man) try to make amends with his family following the revelation of his son’s death.  Viewers will be just as moved (albeit in a more lighthearted way) as they watch Cliff try to make amends with his daughter after finding out that she survived the wreck that led to him becoming Robot Man.  On yet another note, Rita facing the demon that is the trauma caused by her mother is just as engaging and entertaining because of the subtle way in which it is tied into the whole of the story.  Crazy Jane even has her own family of sorts in her head that she has to deal with over the course of this season.  Looking through this, the first thing that one might feel that there is a lot going on.  That would be right.  However, even as much as is going on in the bigger story, the ability of the writers to balance all of these interweaving story lines is on full display.  What’s more, the depth in each character’s story and the very stories themselves prove relatable to so many audiences.  Case in point is the revelation of who Cliff’s daughter is marrying.  His reaction to that revelation is reflective of so much of America in the current age.  Most people likely will not admit to it, but in a case such as that of Rita, lots of people deal with the emotional trauma brought on by toxic relationships with their parents during their formative years, so even that is believable.  Larry’s case is similar to that of Rita, just in a different fashion, which perhaps is why the pair bonds so well this season.  He made his son feel like he was not good enough, being a hot shot pilot in his normal life, and that led to the rift between the pair. 

Through all of the emotional issues that the Doom Patrol faces this season in dealing with their pasts with their families, they grow as individuals.  As a result of that growth, viewers see the group, including Cyborg, start to develop into the heroes that they will be as the show continues.  Speaking on that note, the series is currently in the midst of its 3rd season.  Its home release will likely come early in the new year just as this season was released early this year, considering the air date for Season Three’s finale.  Getting back on topic, the character development that audiences see this season makes the season, in hindsight, really a transitional season of sorts.  It is a continuation of Season One, and in turn is sure to lead to something even more interesting and exciting in Season Three.  Keeping that all in mind, the story featured in the second season of Doom Patrol is reason enough for audiences to give the season a chance.  It is just one of the season’s positives.  The cast’s work adds its own appeal to the presentation.

Brendan Fraser leads the way once again in terms of the cast’s work.  His general personality and sharp tongue brings a much needed looseness and unique comic relief to the show.  Given, every other word out of his mouth is made up four letters, but just his sheer delivery in every scene is so great.  His nonstop declaration that he’s going to kill the chief after being launched out of the chief’s space ship and landing in a fiery ball into a random field is a prime example of his expert timing.  Audiences know that he is really made, but there is just something about his delivery that makes audiences laugh as hard as ever even as they feel sympathy for Cliff.  This especially considering the heart that he developed for Dorothy shortly before that happened.  On a similar note, the chemistry that he shows alongside Dianne Guerrero (Crazy Jane) creates its own dynamic.  The way he just casually accepts that she has so many personalities is funny in its own way because of the very subtlety in that relationship of sorts.

Similarly, the aforementioned onscreen work between April Bowlby (Rita) and Matt Bomer (Larry) is just as enjoyable to see even with it being more of a secondary performance of sorts.  The duo knows that its wok is secondary, too, and makes the most of it as their characters lean on one another.

Staying on the note of the pair, Bowlby is inspiring as she takes Rita through her emotional journey in facing her own past.  There were so many opportunities for Bowlby to really go over the top, considering all of the drama in this season.  Thankfully she did not go that route.  The end result is that she makes Rita that much more of a sympathetic character throughout the season. 

Much the same can be said of Bomer’s work as Larry.  The moments when he is in the shed next to his son’s home, reading the letter that his son wrote as a child is absolutely heartbreaking.  Because his face is covered with bandages, Bomer is forced to do his emoting more through his actions, and they do so well to reveal the depth of Larry’s remorse for the past.  It is just one more way in which the cast’s performances make for so much depth this time out.  Between the performances noted here and so much more exhibited by the cast, the cast’s overall work here is so enjoyable to watch.  When the whole is considered along with the depth in the season’s story, the two elements join to make for that much more reason to watch this season of Doom Patrol.  It still is only a part of what makes this season engaging and entertaining.  The bonus content that accompanies the season in its home release rounds out the most important of its items.

The bonus content featured in the home release of Doom Patrol’s second season is limited to say the least.  One of the bonuses is just one of the show’s creative heads talking about shooting the show in Georgia.  The brief discussion is basically just an advertisement for filming in Georgia and is honestly irrelevant.  The other bonus feature, which focuses on the season’s makeup and special effects gives audiences at least a brief glance into the work that went into this season’s look.  Audiences will appreciate the determination that the show’s makeup and costume heads had for something as minute as the freckles on Dorothy’s face, making sure that they stayed the same in each episode.  Such dedication to the show’s look is admirable to say the least.  Understanding that the twin brother duo has always been so serious about makeup, going all the way back to its childhood, makes for even more appreciation for the pair’s work.  It will lead, in hindsight, to even more appreciation for the look of Doom Patrol in its second season.  One can only hope that considering this is the season’s only other bonus feature, there will be more bonus content in the third season’s home release.  At least this bonus adds a little bit more appreciation for this season, if only for its aesthetics.  Keeping that in mind along with the impact of the season’s story and the cast’s work, the whole becomes that much more engaging and entertaining.  It collectively makes the season in whole a great continuation for the series and one more of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown up audiences.

Doom Patrol: Season Two is an overall impressive offering.  Its appeal starts with its story.  Yes, the story is extremely emotionally heavy, but in understanding the character development hat takes place throughout the season, it makes the heaviness that much more understandable and bearable.  It shows the group on the verge of becoming “super heroes” of sorts.  Hopefully that growth and change will become even more evident in Season Three, considering this.  The cast’s work interpreting that development adds to the season’s appeal.  That is because the group’s work is just that believable.  Being so believable, it ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment that much more.  Keeping in mind the positive impact of the cast’s work and of the story, there is just one more item to note.  That item is the bonus content.  The bonus content featured in this season’s home release is minimal to say the least, but at least one of the bonuses offers more appreciation for the season.  In this case, it focuses on the season’s look.  That item works with the season’s other noted items to make the whole well worth watching and one more of this year’s top new DVD and BD box sets for grown up audiences. 

Doom Patrol: Season Two is available now.  More information on the season and other DC Universe series is available online at:

Website: https://dccomics/com/tv

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dccomics

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.  

Wage War’s Latest LP Continues To Cement The Band’s Place In the Metalcore, Metal, And Hard Rock Communities

Courtesy: Fearless Records

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  Everybody knows that old adage about making the best of a bad situation.  It is an adage that the members of Wage War followed (like so many other musical acts) last year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the band off the road.  The band made the most of the situation and crafted its latest album (its fourth), Manic.  Scheduled for release Friday through Fearless Records, the 57-minute album is a powerful presentation from beginning to end.  That is thanks to its musical and lyrical content alike, as its current singles – Teeth,’ ‘Circle The Drain,’ and ‘High Horse’ – have shown.  They are just a sampling of what makes the album successful.  Also of note in this record is the late entry, ‘Never Said Goodbye.’  This song will be examined shortly.  ‘Death Roll,’ another track that comes in the record’s second half, is also of note.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Manic,’ the album’s title track, is yet another interesting addition to the presentation and will also be discussed later.  All three songs do just as much as the album’s current singles to show why Manic is such a strong new offering from Wage War.  When all of these songs are considered along with the album’s other songs, the overall presentation makes Manic one more of the best of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Wage War’s forthcoming album, Manic, is another strong new offering from the metalcore band, which continues to cement its place within that community and the bigger hard rock and metal community.  The album proves successful through its combined musical and lyrical content.  Its current singles have done well to support the noted statements, and they are just a snapshot of what makes the record engaging and entertaining.  ‘Never Said Goodbye’ is another song that shows the album’s strength.  The song is the album’s only reserved composition in terms of its musical arrangement.  The subdued, contemplative stylistic approach and sound in the song’s verses alongside the more fiery choruses makes for a juxtaposition and contrast that stands out starkly from the rest of the record’s works.  That is not a bad thing, either.  Though, in the bigger picture of the record’s sequencing, it might have done better if it had been made the record’s midpoint, so as to break up the record’s overall mood.  That is a matter for another time, though.  The control in the vocals and instrumentation, and the production therein gives this arrangement a distinct emocore type presentation that still manages to immerse listeners in its body and keep them engaged.

The musical side of ‘Never Said Goodbye’ goes a long way to ward making the song stand out in the album’s bigger picture.  When it pairs with the song’s lyrical theme its own strength increases even more.  That is because of the matter addressed in the lyrical content here.  The lyrical content in question focuses on someone mourning an individual who is close to him/her.  This is made relatively clear right from the song’s lead verse and chorus, which state, “Nothing could prepare me for that call/Dropped to my knees/Threw my phone against the wall/Said you were gone/And I didn’t believe it/This isn’t real/I just gotta be dreaming/It’s never fair/You were taken away too soon/Feels like a knife in the heart/An open wound/Won’t ever heal/’Cause I’m tryin’ to…/I’m in a world where you’re not in existence/I know you/I know we never know it’s time/But I don’t understand what’s on the other side/I know you/I know it’s just part of life/But I’m still askin’ why/Why I never say what I meant to/All those things I wanted to tell you/I know you’re home now/In a better place/But I’m still searching for the words to say/Iwsh it wasn’t the last time/’Cause I never said goodbye.”  The eulogy of sorts continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Hard to think that you’re never coming home/Now you rest in a field beneath this stone/I find peace in the silence around me/And in the calm I can feel you surround me/I don’t think that I’ll ever understand/One day we’re here/Then we fall like grains of sand/Do we wade in the pain that we live in/Or make the most of the time that we’re given?”  This is a pretty clear statement.  It is not necessarily anything new to the musical universe.  Lots of songs such as this have been crafted through the modern history of music, but it is still just as welcome in this case as any other.  Whether this is something autobiographical from any of the band members, the fact stands that this is still a song that will prove therapeutic for so many listeners just as much for the lyrical content as for the musical arrangement.  The whole of that content makes the song overall such a unique addition to the album and just one example of what makes the record successful.  ‘Death Roll,’ another entry in the album’s second half, is another example of the album’s strength.

‘Death Roll’ is the polar opposite of ‘Never Said Goodbye’ in terms of its musical arrangement.  This three-minute-plus song’s arrangement is more akin to works from Slipknot (just like ‘High Horse’) than maybe more emotional emocore bands.  At the same time that it can be compared to works from Slipknot, it can also be compared to works from the likes of Unearth.  The intensity in its sound and stylistic approach is enough in itself to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  What’s more, the screams of vocalist Briton Bond here are just as powerful in this case as those of Corey Taylor and any other similar vocalist.  His work and that of his band mates makes the overall arrangement that much stronger.  The fire in the song’s musical arrangement pairs with the song’s equally intense lyrical content to make the overall song even more powerful.

The lyrical content featured in this song comes across as a defiant stand against those who seem to live just to make others miserable.  This is inferred as Bond screams in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Terrified/In darkness/Another victim in its sight/So cold/So heartless/A hunger never satisfied/Eyes of death/Mouth of hell/This wretched swamp/The hate that we hide/Comes up from the depths/We gave you an inch/But you went for the neck/Take what you want/Prey on the weak/We are the broken/We are the beast/Hunters of all/Swallow you whole/Taking you down in a death roll.”  Some of the lyrics here are difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference.  The song’s second verse adds even more to the noted inference as Bond screams, “Condemned from birth/Underneath the dying sun/There can be no future here/When your instinct’s eat the young/Hand in hand through the wasteland/We wave our final goodbye/Kill ’em all til there’s nothing left/Cold blooded ‘til the last breath.”  From there the band returns to the chorus, which makes the statement about taking down that not so good person.  Considering the anger and fire in these lyrics, they will connect with listeners in their own way.  When these lyrics are considered in whole, the overall message and fire in the song’s musical energy collectively makes this song stand out even more as another important addition to the album.  It is just one more of the most notable of the album’s entries, too.  ‘Manic,’ the album’s title track, is another notable addition to the album.

In the case of ‘Manic,’ it stands out in part because its musical arrangement is so much unlike that of the rest of the album’s entries.  In this case, the use of the electronics alongside the rapping and metal immediately lends itself to comparison to works from Hed (p.e.).  Guitarist Cody Quistad was even cited as saying the song is “my favorite Wage War song ever…It lends itself to a manic headspace, summing up the album.”  Quistad is right.  The energy and stylistic approach here is manic in its own right, and it does just as well to help translate the emotion in the song’s lyrical theme.  The theme in question in fact does take on the topic of what a person going through so many emotions feels. 

The noted, familiar theme is expressed well here right from the song’s lead verse, which states, “Fear hits like a drug in the veins/Hard to stop like a runaway train/Look around but there’s nobody to blame/Oh, what a shame/Spent nights just staring at the wall/Pay no mind to the demons in the hall/Yeah I’m numb/I don’t feel nothing at all/Braced for the fall/Try to calm myself down/But I feel the panic/Is it all up in my head/Am I going manic?”  Again, some of the lyrics are tough to decipher sans lyrics to reference, but enough can be understood to the end that the noted message is clear.  The song’s second verse builds on the message, stating, “It’s a war/But I’m never on attack/Holding on, but I’m slipping through the crack/Don’t wanna be another body on the stack/I’m never coming back/Spending nights just staring at the wall/Pay no mind to the demons in the hall”  Again here we have that theme of mental health, which deserves the fullest seriousness.  That is especially in the current era as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The statement later in the song that, “I don’t wanna die” shows just how serious someone going through mania (or any major mental health concern) feels and thinks.  Hopefully this familiar and fully accessible presentation will help anyone who is battling a mental health concern fight that battle and win every day.  Such lyrical and musical content collectively shows once more, the power of Wage War’s latest album.  That is even more the case when the song is considered with the other songs examined here, the album’s current singles, and the rest of the record’s songs.  The whole comes together to make the album in whole a powerful new offering from Wage War that is among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.

Wage War’s forthcoming album, Manic, is a successful new offering from the metalcore band.  It continues to cement the band’s place in the metal core and bigger metal and hard rock communities.  That is proven through the album’s musical and lyrical content.  The musical content shows a certain range of diversity.  That alone is sure to engage and entertain audiences.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements is just as accessible as the musical arrangements.  All three of the songs examined here make that clear, as do the singles that the album has already produced.  When all of this content is considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes Manic one of the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums. 

Manic is scheduled for release Friday through Fearless Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://wagewarband.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/wagewar

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wagewar

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.

Peter Welker’s ‘Sidemen’ Project Is Among The Best Of 2021’s New Overall Albums

Courtesy: Summit Records

Musician-composer Peter Welker has had quite the career over the course of his adult life.  His resume includes work with the likes of Al Jarreau, The Pointer Sisters, Buddy Miles, and even Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia.  His work with those famed musicians makes up only a portion of the noted expansive resume. He added even more to that resume last month with the release of his latest project, Sidemen.  Released Aug. 6 through Summit Records, the 11-song record features guest appearances from Tony Levin, Pete Levin, Tom Scott, Bill Champlin, and Steve Morse and features an interesting mix of originals and covers.  Among the most notable of the record’s featured originals is the record’s only work with vocals, ‘You’re Gonna Let It Happen.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Creepin’ Up’ is another of the record’s notable originals and will be examined a little later.  The cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Third Stone From The Sun’ is the most notable of the record’s covers.  It will also be discussed later.  All three songs show in their own way how much the record has to offer.  When they are considered along with the rest of the featured compositions, the whole makes the record another successful offering from Welker.

Peter Welker’s latest studio recording as a band leader, Sidemen, is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences; this despite it being released through a label that is largely known for handling jazz records.  The record succeeds through its blend of originals and covers.  Among the most notable of the record’s originals is its only track that features vocals, ‘You’re Gonna Let It Happen.’  Co-written by Welker and Bill Champlin, the song’s lyrical content features a relatively familiar topic that is accessible in its own right.  It is a song sung by a man who is determined to get a woman to emotionally let him in and accept him in general, no matter how long it takes and what it takes.  He is determined to find out what will appeal to her so that she will like him.  It makes the song one of those works that would be a good fit in any relationship’s formative days.  It is just one part of what makes the song work, too.  The composition’s musical arrangement builds on the appeal formed by the song’s fully accessible lyrical theme to make the song that much more engaging and entertaining.

The musical arrangement featured in this song, is a relaxed but funky composition.  The use of the horns — including saxophonist Tom Scott’s solo – alongside the steady, solid time keeping from Todd Tribble and musical spice from organist Bill Champlin makes the arrangement so fun.  Not only does Champlin handle the B-3 organ here, but he also handles vocal duties.  His dirty, gritty vocals are so rich in their presentation, adding even more to the presentation, especially when he hits those high notes.  The collective of all involved along with them makes this song’s musical arrangement fully immersive and entertaining.  It is just one of the songs that makes the album so fun, too.  ‘Creepin’ Up’ is another notable original featured in this album.

‘Creepin’ Up’ stands out because its arrangement, is an interesting balance of old and new.  The song’s opening bars come across as a sort of throw back to the fusion sounds of Weather Report.  That sound lasts only a brief moment, though.  From there, Greg Johnson’s work on saxophone and the work of his fellow horn players conjures thoughts of the jazz sounds that were so popular in the 80s.  Meanwhile, David K. Matthews’ work on piano gives the song a lighter touch, making it a little more widely accessible as he breaks through the jazz subgenre boundaries.  His work along with that of Tribble on the drums and that of the rest of the collective makes this song so unique against its counterparts.  The whole becomes a surprisingly infectious work that is so smooth and light at the same time.  It is just a wonderful addition to the album that further exhibits what makes the album so engaging and entertaining.  It is yet another example of the album’s strengths.  The cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Third Stone From The Sun’ is the most notable of the record’s featured covers.

Steve Morse’s work on guitar in ‘Third Stone From The Sun’ would make Jimi himself just as proud (if he were still with us today) as it will certainly his legions of fans worldwide.  That includes both his solo and his work alongside his fellow musicians in this case.  The light, bluesy sound and the production therein makes his work so rich.  Tribble’s work on the drums is just as impressive as that of Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell.  He remains solid throughout the song as he adds little fills and flares at all of the right points.  Meanwhile Cliff Hugo’s work on bass works just as well in coordination with that of his fellow musicians.  When the horns come into play and join the trio, the group in whole creates a take on this classic Hendrix composition that is just as enjoyable as its source material if not better.  When this composition is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s works, the entirety of that material makes Sidemen a fully immersive musical experience that audiences across the musical universe will enjoy.

Peter Welker’s new project, Sidemen is an impressive new offering from the veteran musician/composer.  That is evidenced from beginning to end of the hour-long presentation.  The arrangements that make up the record’s body make that clear.  They span musical genres and fully immerse audiences in each case.  The songs examined here do well to support the noted statements.  When they are considered with the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes Sidemen one of the best of this year’s new overall albums, at least in the ears and mind of this critic.

Sidemen is available now through Summit Records. More information on this and other titles from Summit Records is available online at:

Websitehttps://summitrecords.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SummitRecords

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SummitRecords

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.

Jeremiah Moon Premieres Lead Single, Video From Hus Debut EP

Courtesy: ENCI Records

Jeremiah Moon is giving audiences their first preview of his forthcoming debut EP.

The preview came Tuesday in the form of his new single, ‘Kinds of Light‘ and its companion video. The video made its premiere Monday through Week in Pop. The release date for Moon’s new EP was not announced in the press release announcing the premiere of the record’s new single and video.

The musical arrangement featured in Moon’s new single puts his talents on the cello front and center. His performance on the cello pairs with the equally subtle time keeping, guitar, and vocals to make the song appealing for fans of similar acts, such as Elliot Smith, Father John Misty, and Sufjan Stevens.

According to statements from Moon, the lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement is a deeply introspective existential type statement.

“‘Kinds of Light’ is about opposing selves, the way relationships with other people compel us to reckon with our own identity, the way our stories gradually become histories, and the things we choose – or don’t choose – to carry with us,” he said. “The underlying thread, like all 5 songs on the EP, is connection between people – the ways that we try to understand each other, and the ways we change each others’ orbits.”

The video for Moon’s new single features Moon inside a vacant building as the green of nature stands outside. He slowly makes his way to the building’s exit until finally he sits outside that door at the song’s finale.

More information on Jeremiah Moon’s new single, video, and EP is available along with all of this latest news at:

Website: https://www.jmmoon.com

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

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

Joe Farnsworth’s ‘City Of Sounds’ Is A Unique, Enjoyable Addition To This Year’s Field Of New Live Music Offerings

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Veteran jazz drummer Joe Farnsworth is scheduled to release his latest record, City of Sounds, Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  The eight-song record – his second with the label and third as a band leader (he has worked with a variety of other acts on other albums throughout his career) — is a fully successful new offering from Farnsworth.  If one did not know otherwise, one would not even realize that this recording is in fact a live set that, according to information provided to the media, was recorded over the weekend of Farnsworth’s birthday, Feb. 19-21 2021.  The liner notes, penned by George Cables, do not even point out this bit of information even as rich as they are.  Those rich liner notes will be addressed shortly, as they are their own key to the presentation’s success.  The set list featured in this unique live recording is the most notable of the presentation’s items.  It will be discussed shortly.    By connection, the concert’s production is also important to examined, so it will be addressed a little later.  All three noted items are important in their own way to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make the recording a work that is among the best of this year’s new live CDs.

Joe Farnsworth’s forthcoming record, City of Sounds is a unique live recording that will appeal just as much to citizens of the city to which it pays tribute (New York) as to jazz fans in general.  The record’s success comes in part through its featured set list.  The 54-minute set list features a mix of covers and originals performed by Farnsworth and his fellow musicians, Kenny Barron and Peter Washington.  The set opens with a catchy, upbeat original composed by Barron in the form of ‘New York Attitude.’  The nearly six-minute composition expertly captures the energy of people making their way up and down the city’s streets.  This is evidenced just as much through the light way in which Barron makes his way across the piano’s keys and in which Farnsworth keeps time, adding just enough flare here and there with subtle cymbal crashes and solos.  Speaking of the solos, his is not the only one featured here.  As Cables’ notes point out about the song, “Everyone has solo space here as they get their feet wet for what promises to be a fun set.”  Fun is an understatement about the set, too.  From here the trio takes on what is one of only two covers featured in the set in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘The Surrey with the Fridge on Top.’  The song is one of only three covers featured in the set.  The next cover comes much later in the set in the form of Carl Suessdorf and John Blackburn’s ‘Moonlight in Vermont.’  Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein’s ‘Softly As In A Morning Sunrise’ rounds out the covers and the album.  The trio’s performance of each work pays full tribute to its source material, too.  Barron’s relaxed performance on piano in ‘Moonlight in Vermont’ paints a picture that is just as rich as that painted by any other act’s take on the song.  Many other acts have taken on the song, too, including the duo of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.  Washington’s equally relaxed bass line pair serves as a wonderful counterpoint to Barron’s performance and an equally welcome companion to Farnsworth’s own subtle, subdued time keeping.  Taking into account the mix of originals and covers featured here, and the performances thereof, the whole makes this aspect of City of Sounds its own success.  It is just one part of what makes the recording overall a success.  The production thereof builds on the success of the set list and its performance to enhance the presentation even more.

The production that went into City of Sounds is so important to note because of its impact on the general effect.  Keeping in mind that this recording is apparently a live recording, the production belies that element.  If an audience was in fact present for the recording over the course of the noted three-day span, then the production does not make any of that crowd noise audible.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, though.  There is a certain airy sense about the sound that does in fact hint at the performance being live or even semi-live (as in a live in-studio recording).  To that end, the subtlety in the production expertly balances each musician’s performance within the confines of the room to create a sound that even being live sounds like it was recorded in a studio.  It is that impressive.  Keeping that in mind, the production and the content together give audiences so much to appreciate here.  All of this is still just a portion of what makes the recording unique and enjoyable.  The information in the liner notes rounds out the recording’s most important elements.


As pointed out already here, George Cables’ notes do not make outright clear that this recording is in fact a live presentation.  That was information provided to media outlets.  That aside the liner notes still offer plenty to appreciate in their own right.  Case in point is Cables’ note that Farnsworth’s playing “is a testament to the vibrancy, diversity and musical history of New York City.”  That brief statement speaks volumes in setting the scene for the trio’s performance contained herein.  From there, Cables pays tribute to all three musicians, pointing out what makes each figure great.  He even goes so far as to compare Barron to Duke Ellington, calling him “Duke Elegant.”  As to Farnsworth, Cables writes that from the vantage point of a pianist (Cables is a pianist), “hooking up” with the drums “tightens the music” and that doing so with Farnsworth is “easy, because he’s always listening.”  That is a shining tribute to Farnsworth as a person and musician.  In writing about Washington, he speaks just as highly, stating, “He’s always present, always lyrical, always creative, and always in the groove.”  Everything that Cables writes of Washington is true, as audiences will hear for themselves in every one of his performances here.  After spending plenty of time praising Farnsworth and company, Cables changes gears and offers a brief, concise setup for each song featured in the set.  The whole of all of this content does so much to help set the stage (no pun intended) for the concert featured in this recording.  To that end, audiences would do well to take in Cables’ notes before even sitting down to take in the featured performance.  They will be glad they did.    When the notes that set up the featured concert are considered along with the content featured in the concert and the concert’s production, the whole comes together to make this presentation a complete success for Joe Farnsworth and company.

Joe Farnsworth’s new live recording, City of Sounds is a positive new offering from the veteran jazz drummer and his fellow musicians.  That is due in part to its featured set list.  The set list is composed primarily of original arrangements crafted by Farnsworth and his fellow musicians.  Only three of the set’s eight total songs are covers.  Even in the case of the covers, they are relatively well-known works.  All eight songs are well-performed, too.  The production that went into the recording works with the set list to enhance the presentation even more.  That is because of the positive impact that it has on the recording’s general effect.  The liner notes that accompany the recording do well to set up the performance featured in the recording.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make the recording one of the best of this year’s new live CDs.

City of Sounds is scheduled for release Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  More information on the recording is available along with all of Joe Farnsworth’s latest news at:

Website: https://joefarnsworthdrums.com

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

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.  

ESPN Networks’ Broadcast Schedule Announced For Week 5 Of The 2021-22 College Football Season

Courtesy: ESPN

The SEC will get a lot of attention from the ESPN networks this weekend.

ESPN will host three games between SEC teams Saturday beginning with a matchup of No. 1 Arkansas and No. 2 Georgia at noon ET on ESPN. Fellow SEC foes, No. 10 Florida and the University of Kentucky are scheduled to take the field at 6 p.m. ET. The day’s SEC showcase is headlined by a matchup of No. 22 Auburn on the road against LSU, again on ESPN, this time at 9 p.m. ET.

In other news, ABC’s Saturday Night Football Presented By Capitol One will feature a Big 10 battle between No. 4 Penn State and Indiana at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Speaking of ABC, No. 3 Oregon and Stanford in Pac-12 will face off in conference play on ABC. That game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET. Prior to that, Texas and TCU are set to kick off at noon ET on the alphabet network.

Over on ESPN2, the No. 21 Baylor Bears are scheduled to face off against Big 12 conference opponent No. 19 Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. ET. The game is the 4K Game of the Week on ESPN2.

The SEC Network will see No. 15 Texas A&M hosting Mississippi State at 7 p.m. ET. Boston College will look to remain unbeaten Saturday evening as it takes on No. 25 Clemson at 7:30 p.m. ET on the ACC Network’s ACC Primetime Football.

Saturday’s schedule winds down at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN with a showdown between two undefeated Big Sky Conference opponents, Montana (3-0) and Eastern Washington (4-0).

The games noted here are just a portion of Saturday’s extensive college football broadcast schedule. Additional games are noted below.

Additional ESPN Networks – Week 5 Highlights

  • UL Monroe at No. 16 Coastal Carolina: Saturday at 2:30 p.m., ESPN+
  • Louisiana Tech at No. 23 NC State: Saturday at 6 p.m., ACCNX/ESPN+
    • Talent: John Schriffen, Rene Ingoglia, Tori Petry  
  • Louisville at No. 24 Wake Forest : Saturday at 12:30 p.m., ESPN3
  • Houston at Tulsa: Friday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN
    • Talent: Roy Philpott, Andre Ware, Paul Carcaterra
  • Duke at North Carolina: Saturday at noon, ESPN2
    • Talent: Mike Morgan, Kirk Morrison, Dawn Davenport

More information on the ESPN networks’ college football coverage is available along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

Websitehttps://espn.com/college-football

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/espncfb

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Artifas Debuts New Single, ‘Leave Me For Dead’

Courtesy: Imagen Records

Artifas is giving audiences another preview of its debut album.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Leave Me For Dead‘ Friday. The song is the second single from the band’s forthcoming album, Reflections, which is scheduled for release Nov. 19 through Imagen Records. The band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Cut Me Out‘ and its companion video last month.

The musical arrangement featured in Artifas’ new single is a blend of emo- and metalcore. That is evidenced in the heavy guitar breakdowns and balance of screams and clean vocals.

The lyrical theme featured along with the new single’s musical arrangement takes on the topic of broken relationships. That is not limited to romantic relationships, either, according to a statement from the band about that theme.

“‘Leave Me For Dead’ is a song about abandonment and the struggle to overcome the emotions associated with it,” the statement reads. “We’ve all had that person in our lives that we trusted, just to find out that they would leave us for dead when things got tough. This song is about just being in disbelief over something like that and the internal battle that follows when you’re left in doubt…”

In other news, Artifas announced this month, it has signed a new endorsement deal with Monster Pro Audio Products.

The band talked about the new endorsement deal in a prepared statement.

“Since we began our journey in the music world, Monster Products has been a leader in the world of instrument/audio cables,” the statement reads. “Now we’re excited to announce that we’re beginning a new relationship with them as an official Brand Ambassador!!! We’re super grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to represent the Monster Audio name with pride.”

Vanco International, LLC is the official global licensee Monster Pro Audio Products. Monster Pro Audio Products has been in operation for 40 years, making high-performance guitar, instrument, and speaker cables, as well as other audio equipment. It is known globally for its products, too.

More information on Artifas’ new endorsement deal, single, and album is available along with all of the band’s latest information at:

Websitehttps://www.artifas.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/artifas

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/artifasofficial

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

Whitechapel Announces New Album Details; Premieres Album’s Lead Single

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Whitechapel will release its latest album this fall.

The band is scheduled to release its latest album, Kin, Oct. 29 through Metal Blade Records. The album’s release will come more than two years after the release of the band’s then latest album, The Valley (2019), which the band also released through Metal Blade Records.

Front man Phil Bozeman talked about Kin in comparison to The Valley in a recent interview.

“I feel with every album, we learn what worked best on the last one and try to utilize that in our writing,” said Bozeman. Early in the writing, there was some discussion of the album being like The Valley Part II, not literally called that, but in how the songs sound and flow through it. It’s very much a storytelling type record like The Valley was. Musically, we just want to create what we vibe with at the given moment. We write music with how we feel and not what is expected of us, while lyrically the idea of continuing from the story of The Valley was always the goal.”

In anticipation of the album’s release, the band premiered the record’s lead single, ‘Lost Boy.’ The song’s musical arrangement is much like that of songs from The Valley. It expertly balances Bozeman’s guttural screams and softer, Maynard James Keena-esque singing for an air that itself creates lots of interest. The balance in the instrumentation and that with the song’s vocals adds even more to the song’s engagement and entertainment.

No information was provided as to the meaning of the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the band’s new album and single. However information noting that the songs touch on “emotional territory” would seem to hint at least somewhat to some information.

Kin will release on a variety of platforms, all of which are noted below along with the album’s track listing.

– digipak-CD
– deluxe box set (hardcover box includes: exclusive gold vinyl, gold 7-inch single, 72-page photo book)
– 180g white vinyl (EU exclusive)
– clear sky blue marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 500 copies)
– clear ash grey marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– midnight blue marbled vinyl (Eyesore exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– milky clear w/ blue and white splattered blob vinyl (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– gold / black split vinyl (Impericon exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– cool grey marbled vinyl (EMP exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– gold / black dust vinyl (EMP exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– opaque cyan (sides A/B) black (sides C/D) vinyl (US exclusive)
– black w/ white edge splatter vinyl (US exclusive)
– royal blue / black color in color vinyl (Newbury exclusive)
– electric blue w/ aqua blue splatter vinyl (Revolver exclusive)
– cyan w/ black splatter vinyl (US exclusive)
– white / cyan melt vinyl (US exclusive)

Kin track-listing
1. I Will Find You
2. Lost Boy
3. A Bloodsoaked Symphony
4. Anticure
5. The Ones That Made Us
6. History Is Silent
7. To the Wolves
8. Orphan
9. Without You
10. Without Us
11. Kin

Kin was tracked at the home of the band’s guitarist Zach Householder. Ted Jensen (Alice in Chains, Green Day, James Taylor) mastered the record while David Castillo mastered the album. The record’s cover art was designed by Jillian Savage.

More information on Whitechapel’s new album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news, tour dates and more at:

Websitehttps://www.whitechapelband.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/whitechapelmetal

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/whitechapelband

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.