Syd Barrett is one of the most enigmatic figures in the history of rock.
The one-time Pink Floyd front man was pushed out of the band early on in its life, and in the decades since then (and since his death) little has been known about his life after leaving the now iconic progressive rock band. Thanks to Mercury Studios, Believe Media, and A Cat Called Rover, audiences will finally get a new look at Barrett and his life next month in the new documentary, Have You Got It Yet?
The documentary is scheduled to make its theatrical debut May 15 in the United Kingdom in Everyman Cinemas and later in June in the United States and Canada through Abramorama. The documentary’s trailer is streaming here.
The documentary was directed by award-winning filmmaker Roddy Bogawa and the late Storm Thergerson. The documentary tells the story of its one-time former front man through interviews with the likes of David Gilmour, Roger Waters, and Nick Mason. Vintage footage featuring Barrett is also included to help tell the story. Actor Jason Isaacs (Star Trek: Discovery, Scoob!, Scooby-Doo: The Sword and the Scoob) narrates the documentary.
The documentary will make its major premiere Thursday at Everyman King’s Cross in London ahead of its wide release across the UK.
More information on the documentary is available at:
The video for ‘All I Need is Love’ features the band performing its new single while also presenting stories of people in love in different situations. There is an interracial couple, an elderly couple, other couples, and even people alone, but still happy. The visuals are meant to help translate the song’s message of tolerance, acceptance, and simply spreading love in every way, not just romantic love.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘All I Need Is Love’ blends elements of The Flower Kings’ own stylistic approach with touches of other prog rock bands’ styles, including but not limited to Pink Floyd.
The band offered some insight into its new single and video in a prepared statement.
“Hasse Fröberg – this is his contribution, ‘All I Need is Love’ – to the latest album Islands,” the statement reads. “The only member, besides Stolt, from the original first line up of The Flower Kings that started in 1994. Still with the band many moons later – vocalist, guitar-player,rock star. This video was recorded around Christmas time – some of it outdoors! A traditional multi-part prog-rock song penned by Fröberg – that has all the elements that put the Swedish ‘kings’ on the progressive map worldwide.”
More information on The Flower Kings’ new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Veteran prog rock band Crack The Sky is apparently one of those acts that doe not rest easily on is merits. The band has released more than 15 albums since the release of its self-titled debut album in 1975. In the time since its release, the band has let no more than four years pass between any of its albums. One would think that as much music as this band has released in the more than 40 years since its debut record’s release, the band would have slowed down a bit or even shown a hint of wear and tear in its music. The band’s latest outing – Tribes — however, says quite the opposite, as is evidenced in its musical and lyrical content. ‘Another Beautiful Day’ is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statement. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Boom Boom,’ which comes later in the album’s hour-plus run time, does its own share to show what makes the album such a strong new offering from Crack The Sky. It will be addressed a little later. ‘Dear Leaders,’ one of the album’s early entries, is yet another way in which the record shows the band’s continued success and strength. It will also be discussed later. When it is considered with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the record in whole a strong new offering from one of rock’s currently longest running bands.
Crack The Sky’s latest album Tribes is a positive new offering from the veteran prog-rock band. It is a work that shows despite staying so busy over the course of more than four decades, this band has not lost its step. That is proven in part through the song ‘Another Beautiful Day.’ Coming almost halfway through the album’s run, this song’s musical arrangement is a very King’s X style composition. That is evidenced in the song’s guitar arrangement and vocals. There is also a bit of a classic rock sensibility to the arrangement that adds to its interest. The two influences together make the arrangement overall an engaging and entertaining work. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. The commentary in the song’s lyrical content adds to the appeal.
The lyrical content featured in ‘Another Beautiful Day’ is a social commentary. It opens with the song’s subject stating, “turn on the TV and I feel like screaming/I close my eyes and I hope I’m dreaming/get out of bed, but feel like going back/The world is having a heart attack/Another beautiful day.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “I got a feeling that big brother is watching me…Look out my window to see what’s going on/Another country heard from, hey, hey/Another beautiful day.” He then adds, “Nobody’s listening/Everybody’s screaming/I hold onto you/Baby, I’m scared/But I’ll take good care of you.” As noted at the start of this, the song’s lyrical content is clearly a commentary about everything going on in the world today. The way in which the commentary is delivered is rather sarcastic with a clear sense of cynicism. That would explain why the song’s musical arrangement is not the angry work that it could be. The arrangement works to help translate the noted almost disillusionment exhibited in the song’s lyrical content. Keeping all of this in mind, the song overall may not be necessarily unique in its lyrical content, but is still a sign that this band can effectively make a song that will resonate with audiences. It is just one of the songs that makes the band’s latest offering stand out. ‘Boom Boom,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is another example of the album’s strength.
As is the case with ‘Another Beautiful Day,’ the musical arrangement featured in ‘Boom Boom’ is another clearly classic rock-influenced composition. Front man John Palumbo’s slightly gritty vocal delivery and keyboard performance works with the guitars, bass and drums to give the song another King’s X vibe. What is important to note here is that the song is not just a re-hashing of the previously discussed arrangement. It is still its own unique work whose laid back groove will keep listeners engaged and entertained. It works with the song’s lyrical content to add even more appeal to the work.
Palumbo’s vocals are not as easy to decipher here without a lyrics sheet to reference. However, what can be deciphered leads to the interpretation that the song is about perhaps just that need to have someone. That is inferred as Palumbo sings near the song’s end, “Life is easy/When you’ve got someone who cares.” He goes on to mention the impact of “a nice meal ready in the kitchen” and “hot coffee” as well as apparently even intercourse. Looking through what can be deciphered here together with the mood set by the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements collectively make this song its own unique addition to the album. It becomes yet another aspect of Tribes that shows why this album is worth hearing, but not the last of the album’s most notable entries. ‘Dear Leaders,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another standout addition to the album.
‘Dear Leaders’ changes things up significantly in terms of its musical arrangement. Instead of the classic rock sensibilities that run through the majority of Tribes, this arrangement instead opts for something a little more modern with its heavy percussion and its electronics. The best comparison that one can make here is to what Pink Floyd might sound like if it was still around today. The song has that kind of air about it in its arrangement. At the same time, one might even make a comparison to some of U2’s works from the mid to late 1990s here, too. It sounds like an odd combination of influences, but somehow it manages to work here. The melancholy mood established in the song’s musical arrangement does well to help translate the emotion in the song’s lyrical theme, which is its own socio-political commentary.
The commentary come right from the song’s outset as Palumbo sings, “Dear leaders/Are you watching/Dear leaders/Are you listening/Dear leaders/Are you watching/Dear leader/There’s something wrong with you/Dear leaders/Can’t see what’s in front of you/If I could/I’d make you all go away forever.” He continues, “Dear leaders/It’s not too late/Dear leaders/To put aside your hate/Dear leaders/To set your people free.” From there, he mentions that he’d “tell my wife not to go outside/tell my Jesus not to cry his eyes.” There is even a mention of the world committing its own suicide. Again, this plaintive message to the world’s leaders will resonate with plenty of listeners, especially considering how the song’s musical arrangement accompanies the lyrical theme. It is just one more song in whole that shows what makes Tribes a successful new effort from Crack The Sky. When it is considered along with the other two songs examined here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole presents itself as a work that rock and prog rock fans alike will find is worth hearing at least once.
Crack The Sky’s new album Tribes is a positive new effort from the veteran prog rock band. It is a presentation that will appeal widely to rock and prog rock fans alike will enjoy. That is proven both through the album’s musical and lyrical content. Each of the songs examined here serves to support the noted statements. When they are considered with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole may not *ahem* crack mainstream radio, but will still appeal widely to plenty of audiences. Tribes is scheduled for release Friday through Carry On Music.
Fates Warning is scheduled to release its latest album next week. The album, Long Day Good Night is the best work to date from the veteran prog-metal band The musical arrangements and lyrical content that make up the body of the 72-minute (one hour, 12 minutes) record support that statement. It is the heaviest record that the band has made in its 35 year history, even in its more subdued moments. Its lyrical themes are heavy in their own right, too. That is shown early on in the 13-song record in the form of ‘The Way Home.’ This song will be addressed shortly. ‘The Longest Shadow of the Day,’ the album’s penultimate (and longest) track is another example of how the record’s musical and lyrical content comes together to make the LP such a strong new offering from the band. ‘When Snow Falls,’ which comes late in the record’s run, is another important addition to the album. It will be discussed later, too. All three songs noted here are key in their own ways to the whole of this record. When they are considered alongside the ten other songs that make up the rest of the record, the whole of the record proves itself to be a solid return for Fates Warning and, again, some of the band’s best work to date.
Fates Warning’s forthcoming album Long Day Good Night is unquestionably a statement record from the band. It is a presentation that reminds audiences why Fates Warning is one of the elite acts in the progressive metal world, with its combined musical and lyrical content. That is proven in part early in through the song ‘The Way Home.’ The song’s musical arrangement forms its foundation, starting off in a very relaxed, almost ballad-esque fashion. This approach is deceiving, as the band eventually changes directions approximately two-and-a-half minutes into the song, though. The band shifts from the noted saccharine sweet ballad type approach here to a more eerie, foreboding sound that then evolves into something very heavy a la Tool, believe it or no. What is really interesting to note of that influence is that while it is there throughout the rest of the arrangement, the band members still manage to keep Fates Warning’s trademark stylistic approach at the fore, balancing it with the noted “dark prog” sound for a whole that stands strong on its own merits. The change in stylistic approach works well with the song’s lyrical content, which seems to tell a coming-of-age type story.
The noted seeming story is presented with front man Ray Alder singing in the song’s lead and second verses, Say goodbye you’re going home/Your heart aglow/You think about the times you were/Holding on to those who’ve always shown/That the world is sometimes not so cold/And the time is come for you to go now/Stepping into the unknown/Hoping that you won’t feel alone anymore/So you put your faith blindly/In someone else’s hands to take control/But how were you to know/That something in the night was wrong/So you take your final step through the door.” From here, the mood changes, with the song’s subject seeming to change quite a bit in the second verse, which finds Alder singing, “Innocence/Nothing remains/Indifference is hard to contain/One step away from falling from grace/Learn how to live without somehow/Vanity/Farewell to sacred sanity/It’s rusted, decayed/All that’s inside is eating alive/The damage is done, forget the way home.” The song’s seeming chorus adds to the noted interpretation, as it states, “Waiting in vain, there at night/Silence the only answer/Fading away into the night, into the immense unknown/Those final words/That goodbye/Those thoughts you’ll hold forever/Escaping pain, forsaking light, can we find the way home?” That final question, “Can we find the way home?” almost seems to hint at someone asking can we get back to that innocence that we as a people had before leaving that security and certainty of our little worlds, because the world has become such a negative place. This is, as always, just this critic’s own interpretation. Hopefully it is close to being accurate. Regardless, the story that is told lyrically and musically here makes for a positive example of what makes Fates Warning’s new album itself such a strong new album. It is just one of the songs that makes the album stand out, too. ‘The Longest Shadow of the Day’ is another clear example of what makes Long Day Good Night an appealing new record.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘The Longest Shadow of the Day’ is unlike anything else featured in this record. It goes I so many directions over the course of its nearly eleven-and-a-half minute run time, but still manages to keep listeners fully engaged and entertained throughout. It opens with a bass-centered approach that comes across as a sort of jazz-fusion work. Approximately three minutes into the arrangement, it evolves from that jazz-fusion style approach to a sort of hybrid prog/death metal style sound, as is evidenced through the guitar lines, bass, and drums. It isn’t even until almost six minutes into the song (more than halfway through the multi-movement composition) that the song’s lyrical content comes into play. Before getting to the song’s lyrical theme, it should be noted as the song enters this final movement, a distinct Pink Floyd influence becomes audible alongside the band’s trademark heaviness. That and everything else noted here makes the arrangement in whole such a standout addition to this record.
The song’s musical arrangement is just one aspect of what makes the song stand out. Its deeply metaphorical lyrical content adds its own punch to the composition. The lyrical theme in question comes across as a philosophical discussion on at least one aspect of the human condition. In this case that aspect would seem to be the fact that we as humans are imperfect and capable of failure. This is inferred in the song’s lead verse as Alder sings, “The longest shadow of the day/Stretches out into the gray/Paints our flight in softening light/Bends our aim to the night/The longest shadow of the day/Reaches out along the way/Shrouds our sight in failing light/Turns our gaze to the night.” The song’s second verse hints at the noted theme just as much as Alder sings, “We all will go down/We all fall prey/Lose the fight to the dying light/The longest shadow of the day.”
That note that “We all fall prey/Lose the fight to the dying light/The longest shadow of the day” is perhaps one of the clearest statement of all here about the noted theme. It’s as if Alder is singing about the fact that we are all imperfect and that we all fail in life at points. This, again, is this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation. One could actually argue just as much that maybe this song is actually lyrically about mankind’s refusal to accept his mortality. Again, it is all open to interpretation. Regardless of interpretation, the fact that Alder and company have crafted such a lyrical presentation that can generate so much discussion is a statement in itself. When this is considered along with the discussions sure to come from the song’s musical arrangement, the whole shows without question even more why it is another of this album’s most notable works. It still is not the last of the album’s most prominent works. ‘When Snow Falls,’ which comes late in the album’s run is yet another example of what makes Long Day Good Night such a strong return for Fates Warning.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘When Snow Falls’ is another work that shows a clear Tool influence. The subtle guitar lines and their layering couples with the equally controlled drums and vocals to give the song such a mysterious sense. The addition of the vibraphone as a backing element adds even more interest to the composition. As the song progresses, the already noted Pink Floyd influence becomes audible, too. That the band balanced all of these influences for yet another original composition here is more than worthy of applause. It makes the song’s arrangement in itself more than enough reason for audiences to take in this work. The arrangement couples with the song’s introspective and contemplative lyrical content to make for even more interest.
The lyrical theme featured in this song is another deeply metaphorical message. Alder sings here in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “We betray innocence/When we choose to stray beyond the fence/Now its dawn/Sky is gray/And the path before us fades away/And snow falls now blinding me/Through the dark we have to feel/Our way back home.” He adds in the song’s second verse, “I felt safe in that bed/In a way I’m sure you’d understand/But snow falls now/I know I’m lost/Looking back I cannot count the cost.” He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Holding on desperately/To a world that’s wrong for me/And I know it’s cold outside/Just say goodbye.” It is almost as if what this song is stating is that we make our own paths in life, and it is up to us to find our way through each situation, even with the obstacles. That is once more just this critic’s own interpretation. Hopefully it is close to being correct. Regardless, that the song is so deep, lyrically, in its own right is worthy of applause, too. The song is even more worthy of applause when this deep lyrical content is considered alongside the song’s musical arrangement. When the whole of this work is considered along with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s works, the album in whole shows without doubt why it is such a strong new offering from Fates Warning.
Long Day Good Night is a welcome new return for Fates Warning. The 13-song, 72-minute record is a presentation that once again shows why this band is to this day, one of the elite acts in the prog-metal community. That is evidenced through the record’s musical and lyrical content alike. All three of the songs examined here support the noted statements. All things considered, Long Day Good Night is a record that prog-metal fans and Fates Warning’s fans alike will welcome into their home libraries. The album is scheduled for release Nov. 6 through Metal Blade Records.
More information on Long Day Good Night is available online now along with all of Fates Warning’s latest news at:
Independent hard rock band Ashes to Omens debuted the video for its latest single over the weekend.
The band debuted the lyric video for its single ‘War Cry’ Friday. The video places the song’s lyrics over footage of military combat and military veterans on the battlefield and back in non-combat settings. The veterans hold signs that remind listeners they could have become another statistic.
The whole of the video’s visuals is meant to illustrate the song’s message, which according to the band focuses on military veterans’ attempts to return to “normal life” after combat.
“‘War Cry’ is about bringing awareness to depression, PTSD, anxiety, mental illness and suicide prevention,” the band said in a prepared statement about the song. “It’s about staying strong when you can’t be and knowing that you’re not alone and that you don’t have to suffer in silence.”
The musical arrangement featured in the song exhibits comparisons to works from Creed at some points and to other much heavier melodic rock acts at other points. The juxtaposition of those influences makes the song just as interesting musically as it is lyrically.
‘War Cry’ is available to download and stream here.
The debut of Ashes To Omens’ new single comes six months after the band debuted its then latest single, a cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall.’
More information on Ashes to Omens’ new single and video is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Singer-songwriter Nick Perri is joining southern rock band Blackberry Smoke for a series of live dates next week. The live dates, set to run from Sept. 10-15, are all drive-in concerts that will take Perri and his fellow musicians — Brian Weaver (bass), and Zil Fessler (drums) — from Virginia up to Massachusetts. They are in support of Sun Via, the recently released album from Perri and his larger backing back, The Underground Thieves. Released independently by the band Aug. 14, the 10-song record will find appeal among a wide range of listeners through its musical and lyrical content, each of which will be discussed here. While each noted element is key in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation, its production and mixing is just as important to the noted overall picture. It will also be noted later. All three items are important in their own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make Sun Via one of the most surprisingly interesting albums released in the rock community so far this year.
Nick Perri and the Underground Thieves’ debut album Sun Via is an intriguing first offering from the band. That is meant in a positive fashion. The interest in the record stems in part from its musical arrangements. The arrangements in question display a variety of influences. Case in point is the record’s finale ‘White Noise.’ The wall of sound approach in this song’s arrangement combines influences from the likes of Oasis and Pink Floyd while also adding in a touch of David Bowie influence to add even more depth to the whole. While the influences are noticeable, audiences will be glad to know that Perri and company used those influences to make their own unique song here rather than just rip off any specific songs from said acts. The whole makes this arrangement a powerful exit for the album and just one example of what makes the album’s arrangements so important to its whole. ‘Fall’ also boasts a bit of that Pink Floyd influence, just in a different sense. Moving on, ‘Feeling Good,’ the album’s opener, takes a distinctly different approach in its arrangement. Right from the song’s opening notes, its arrangement lends itself to comparisons to works from blues rock great Joe Bonamassa. At the same time, listeners can also make comparisons here to works from the likes of The Black Keys and Royal Blood. That comparison can be made through the use of the (Hammond?) organ, the fuzzed effect in the guitar and the percussion alongside the bass line. The whole creates a sound that is so infectious and memorable. It’s just one more way in which the album’s musical arrangements prove so important to its presentation. That is because it shows again, the diversity in the record’s musical side. The album also presents a classic rock influence in the form of ‘I Want You.’ This song is a ballad that white original and unique in its own presentation, clearly shows the noted influence. There is also a more modern pop rock influence exhibited in this record in the form of ‘I Want You,’ and ‘Daughters & Sons.’ There are other songs that show the aforementioned Pink Floyd influence along with all of this. Simply put, the musical arrangements that are featured throughout Sun Via give listeners plenty of reason in themselves, to hear this record. They arrangements are just a portion of what makes Sun Via stand out. Its lyrical themes are just as valuable to its whole as its musical arrangements.
The lyrical themes featured throughout Sun Via are wholly familiar to any listener. Case in point is the theme featured in ‘I Want You.’ Perri sings at one point, “Baby, please come home/Baby, I want you.” Little else needs noting to know the song’s lyrical theme. This is someone trying to get the woman he loves to come back after the pair has obviously had some form of falling out. In this case, the song’s subject is not using the familiar “oh, woe is me” mindset in trying to get his woman back, but rather, trying at this point, to be hopeful that he can convince her to return. It’s just one phase of such a situation. It will connect with any listener.
‘Daughters & Sons’ presents its own unique introspective lyrical theme. The song opens with Perri singing, “I see the writing on the wall/They say the futility of it all/Why do the evil get it all/While the good one die youg/Leaving daughters and sons.” From there he sings, “Are you aware/Of the little things that you do/That you do/To make people love you/Are you aware of the little things that you say/Turning the blue skies to gray/But I see/The writing on the wall/Facing he futility of it all/Why do the evil get it all/While the good ones die young/Leaving daughters and sons?” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Do you care about the people you leave/Yeah, the people like you and me…Do you care…about the feeling we lost here at home?” This really comes across as a subtle commentary of sorts that reminds people to keep in mind who and what is important in life while we are here. It’s hardly the first time that such a seeming message has been delivered in any genre. That aside, it is a message that is always welcome and that will resonate with listeners. Keeping that in mind, it is just one more way in which the album’s lyrical content proves so important to its presentation. ‘Everybody Wants One’ I another way in which the album’s lyrical theme show their importance to the record.
The song comes across – at least to a point – as being about concerns surrounding consumerism. This is inferred as Perri sings in the song’s lead verse, “They got something gonna blow your mind/It doesn’t all look how it shines, yeah…Gonna make you feel good/Everybody wants one/Don’t let it get away/Everybody wants one/Tokyo to L.A./Everybody wants one/You don’t wanna hesitate.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “You know, it’s gonna put ‘em all to shame/Everybody’s gonna have one soon/You know what I’m looking at, you.” Again, this would seem to hint at a commentary about how companies sell things to people and how people fall for the companies’ marketing, making them believe that they just have to have the next big, cool item. It’s another familiar topic, and is just as relevant today as ever. It’s one more way in which the album’s lyrical content proves its value. When it is considered along with the other themes noted here and the rest of the album’s lyrical themes, the whole makes even more clear why the album’s lyrical content is as important as its musical arrangements. The lyrical and musical content featured in the record go a long way toward making it a strong new effort, and are just a portion of what makes the album worth hearing. Its production and mixing adds to its appeal, too.
The production and mixing that went into Sun Via’s presentation is important to note because of the general effect that it has on the record. Some of the songs, such as ‘White Noise,’ ‘Daughters & Sons,’ and ‘Fall’ have so much going on in such different ways. From the dynamic changes to the balance of the instruments to even the smaller aesthetic elements, such as electronics and ambient aspects, everything within the songs is balanced so well within each song. The result is a group of songs whose arrangements are distinct from one another, but ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment because of that balance and overall composition. Much the same can be said of ‘Feeling Good’ and so many of the album’s other entries. The sharpness of the guitar in ‘Feeling Good’ and its slight echo effect makes for a great effect here. That the drums and bass are so well-balanced with the guitar and vocals adds to the song’s positive impact. The whole is such a strong offering and yet another example of the impact of the album’s production and mixing. Between the production and mixing here, that of the other noted songs and the rest of the album’s entries, the production and mixing in whole proves why it is just as important to this album as the album’s content. Keeping all of this in mind, the album in whole leaves no doubt why it is such a strong debut for Nick Perri and the Underground Thieves. The noted elements join to make the album one of the year’s more surprisingly interesting new rock and independent albums.
Sun Via is quite the intriguing first outing from Nick Perri and the Underground Thieves. That is due in part to its musical arrangements. From blues rock to some prog influences, to, even modern pop rock, and even some neo-folk and more, the record’s musical arrangements display a wide range of styles. This ensures a wide appeal in itself. The album’s lyrical themes are familiar and delivered in unique fashion from one to the next. The record’s production and mixing ensure its aesthetic appeal is complete, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered, they make Sun Via a truly unique presentation that is well worth hearing and that shows great promise for the group’s future. Sun Via is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:
Rock drummer Christian F. Lawrence released a new collection of cover songs titled The Corona Covers Friday through his official Bandcamp page. Lawrence — who goes by the stage name Opus — works with independent hard rock/metal band Dead By Wednesday and with Megadeth bassist David Ellefson on his solo work. The eight-song recording features songs that are a far cry from the work for which he has come to be known. That is due to the songs that make up the body of the new compilation. They will be discussed shortly. Lawrence’s performance of said songs plays its own role in the overall presentation of this record. They will be discussed a little later. The price point for this covers collection is also important to discuss. Together with the noted elements of the songs and their performances, all three elements make The Corona Covers a positive display of Lawrence’s talents and potential as a solo artist.
The Corona Covers is a positive new offering for drummer Christian F. Lawrence. That is because it is a work that puts on display, Lawence’s talents as a singer, guitarist and solo artist. It does this in part through the songs that make up its body. The songs are not metal songs. Rather, they are works that come from a relatively wide range of musical genres. The collection opens with a cover of Alice in Chains’ hit song ‘Rooster.’ The band, as most audiences know, was part of the Seattle grunge sound back in the early and mid 1990s. From there, Lawrence takes audiences back in time with his own performance of Pink Floyd’s timeless song ‘Mother.’ ‘Mother’ and ‘Rooster’ could not be any farther apart as two songs can be in terms of genres. He continues to branch out even more in the collection’s third song, ‘Blackbird.’ ‘Where Do The Children Play?,’ which was the product of Cat Stevens, follows that work. From there, Lawrence moves to the southern rock realm with a cover of the Marshall Tucker Band’s song ‘Can’t You See.’ He doesn’t stick to that sound for long as the collection continues progressing, offering next, a cover of Phil Collins’ timeless hit ‘In The Air Tonight.’ KISS’ song ‘Beth’ follows that work, again keeping things interesting for listeners. ‘Itsy Bitsy,’ by Mike and Peggy Seeger, closes out the collection. Yet again, here is another change of style and pace for listeners. What’s more, it’s another example of the diversity in Lawrence’s own musical influences. That far-reaching range of influences in itself will establish respect for Lawrence by listeners while also keeping audiences engaged and entertained. Keeping that in mind, this collection’s featured songs clearly are important in their own right to the whole of the compilation’s presentation. As important as they are to the collection’s presentation, Lawrence’s presentation thereof is just as important to address.
Each performance by Lawrence in this collection stays true to its source material as best it can. That is obvious throughout the compilation. That in itself is noteworthy. What’s more, Lawrence’s actual performance of each song does its own part to honor each song’s roots. The most notable of his performances come in his takes on ‘Rooster’ and ‘Mother.’ From the “rubbery” effect of the guitar to the control and balance in the layering of the vocals, this performance is right up there with the best acoustic performances that Alice in Chains held at its MTV Unplugged performance so many years ago. Lawrence’s performance of ‘Mother’ is just as powerful, as that crafted by Pink Floyd. That same melancholy is there in the instrumentation and Lawrence’s vocal delivery. It has that same ethereal vibe of its source material, leading it to tug so strongly at listeners’ emotions. Lawrence is to be commended for this performance which mirrors almost exactly its source material. Much the same can be said of his performance of The Marshall Tucker Band’s song ‘Can’t You See’ and The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird.’ Lawrence strives to stay as true as possible to the source material in those performances, as well as those of the other noted songs and those not directly addressed here. All things considered, Lawence’s performance of the compilation’s featured songs adds even more engagement and entertainment to the set as the songs themselves. Together with the songs, the two elements give fans plenty of encouragement to purchase the record.
Speaking of buying, the price of Lawrence’s new covers collection is $8. Considering the breadth of content and the Lawrence’s also already noted performances, that price is actually relatively affordable. So many records with the same amount of content can range from that price and go up from there, so paying only that price is not bad. Add in the fact that Lawrence will add new songs to the collection each week without raising the price, and audiences get even more motivation to purchase this compilation. When this is considered along with the impact of the set’s songs and performances thereof, the set in whole proves to be a work that Lawrence’s fans will appreciate just as much as Dead By Wednesday fans and those of David Ellefson.
Christian F. Lawrence’s new covers collection The Corona Covers is hardly the first covers collection to ever be released by any musical act. It is however, one that rock fans in general will find entertaining. That is proven in part through the songs that make up the body of the record. They show Lawrence’s wide range of musical tastes while also providing a wide range of listeners something to enjoy. Lawence’s performance of the noted songs adds even more to appreciate here, as does the collection’s law price. Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of The Corona Covers. All things considered, they make The Corona Covers a presentation that will appeal to any rock fan.
More information on The Corona Covers is available online along with all of Lawrence’s latest news and more at:
Independent hard rock band Ashes to Omens debuted its latest single last week.
The band debuted its cover of the Pink Floyd classic ‘Another Brick in the Wall‘ April 21. The performance pays tribute to its source material throughout its early six-minute run time while also giving the band’s take on the song its own unique identity that balances the past and present expertly.
Band member James Branton discussed the group’s take on the timeless song in a recent interview.
“The band has always been Pink Floyd fans and especially so of ‘Another Brick in the Wall,'” he said. “We felt like the song still resonates on so many levels in today’s culture, that we wanted to bring a fresh re-imagining of the song. Something that reflects the current global and political crisis that today’s youth can relate to.”
The band’s cover of the song is featured on Ashes to Omens’ forthcoming as yet untitled album. No release date has been announced for the album, but it is scheduled for release in fall 2020. Ashes to Omens’ cover of ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ is available to stream and download through Spotify, Amazon, Google Play and iTunes.
Ashes to Omens was formed in 2017. The band released its debut single ‘The Screws‘ the same year and followed up its release with a companion video debut in February 2018. ‘The Screws’ was featured in Ashes to Omens’ self-titled debut, which the band released through INgrooves/The Label Group on June 5, 2018.
Ashes to Omens’ most recent single ‘Let The Devil Loose‘ debuted last year, and was accompanied by a video that debuted Nov. 1.
More information on Ashes to Omens’ cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:
The United Kingdom has, for decades, offered the music industry so many great musical acts. From The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Motorhead and Judas Priest to David Bowie and Pink Floyd and others, the list of great bands is almost endless. For all of the great acts that have come from the United Kingdom, it has also produced a variety of noteworthy independent acts throughout the years. Late this past April Am I Dead Yet? added itself to that list of notable indie UK acts with its debut self-titled album. The 11-song, 47-minute album is an interesting record whose musical arrangements will appeal to fans of David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and even Pink Floyd while its lyrical content will appeal to an even wider array of listeners. That is proven early on in the form of the song ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’ It will be addressed shortly. ‘People Are Dangerous’ uses its music and lyrics to show just as much as ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth’ to help show what makes this record stand out. It will be addressed a little later. ‘Futuristic Paranoia,’ which immediately follows ‘People Are Dangerous,’ is yet another example of what makes Am I Dead Yet? stand out as one of this year’s most notable indie music acts. When it is considered along with the likes of ‘Loneliness,’ ‘Thanks For Sharing’ and ‘Leaving Me Behind,’ – three more of the album’s featured songs – the album becomes that much more impressive. When all of these songs are considered with the five remaining songs not noted here, the whole of Am I Dead Yet? becomes a record that reminds people the independent music world is just as alive (bad pun fully intended) as the mainstream realm with great acts.
Am I Dead Yet?’s debut self-titled album is one of the most surprising albums of 2019. It is a record that proves, over the course of its 47-minute run time, that the independent music realm is just as alive with talent as the mainstream realm. That is proven in part early on in the album’s run in the form of ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’ The song’s musical arrangement is one part of what makes it such an interesting offering. The use of the keyboards, the gong, guitars and general production generates a sound and feeling in the arrangement that conjures thoughts of some of David Bowie’s best works. One could even argue a comparison to some of Depeche Mode’s best works, too. That is not a bad thing, either. It is an amalgam that translates quite well even with its melancholic feeling. That melancholic feeling is important to note because it is in such stark contrast to the song’s lyrical content, which seems actually quite uplifting.
The song’s lead verse reads, “Britain’s got talent/You bet the f*** it has/But it’s not on a game show/On the pages of a sad celebrity mag/Laugh now/For one day, we’ll be in control, oh yeah/It’s coming up from the sewers and the cracks in the walls/Lost souls/Tired of it all/weirdos…queers in padded cells/We salute you/The anti-heroes/Dream out loud/For all that you’re worth/The meek shall inherit the Earth, my friend/The meek shall inherit the Earth.” The song continues in its second verse, which reads, “If they say they want it enough/Will they deserve it?/Not in a million years/Fame ain’t easy…not even if you cry me a river of tears/Laugh now, for one day/We’ll be in control, oh yeah/And we won’t have even earned it from the school/Where they teach you to rock and roll.” This is a full-on message of hope and empowerment. It is using a timeless adage to remind listeners that hope is possible. It empowers those people who have felt themselves the dregs of society, but who are in fact the underdogs who so deservedly will one day in fact inherit the earth. That positive message, set against the melancholic vibe to make that lyrical message that much more impacting. The arrangement’s sound and feel will connect with listeners because it touches on the feelings and emotions of said listeners. The positive message reminds listeners that something good is out there. The whole of that pairing makes this song one of the most notable songs featured in this record. Of course it is just one of the album’s most notable works. ‘People Are Dangerous’ is just as notable as ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’
‘People Are Dangerous’ in part because of its musical arrangement, which is centered around its infectious bluesy guitar riff and percussion. The noted guitar riff almost immediately conjures thoughts of Depeche Mode and Pink Floyd. The use of the Latin percussion and tympani adds even more to that feeling. The chorus advances that sound even more, with the end result being an arrangement that is yet another powerful example of what makes AIDY? such a surprisingly enjoyable album. The song’s musical side is just one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical side is just as impacting as its musical side. The song’s lead verse reads, “We’re all wounded creatures with stories to tell/Under the influence/Under the spell/Walkin’ the line between serenity and sorrow/We self medicate for a better tomorrow/Out in the cold try to weather the storm/Stokin’ the fire to keep us all warm/People are dangerous/They’ll promise you the Earth/They’ll wound you with their words/And hit where it hurts/They’ll spin you around/And lift you up high/And bring you to the ground/In the blink of an eye.” The song’s second verse reads, “Now here are we?/Still chasin’ our dreams/Living a nightmare…Holdin’ on tight/We’ve hit rock bottom/It comes through fear/Of being forgotten/Dictating direction by building more walls/If we stand together/We can watch them all fall/People are dangerous/They’ll promise you the Earth/they’ll wound you with their words/They’ll hit where it hurts/They’ll spin you around/Lift you up high/And bring you to the ground/In the blink of an eye/Stop pretending everything’s alright/Have you the heart for the fight?/Better to die on your own two feet/Than to live life on your knees.” In reading this, it becomes clear that this song’s lyrical content is a social commentary. It is a commentary about what has happened to society and what we as a people are doing to ourselves and to one another. This wording is an original take on a familiar trope that will certainly keep listeners engaged in its own right. Add that to the maintained engagement and entertainment that the song’s musical arrangement, and the end result is a song that is instantly one of this record’s most memorable works. It is not the last of the album’s most memorable and notable songs, either. ‘Futuristic Paranoia’ is yet another of the record’s truly memorable and notable works.
‘Futuristic Paranoia’ conjures thoughts of Gary Numan’s most recent albums right from its outset in terms of its arrangement. That is due to the use of its electronics and its Middle Eastern elements. The vocals and the rest of the arrangement’s elements add to that comparison even more. What is important to note here is that while the comparison to Gary Numan’s work can be made here, it cannot be said that this arrangement is a blatant rip-off of his work. The two are just stylistically similar, is all, and that is a very good thing here. While the song’s musical arrangement clearly does a lot to make it engaging and entertaining, it is only one part of the song. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to its whole as its musical material.
The lead verse in this song states, “When you think you’re alone, remember they’ll be watching you/Wherever you are, night or day/When the nightmare comes and you are shaking in the dead of night/Nothing makes it go away/It’s just your average, ordinary futuristic paranoia.” The second verse follows, “When the voices in your head get fearless and come out to play…deep down they speak the truth/When the strange bacterial shapes and the screen begin their merry dance/Your world goes pixilated/It’s not use/It’s just your average ordinary futuristic paranoia.” This one is deep, needless to say. It’s as if the group is saying that so much of what we think is in our heads and we have to remind ourselves of this. Yet again, that is just this critic’s own take on this. It could be totally wrong. Hopefully even if it is wrong, it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark. That aside, the fact that this deep content will certainly generate a lot of interest and conversation among listeners proves why this song stands out. The addition of that noted musical content to the lyrics makes the song stand out even more. All things considered, they make ‘Futuristic Paranoia’ a work that is certain to be a fan favorite both on record and live. Keeping this in mind, when this song is considered alongside the other songs noted here – both of which will be fan favorites in their own right – they show collectively what makes Am I Dead Yet? a pleasant surprise for every music lover. When those songs are set alongside the likes of ‘Loneliness,’ ‘Thanks For Sharing’ and ‘Leaving Me Behind,’ – three more of the album’s featured songs – the album becomes that much more impressive. When that group is considered along with the rest of the songs not directly addressed here, the whole of the record becomes a presentation that proves proudly that the independent music industry – even overseas – is just as alive with talent as America’s independent music realm.
Am I Dead Yet?’s debut self-titled full-length studio recording is a surprisingly entertaining first effort from the UK-based group. Its musical arrangements take the best elements of so many of the group’s more well-known mainstream counterparts for a whole that is entirely original. Sure, the comparisons are there, but none of the arrangements just rip-off the songs from the already noted counterparts. The record’s lyrical content is just as surprisingly engaging and entertaining as its musical content. All things considered, they make Am I Dead Yet? one of the most surprisingly enjoyable records of 2019, and more proof that the independent music industry in whole is alive and well with plenty of talent. More information on Am I Dead Yet? is available online now along with all of Am I Dead Yet?’s latest news and more at:
Independent rock act Ric Zweig and Fresh Air recently announced it will release its new album More Rick Zweig and Fresh Air next month. It is currently scheduled to be released independently June 1. The record has the potential to be a true success for the band thanks to its wide variety of musical and lyrical moods. That is exhibited right off the bat in the album’s opener ‘Rescue Me,’ which will appeal to fans of Carlos Santana, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews Band and other similar acts. Its follow-up, ‘The Stranger,’ supports that statement even more as it reaches fans of Bruce Springsteen with its collective lyrical and musical content. ‘Here Comes The Rain Revisited’ supports that previously noted statement even more as it takes listeners back to the 1970s with its gentle, almost contemplative guitar-driven arrangement and equally thought-provoking lyrical theme. Each song shows in its own way the reach of Ric Zweig and Fresh Air on its new album. Those songs, together with the rest of the record’s songs, make a whole that is proves to be a breath of fresh, musical air for true music lovers everywhere.
Ric Zweig and Fresh Air’s new album is a record that proves to be, as already noted, a breath of fresh, musical air for true music lovers everywhere. That, again, is due to the wide range of musical and lyrical moods exhibited throughout the record. Its opener presents just one of those varied moods thanks in part to its mix of Carlos Santana-influenced guitar licks and more funk-infused riffs. The juxtaposition of the two sounds (and their combined sound) creates an infectious, celebratory groove that will instantly make listeners want to move. The song’s lyrical content matches that upbeat tempo and vibe exhibited through the song’s musical arrangement. That is evident as Zweig and his band mates sing happily in the song’s chorus, “Baby, baby/Set me free/Maybe, baby/You and me…Baby, baby/Rescue me.” The song’s verses add to that upbeat vibe as Zweig sings, “Gotta get back my beats/Going back to New Orleans/Wanna play some rock and roll.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Gonna set up a chair on French Street/Gonna put a tip jar at my feet/I think it’ll be good for my soul/Just to play that rock and roll.” Interestingly enough, Zweig, who is a former judge, also sings about police trying to run off the song’s subject as he sits in his chair, playing his rock and roll. The subject sings that he will just come back another day. It is a statement that imbues such happiness even with its laid delivery. The same can be said of the song’s musical arrangement. When the two are joined for one, the end result is a composition that will put a smile on any listener’s face and heart. By contrast, the slower, more contemplative composition that is ‘The Stranger’ will move listeners in another way, showing even more the wide breadth of musical and lyrical moods exhibited throughout this record.
‘Rescue Me’ is a good way for Ric Zweig and Fresh Air to open its new album. The song is a happy, celebratory piece that will bring joy to any listener. By contrast, the album’s very next song, ‘The Stranger’ is the polar opposite. This is not bad, though. That is because it serves to show through comparison, the wide range of musical and lyrical moods exhibited throughout the record. In regards to its musical arrangement, it instantly conjures thoughts of Bruce Springsteen’s most emotional works with its ethereal, almost brooding guitar line. The simplicity in the arrangement couples with Zweig’s own gravelly vocal delivery to create a sound that one would easily mistake for Springsteen if one were to hear this song without knowing it wasn’t him. What’s more, the arrangement’s secondary guitar line, with its airy and bluesy sound conjures thoughts (in at least this critic’s mind) of songs included in Pink Floyd’s melancholy 1994 album The Division Bell. Yes, that seems like quite the dichotomy of sounds. But somehow it works. The end result is a musical arrangement that will have a deep emotional impact on listeners.
The song’s lyrical content is just as emotionally impacting as its musical arrangement. That is because Zweig seems to be singing here about possibly confronting one’s mortality. That is of course only this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as gospel. That interpretation is made as Zweig sings about “a tall dark stranger looking at me…he says you gotta come with me/I need you now.” He goes on to sing, “That stranger/Why won’t he let me be?/Can’t he see/He should let me be/Instead I think/He gonna be a haunting me/He’s no stranger to me/He’s no stranger to me .” What’s interesting here is the subtle addition of what almost sounds like church bells off in the distance as Zweig sings about the stranger haunting the song’s subject. That may or may not be an intentional timing between that line and said element. But the juxtaposition of the pair definitely leads one to think even more that Zweig’s “stranger’ is perhaps the Grim Reaper. Keeping that in mind, if Zweig is in fact addressing having to come to terms with mortality, then the lyrical manner in which he has broached the subject is definitely original and heart wrenching. It is right up there with some of Johnny Cash’s songs about accepting his mortality before his death at least lyrically. Of course when that emotional impact is joined with that of the song’s musical arrangement, the pairing makes the song in whole one of the album’s hardest hitting compositions, showing even more the wide array of musical and lyrical moods presented throughout Rick Zweig and Fresh Air’s new self-titled album. It is not the last of the songs that exhibits that far-reaching impact. ‘Here Comes The Rain Revisited’ displays even more the record’s wide musical and lyrical diversity.
‘Rescue Me’ and ‘The Stranger’ are both critical additions to Ric Zweig and Fresh Air’s new album. That is because set against one another, they show the diverse musical and lyrical moods exhibited throughout the album in whole. They are not the only songs that serve to show that diversity. As the album progresses, another song – ‘Here Comes The Rain Revisited’ – shows even more that diversity. This song’s musical arrangement takes listeners back to the 1960s and ‘70s with the gentle, laid back guitar-driven groove. It is a direct contradiction to the song’s seemingly melancholy title. The very contradictory nature of the two elements makes the song’s musical arrangement that much more enjoyable. The song’s lyrical content adds to that enjoyment as Zweig sings, “Just set me down/By the river/Just let me down/By the river/You know it’s been a long time/Since I met you baby/Has life been good to you/A lot of time’s gone by/Just take me down/to the ocean/Just bring me down/To the ocean/You know it’s been a long time/You always leave me tongue-tied/I wrote this song for you/I love you just because/Here comes the rain/Take me to the other side/Never been more ready/Here comes the rain.” This doesn’t seem like one of those standard songs about a long-lost love. It seems like someone who is just happy to see a former love. Perhaps this was a relationship that didn’t end as badly as so many countless others apparently have. That would explain why the song is so happy despite a title that doesn’t seem so happy. Keeping that in mind, the seeming upbeat mentality exhibited in these lyrics adds to this song’s enjoyment. When it is joined with the song’s equally upbeat musical arrangement, the whole of the two elements serves to show even more clearly a song that stands out clearly from its counterparts. That helps the song to show even more the wide variety of musical and lyrical moods exhibited throughout More Ric Zweig and Fresh Air. When this song is joined with its counterparts in one whole, they make the album in whole a work that is, as already noted, a breath of fresh, musical air for music lovers everywhere.
Ric Zweig and Fresh Air’s new LP More Ric Zweig and Fresh Air is an impressive new effort from the independent Florida-based outfit. That is because of the variety of musical and lyrical moods exhibited throughout the record as evidenced in each of the songs discussed here. From joyous to deeply contemplative to just happy and points in-between, this record offers plenty for audiences to appreciate. More information on the album is available online now at: