Devil City Angels Debuts New Single

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Rock and roll super group Devil City Angels will release its self-titled debut album this fall. In anticipation of its release, the collective of veteran talents—Rikki Rocket (Poison), Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake), and Brandon Gibbs (Cheap Thrill)—has debuted the latest single from its upcoming album.

Devil City Angels debuted its latest single ‘All I Need’ this week and is currently streaming the single online via Revolver Magazine. Audiences can hear the song now at Revolver’s website at http://www.revolvermag.com/news/devil-city-angels-premiere-new-song-all-i-need.html. Audiences that are fans of the rock sound of the late 80s and early 90s will enjoy this song with its lighthearted sound. Its debut follows the premiere of the video for the album’s lead single ‘Boneyard,’ which can be seen online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjrB0N6aBvY&feature=youtu.be. The video is a direct throwback to the classic rock videos of the 80s complete with footage of the band performing and of course the mandatory female dancer.

Devil City Angels will be available in stores and online on Friday, September 18th via Century Media Records in a variety of bundle packages as well as by itself. Pre-orders for the album begin tomorrow via iTunes and Century Media’s online store. Those choosing to pre-order the album via Century Media’s online store can do so online at http://www.indiemerch.com/cmrecords/brand/devil-city-angels. Those that pre-order the album via iTunes will get both ‘All I Need’ and ‘Boneyard’ as instant grat racks. It can also be pre-ordered via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Devil-City-Angels/dp/B01169B5NY.

More information on Devil City Angels is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at http://www.facebook.com/DevilCityAngels. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lawless Hearts’ Creatures Of Habit Is The First Great EP Of 2015

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Up-and-coming rock outfit Lawless Hearts’ new EP Creatures of Habit is the first great EP of 2015. The four-track disc from the Jacksonville, FL-based five-piece is a good listen for anyone that is a fan of Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and to a lesser extent Pat Benatar among other acts of that ilk. The similarity to those bands should come as no surprise to audiences as the band even notes Heart as one of its influences on its Facebook page. And just as fittingly the band notes in the bio on its Facebook page that its collective dream is to make something entirely its own in terms of its sound and lyrics. Listening to the songs that make up Creatures of Habit, it is safe to say that the dichotomy of the band’s old school rock sound and the songs’ lyrical content has created something entirely the band’s own. That is clear right from the record’s opening number and lead single/title track. The old school rock influence is obvious on the song’s musical side. Lyrically, it definitely has its own identity and will certainly have listeners thinking and talking. The musical bombast of ‘If I Have To’ coupled with its equally deep lyrical content shows this song to have its own identity, too. And the EP’s closer ‘Fallout’ with its seemingly Bon Jovi-influenced sound coupled with its insightful lyrics serves as one more example of how the members of Lawless Hearts have indeed created a record in Creatures of Habit that is entirely its own creation even with its old school rock influences. It is a record that though an EP bodes well for the band and its future endeavours.

Lawless Hearts’ new EP Creatures of Habit only boasts four tracks. That may not seem like much. But when considering the mix of the music and lyrics that make up those four songs, it proves to be a surprisingly enjoyable record. This is evident right from the EP’s opener/title track/lead single. ‘Creatures of Habit’ boast a sound musically speaking instantly conjures thoughts of both Heart and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts thanks not only to the powerhouse vocals of front woman Alex Marie but to the work of her band mates–Michael Thomas (guitar, vocals), Justus Sutherland (rhythm guitar), Rob Joseph (bass, vocals), and Corey Ahlquist (drums)–too. Marie even sounds slightly like Joan Jett as she sings, “Creatures of habit/Liars and savages/Hoping for one more drink from the well/A city for the dead/A silent tomb of regret/Try waking up but the nightmare never ends/It ever ends.” Those first two lines in which she sings, “Creatures of habit/Liars and savages” is a rather damning statement. It appears to be a short, yet rather sharp statement in regards to the nature of people. This is made even more clear as she sings in the song’s second verse, “Dirty little savage/Masochist at best/Looking for one more night to derail/Your time is wearing thin/Better hold before you lose your grip/There’s no one to hear you scream when you slip.” Marie comes across as singing about someone that is on a self-destructive path and who is about to reach a breaking point with no one to help if said subject continues on that same path. It is a powerful statement, especially if it is indeed the correct interpretation. Considering that Marie sings in the song’s bridge, “You’re covered in dirt/From the hole you dug yourself in/An early grave for the ones who deserve it,” it would seem that this is in fact the correct interpretation. It’s almost a warning of sorts. Taking into account the song’s driving musical side alongside with these words, it is no wonder that it was chosen to lead off the band’s new EP. Audiences can check out the brand new video for ‘Creatures of Habit’ online now via the band’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LawlessHeartsMusic.

‘Creatures of Habit’ is a solid opener for Lawless Hearts’ new EP. It is also proof that the band has indeed succeeded in creating something influenced by other bands yet still holds its own identity. It does so quite well at that. It is just one of the tracks on this EP that proves that, too. The EP’s second track, ‘If I Have To’ strengthens that argument even more. It could be just this critic’s interpretation (again) but this song shows something of a Bon Jovi influence. It is so easy to close one’s eyes while listening to this song and see it being performed live. For that matter, the song’s overall makeup makes it easy to see it complemented with a video that matches its bombastic sound; big stage setup, sweeping pans across the stage that capture the entire band, the audience singing along, etc. It doesn’t seem like such a stretch. That is especially the case considering the song’s lyrical content. The song’s lyrical make-up Marie starts out by singing in the song’s opening verse, “I, I’ve been shot down/Fully defeated/A bullet to my chest/Holding my breath/Running on empty/Fear is nothing compared to this.” Obviously she is speaking metaphorically when noting the “bullet to the chest.” As a matter of fact, the entire verse is written in metaphor. She is saying that she has been through the worst that can be thrown at her. Because of that, fear has nothing on what she has endured. Despite having gone through so much, she goes on to note that she has not been defeated, singing, “I’m not afraid to die to save a life if I have to/I’ll walk the line of fire/Prepared to fight/With or without you.” She finishes her statement of firm defiance singing in the final lines, “I am awake/Fully determined/Nothing will be the same.” Such lyrics come across as being rather positive. It is almost as if Marie is singing out proudly that she will not let anything stop her no matter what. Considering this as the possibly intended aim of the lyrics, it makes the song that much more enjoyable. It proves the song to be yet another original work despite its classic rock roots. And together with the EP’s opener, proves once more why this record is the first great EP of 2015.

Both of the first two tracks taken from Creatures of Habit are solid examples of what makes the record the first great EP of 2015. Both songs display classic rock roots yet original lyrics. The combination of both elements gives both songs their own identity and in turn makes the record in whole that much more enjoyable. The disc’s closer ‘The Fallout’ on the other hand, is the polar opposite of those songs. It boasts more of a modern rock sound with only the slightest hint of old school rock influence, musically speaking. The slow build that starts with just Marie and an acoustic guitar is about the only hint at that classic rock influence. It conjures thoughts Bon Jovi, Poison, and others. From there though, the classic rock influence disappears very quickly as the song leads into a much heavier sound. On the song’s lyrical side, it almost seems to bring the record full circle, echoing the topic of human nature presented in the record’s opener. It just presents it in a different avenue. Instead of making a seeming statement about the rather negative side of human nature, this song comes across as discussing people’s refusal to face the music of life so to speak. She sings in the song’s opening verse, “There’s more than two sides to every story/The pain and loss is never-ending/You wanna break down/You wanna scream out as they take, and take, and take everything/What is fair anymore/We go through life always trying to even up a score/You say the truth will set you free/We’re all so damn scared of honesty/But it all comes with a price in the end.” On the one side, Marie presents someone that is miserable, almost shaking his or her fist at the heavens. On the other is someone that wastes their life away holding grudges and trying to point the finger. That person is reminded that doing so comes at a price. In both cases, the individual ends up doing nothing but separating himself or herself from everyone else albeit in different ways. As Marie sings in the bridge, “You say none of it matters/You don’t want to deal with the fallout/You burn bridges/You build castles/To keep everyone out.” It is a statement that whether preaching and pointing that finger or shaking one’s fist at the heavens, doing so is counterproductive. People that do this are doing nothing but wasting their lives away, separating themselves from others. She goes on to warn those people that considering the direction this world is going, wasting their lives away in such fashion simply isn’t worth it. How many mainstream bands can say that they have songs that present such lyrical content? In an age when so much music is still dominated by themes of self-loathing and loathing of the world, this song comes across as a breath of fresh air. And being such a breath of fresh air, it proves even more why Creatures of Habit is the first great EP of 2015.

All three of the songs noted here are prime examples of why Creatures of Habit is the first great new EP of 2015. The combination of the songs’ musical and lyrical makes all three songs stand out from so many songs that dominate mainstream rock radio today. One would be remiss to ignore the EP’s third song, too. It offers its own value to the record in whole, too. All things considered all four tracks prove Creatures of Habit the first great EP of 2015 and one of the year’s best. Given the right support, it could be just the beginning for this up-and-coming band. More information on Creatures of Habit is available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.lawlesshearts.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LawlessHeartsMusic

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

The Treatment’s Debut LP Keeps Pace Solidly With Rock’s Big Dogs

Courtesy:  Spinefarm Records

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

The 1980s is one of the most important decades in the history of the music industry.  Disco evolved into New Wave during that decade.  Rap and Hip-Hop started burgeoning during those years, too.  And in the world of rock, audiences were presented with both the New Wave of Heavy Metal (NWOHM), and the rise and fall of the hair metal movement.  While the age of big hair and big rock came and went seemingly in the blink of an eye, it also produced some of the biggest names in the history of rock and metal.  Def Leppard, Poison, Motley Crue, Dokken and others of that ilk dominated radio stations and arenas across the country in that ten-year span.  Motley Crue is officially calling it a career.  The others called it a career years ago.  And while they may be gone, many bands since have shown that they are hardly forgotten, producing record after record that pays homage to said forebears.  Now another act has added its name to that long list of bands keeping the age of big guitar riffs and equally big hair alive in the form of The Treatment.  The five piece from Cambridge, England released its full length deut record Running With The Dogs on indie label Spinefarm Records back in February of this year.  It is a fittingly titled record, too.  That’s because the band, whose members are each in no more than their late teens, stays right with the rest of the pack on its debut.  The band keeps up with other bands of its genre (E.g. Buckcherry, Airbourne) in its debut.  That’s thanks both to its full-throttle, no nonsense rock and roll sound, and its equally old school lyrics.  The combination of the two makes this record a must hear for anyone that  wants a break from the seemingly constant barrage of cookie monster growls and poppy rock songs dominating so much of the rock world today.  Right off the top, front man Matt Jones and his band mates–Dee Dammers (guitar), Tagore Grey (Guitar), Dhani Mansworth (drums), and Rick “Swoggle” Newman (bass)–show that they mean business in the album’s opener ‘I Bleed Rock N’ Roll.’  This song is classic rock and roll all the way around and will have audiences instantly rocking and singing along.  By and large, the band keeps things moving throughout the record, slowing only once in the album’s penultimate acoustic opus ‘Unchain My World.’  Even being an acoustic piece, it harkens back to the acoustic ballads of Poison and other big hair bands from the 80s.  And what rock record is complete without an up-tempo piece about a female figure that all the guys want?  It’s there, too in the form of ‘She’s Too Much.’    These three songs are each enjoyable in their own right for anyone nostalgic for real  rock and roll.  Along with the other ten songs that make up this album, the whole thing proves to be a record that any old school rock and roll fan will enjoy.

The Treatment’s debut album Running With The Dogs is an aptly titled collection of songs.  The band’s members show exactly why right off the top in the album’s high-energy opener ‘I Bleed Rock and Roll.’  Musically speaking, this song instantly shows influences from veteran rock acts the likes of AC/DC and Motley Crue.  Drummer Dhani Mansworth’s solid 4/4 time set against the dual guitar attack of Dee Dammers and Tagore Grey instantly gets the body and the blood moving.  The duo’s old school shredding and harmonies will transport audiences back to rock’s era of big riffs and even bigger hair.  Front man Matt Jones’ vocal styling adds to that musical trip back in time even more.  It’s incredible how much Jones’ vocal style soudns so much like Motley Crue front man Vince Neil.  Lyrically, the song is just as much of an homage to rock’s “biggest” era with the band singing in the song’s chorus, “I live rock and roll/It’s my destiny/All I bleed is rock and roll.  the message is clear and simple not just here but in the song’s verses, too.  That simplicity and clarity of the song’s lyrics couple with its musical side to make this song the perfect opener for the band.  To another extent, that it finishes in such bombastic fashion makes it an equally fitting closer both on the album and in a live setting.  It’s just one of so many of the album’s opuses that shows what makes it a pure rock record well worth the listen.

It goes without saying that The Treatment chose the right song in ‘I Bleed Rock and Roll’ to open its debut full-length record.  Interestingly enough, that same song would work just as much as a closer for the band as the album’s closer and even as a show closer in a live setting.  The energy exuded by the band in this song is carried throughout every one of the songs that follow it right up to the album’s penultimate piece ‘Unchain My World.’  This acoustic ballad is just as much a throwback to the 80s as the album’s opener and any other song on this record.  Stylistically, listeners will instantly be able to make comparisons between this song and the ballads churned out by veteran rock bands such as Motley Crue, Poison, and even Mr. Big just to name a few.  This applies to the song both musically and lyrically.  The comparison to Mr. Big comes especially in the song’s chorus as the band sings “Unchain my world/Cause you’re all I’ve really got.”  Musically, one could even mistake the song for one of Mr. Big’s biggest hits of all time if one were listening to this song not knowing it was said band.  The song’s verses highlight that comparison, too with Jones singing how much a certain love interest has changed the subject’s life.  He sings of said subject’s view of the love interest, “I’m still fascinated/How deep inside I feel so incomplete/Indiscreet.”  Just as with the album’s opener, that mix of music and lyrics is just as certain to take audiences back to what is perhaps one of rock’s most underrated eras.

‘I Bleed Rock and Roll’ and ‘Unchain My World’ are both prime examples of the old school 80s influence presented on The Treatment’s debut full-length album.  Any old school rock and roll aficionado will appreciate thanks to that direct influence.  They aren’t the only good examples of that influence and enjoyment on this record, either.  The blues-based rocker that is ‘She’s Too Much’ is another great example of that influence and enjoyment.  It’s not as up-tempo as some of the album’s other songs.  But it leaves no one guessing in regards to its lyrical content.  It is presented very much in the vein of AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie.’  Jones sings over the bluesy riffs of his band mates, “She’s too much/Everything is not enough/She’s too much/Better load your gun boys/Take aim/Now fire.”  The song is thankfully not a direct mirror image of ‘Whole Lotta Rosie.’  But the blues-based rock sound churned out by Dammers and Grey definitely makes the comparison easy and not in a bad way, either.  Again in a time when so much of the rock and even hard rock world is dominated by cookie monster growls and crunching, down-tuned guitars, such a comparison is especially welcome considering that The Treatment has taken an influence as respected as AC/DC and crafted its own equally fun rock song.  It’s just one more of the thirteen total songs on this record that classic rock buffs will enjoy.

The songs noted here are each good examples of just what makes The Treatment’s debut album Running WithThe Dogs one more album released this year proving that contrary to Gene Simmons’ own views, rock and roll is not dead.  Nor is it even in the hospital so to speak.  It proves that rock and roll is alive and well.  It takes audiences back to an era when rock and roll was indeed rock and roll; an era when rock and roll was truly fun.  European audiences will agree with that sentiment when they see the band live on its current European tour.  Audiences will get to hear the band live when it rolls into Rotterdam, Netherlands next Thursday, November 27th, Paris, France next Friday, and Brussels, Belgium next Saturday, November 29th.  Audiences can pick up the band’s CD at those shows and each show after.  Whether in Europe or in the United States, audiences can pick up Running With The Dogs in stores or online now.  Fans can keep up with the band’s current tour schedule and all of its latest updates online now at:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheTreatmentOfficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheTreatmentUK

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

Tempt’s Debut EP Is A Guilty Pleasure For Any Fan Of Big Hair And Even Bigger Rock

Courtesy:  Chipster PR

Courtesy: Chipster PR

Indie rock band Tempt recently released its debut EP Under My Skin.  The New York based band’s debut record is something special, especially for fans of bands such as Def Leppard, Journey, Poison and others of that ilk.  The band’s members—Zach Allen (vocals), Harrison Marcello (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Jimmi Kane (drums), and Zak Gross (bass, vocals)—are way too young to have grown up in the 80s.  But the sound that the band’s members collectively craft is one that displays such respect for the music of the era.  It truly makes Tempt quite the rarity in the current era of rock music.  The band transports audiences back to that era of big hair and equally big rock songs right off the top in the EP’s title track.  That pomp and bombast doesn’t let up even in the slightest as the band moves into the EP’s second song.  The song exhibits something of a Queensryche influence circa Rage for Order.  And on the EP’s penultimate track, the 8-s big hair influence keeps rolling before the band closes things with a standard 80s ballad-style song.  All things considered, anyone that is a fan of big rock and big hair will agree after hearing this EP that Under My Skin is one of the best of the year’s new EPs.

The members of Tempt look to be far too young to have grown up in the 80s.  That hasn’t stopped the band from crafting an EP loaded with music that sounds like it has been kept in a time capsule for ages and pulled right from that era of big rock and big hair.  This is obvious right off the top in the EP’s opener and title track.  If one didn’t know any better, one would think this was Def Leppard, Journey, Poison, or another major name act that had its heyday in that era.  Lyrically speaking, the song centers on the standard subject of a broken relationship.  What’s most interesting about it here is not just the standard over-the-top nature of the song, but [Zach] Allen’s vocals on the song.  He sings much in the same style as other big name vocalists from the day as he sings, “Stop and start many years ago/You was a looker that I/Got to know/Now I’m sitting here/The pain won’t die/With the letter saying you’ve left my side.”  There is just a certain quality to his vocal style.  And the song’s chorus brings about even more of that classic song style with the rest of the band joining in almost the same style as the aforementioned bands.  It is pure retro rock joy for fans of that sound.

The first impression that the band makes on its brand new EP is just the beginning of the retro rock joy for fans of hair metal.  ‘Use It Or Lose It’ comes second on the disc.  Those that are more familiar with bands from the era of hair metal will hear influences from the likes of Queensryche right from the song’s opening riff and the chorus style vocals.  The song is just as good a follow-up to ‘Under My Skin’ lyrically as it is musically.  That’s because it follows a similar lyrical theme.  Allen sings here about a woman that is bad news for all intents and purposes.  He sings in the song’s opening verse, “She’ll steal your soul/Drag your mind through pouring rain/Take you down into the dark/She don’t feel no pain/But if I turn my back/Would you turn your eyes on them/Are you ready/Let the games begin.”  He goes on to sing of the woman in question in the song’s second verse, “She’s a one-of-a-kind/A storm within a name/A natural disaster/But I want her just the same.”  As with the EP’s opener, the style of Allen’s vocals and the song’s musical side together make this song sound like something right out of the 80s.  And again, that taken into consideration fans of that sound will welcome this song in with arms and ears wide open.

Both ‘Under My Skin’ and ‘Use It Or Lose It’ are impressive additions to the debut EP from Tempt. The third of the EP’s tracks, ‘The Fight’ instantly conjures thoughts of Journey and other more melodic rock bands of their time. Its forward-driving sound and infectious chorus of “It’s the fight that makes us stronger, baby/We both know you can see” will have audiences singing along in no time whether it be in their vehicle on the road or in their own living room/bedroom. Along with the previously noted songs, this song is just as much an arena anthem as them and the EP’s closing number. Allen and his band mates are seemingly singing about the fight that we have within ourselves to not give up. In this case, it seems to be the fight to not give up on a relationship. If that be the case, then the song takes quite the upbeat turn from so many songs rooted in relationship issues. It actually argues that there is hope for a relationship that would otherwise be broken. That and the song’s musical side together make this one of the EP’s best numbers. And together with the EP’s previously noted tracks, it makes the EP even more worth the listen especially by anyone that grew up a fan of the era of big hair and big rock. Audiences can listen to the title track from Under My Skin now via Tempt’s official website at http://www.temptband.com/#!listen/c1x9v.

Under My Skin can be purchased online via iTunes and Amazon.com or at the band’s next live performance. The band is next scheduled to perform live Friday, July 18th at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, New York. Audiences can keep up with the band’s tour schedule and all of the band’s latest news online both through its official website, http://www.temptband.com and its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/TemptBand. Audiences can also keep up with the latest from the band through its Twitter page, http://twitter.com/temptband and its Reverb Nation website, http://www.reverbnation.com/temptband. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Winery Dogs’ Debut Even Better The Second Time Around

Courtesy:  Loud & Proud Records

Courtesy: Loud & Proud Records

Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen (a.k.a. The Winery Dogs) released their self-titled debut last summer.  The rock super group’s album proved to be one of the best rock records of 2013 at least in the view of this critic.  Now the trio has followed up the success of its debut full-length with a re-issue of that album that includes a bonus live disc boasting a ten-song live performance by the band.  That recording, Unleashed in Japan 2013, combines songs from the band’s self-titled debut, and songs previously unreleased in the United States.  The bonus disc itself is the central point of the re-issue’s enjoyment.  The recording’s set list is another reason that audiences will enjoy the bonus concert.  The show’s audio mix is the finishing touch for the whole package.  That factor, the set list and the very fact that this show would be included with the original album makes the whole package one of the year’s re-issues definitely worth checking out.

The new re-issue of The Winery Dogs’ self-titled 2013 debut record is one of the few album re-issues definitely worth checking out in 2014.  The primary reason for that is the album’s bonus companion live recording.  The Winery Dogs obviously isn’t the first band to re-issue an album with a bonus live recording.  But The Winery Dogs is a super group of sorts.  Its members each have their own projects going on outside of this one.  So, touring time is more than likely limited.  That being the case, it makes any live recording all the more valuable especially for fans that don’t have or haven’t had the chance to experience The Winery Dogs live.  The companion live recording is even more of a bonus when compared to the live recordings included as companion material by other bands on their albums.  Other bands just take performances from their tours and jam them all together onto a CD or DVD (or both in some cases).  The Winery Dogs didn’t do that here.  This recording is an extensive concert recorded in Tokyo, Japan, July 17th 2013.  That was the second ever concert held by the band.  It would be interesting to see if Loud & Proud Records will follow up this audio recording with a companion DVD/Blu-ray video in the near future to compliment this piece of the whole.  Regardless, having included a concert recording as extensive as this one with the band’s debut album is central to this re-issue.  It gives audiences the near complete experience of what The Winery Dogs is all about.

The inclusion of the bonus live recording as part of The Winery Dogs’ new re-issue is central to the re-issue’s enjoyment.  The set list chosen for the band’s concert is just as important to the package.  Audiences will notice that the band only played a few of the songs from its debut record in this concert.  The band included in its live companion recording one song that was previously unavailable to American audiences.  The trio also included songs that its members had written and recorded with and by others.  Among those songs are: Poison’s ‘Stand’, Elvin Bishop’s ‘Fooled Around and Fell In Love’, and even a piece co-written by Richie Kotzen and Richie Zito (both of whom performed and recorded with Poison) titled ‘Shine.’  The combination of the band’s own works and the these songs makes the band’s concert all the more of a full experience.  The band’s balance of the songs throughout its set is the key to that enjoyment.  And set alongside the concert’s audio mix, the concert becomes a complete experience for fans.

The set list chosen for the band’s concert presented here is quite well balanced, especially being a concert promoting the band’s debut album.  As important as the set list is to the experience, the audio quality of the recording is especially important.  That applies whether or not audiences were actually there in person at the show.  The show’s audio mix is relatively clear. The vocals and music are both equally balanced. The show’s audio operator is to be commended for handling what was a clear issue with the venue’s acoustics. Even on record, audiences can tell that the concert’s venue had to have had rather high ceilings. Even despite this, the person helming the boards compensated quiet well for this, putting what is the final touch to the recording, making it a recording that any fan of these three veteran musicians will love. The recording together with the band’s original debut album make the package as a whole one of the year’s few re-issues so far worth checking out.

The band is currently touring in support of its newly re-issued album. It will perform live at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT. The band’s current tour schedule also brings it to North Carolina for a pair of dates this month. A performance at Amos Southend in Charlotte, North Carolina is scheduled for next Saturday, May 10th and one to follow the next day at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem. The band’s current tour schedule is available online at http://www.facebook.com/TheWineryDogs. Audiences can check out the band’s tour schedule there as well as keep up with the latest news from the band, too.

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

The Winery Dogs’ Debut A Super Record From A True Supergroup

Courtesy:  Loud & Proud Records

Courtesy: Loud & Proud Records

2013 has been quite a year for new rock records.  The list of new records vying to make critics’ lists of the year’s best is already cluttered.  And the year’s not even out yet.  That list already includes releases from the likes of:  Pop Evil, Queensryche, Buckcherry, Filter and Joe Satriani just to name a handful of releases.  Now with the release of its self-titled release, rock trio The Winery Dogs has added its name to that already massively cluttered landscape.  The band—Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), and Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison)—instantly draws comparisons to Chickenfoot from early on with its brand of rock.  If one were to listen to this and not know it was another band, one would instantly think one was listening to the latter of the two.  Even vocalist Richie Kotzen sounds at times like Chickenfoot front man Sammy Hagar.  At others, he sounds like Soundgarden/former Audioslave front man Chris Cornell.  The similarity in the singers’ voices is eerie.

The band’s new self-titled album is a solid mix of sounds, opening with a trio of heavier, energy-laden songs in: ‘Elevate’, ‘Desire’ and ‘We Are One.’  From there, things slow down a little bit in ‘I’m No Angel’ ‘The Other Side’ and ‘You Saved Me.’  What’s interesting here is that while this trio of songs is a little more subdued, there is still a certain controlled energy throughout all three.  The guitar solos in ‘We Are One’ along with Portnoy’s expert drumming in this song is just one of so many of the album’s highlights.  ‘You Saved Me’ is impressive not just because of its musical content, but also for its uplifting lyrical content.  Kotzen sings, “You saved me in my darkest hour/You stood by me and stayed/You gave me all my strength and power/And when sunshine turned to grey/In my darkest hour/You stood by me and stayed/You stood with me/My guiding angel.”  This could be interpreted in a religious sense.  It could just as easily be considered more in the sense of a relationship.  Regardless of which angle one takes here, the ballad with its moving music and equally uplifting lyrics is sure to impress any listener. 

‘You Saved Me’ is a fitting midpoint for The Winery Dogs’ debut record.  That is because it is after this point that things pick back up beginning with what is one of the best of the best from this record in ‘Not Hopeless.’  This song is a standout thanks to the contradiction of the heavier, slower sludge rock style verses to the more standard rock style choruses.  Kotzen shows throughout both sections (and his solos) that he can easily hold his own alongside fellow guitar great Zakk Wylde here.  And if this isn’t enough to get listeners excited, the album’s next track, ‘One More Time’ definitely will.  Bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan gets his chance to shine in this up-tempo prog rock piece alongside Portnoy.  Sheehan gets his own solo alongside Portnoy in the song’s bridge.  Kotzen eventually joins in to add in his own spice, too.  By the time the song ends, it will have left listeners in awe of the trio’s talent once more.  Forget the lyrics.  This song is entirely about the talent of these three musicians.  And it definitely doesn’t disappoint.

After the high energy of ‘One More Time’ and ‘Not Hopeless’, the band slows things down only momentarily in ‘Damaged’ and ‘Six Feet Deeper.’  This gives listeners just enough time to catch their collective breath before diving back in the deep end again on the album’s final trio of songs.  ‘Time Machine’, ‘The Dying’, and ‘Regret’ finish off the album.  And they do so in expert form.  The energy in these three songs is just enough to keep listeners engaged right to the final notes without skipping even one song.  Suffice it to say that listeners that are familiar with the musicianship of Sheehan, Portnoy and Kotzen will be just as impressed with this record as anything else that the trio has recorded throughout its career.  For those that are new to the trio’s talents, these final three songs are certain to seal the deal and make new fans of three of the most talented individuals in the music industry today. 

Winery Dogs’ debut record is slated to be released Tuesday, July 23rd via Loud & Proud Records.  Fans can pre-order it now via the Loud & Proud Records website at http://loudandproudrecords.com/releases/winery-dogs/.  In the meantime, fans can check out the band’s new album live on its tour.  It will be touring through Japan and South America during the month of July before coming back to the United States on August 3rd.  Fans can get a full list of the band’s tour dates online at http://www.facebook.com/TheWineryDogs.  Fans can also “Like” the Winery Dogs’ Facebook page for all of the latest news and updates from the band.

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Steel Panther’s New Live BD A “Solid” Release For Fans

Courtesy:  DC3/Universal Republic/3 dimensions/AGPS Management

Courtesy: DC3/Universal Republic/3 dimensions/AGPS Management

Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers, once said that death and taxes were life’s two constants.  If he were alive today, Franklin would change his tune and say that there are in fact three more constants in the twenty-first century.  Those constants are sex, drugs, and rock & roll.  Many bands have tried to live those constants.  Many have succeeded.  But few have truly lived those constants like the glam rockers of Steel Panther.  This California based band actually started in 2009.  Since that time, its members—Lexxi Foxx, Michael Starr, Satchel, and Stix Zadinia—have become the poster boys for everything that was at one point all that rockers lived for.  The band has already released two albums under its current moniker.  And now thanks to Universal Republic Records, audiences get a new chance to experience all the testosterone fueled, alcohol infused bombacity that is Steel Panther live in its new live release, British Invasion.

British Invasion was recorded live at the famed Brixton Academy during its most recent live tour in support of its most recent album, Balls Out.  Brixton Academy has hosted some of rocks biggest names including both Machine Head and Sepultura.  Now Steel Panther can add its name to the list of huge names that have performed there.  Fans of the aforementioned bands got quite the show with each one.  And Steel Panther’s fans get a show that they’ll enjoy in this new release, too.  Not only do fans get a full set from its performance at Brixton, but there’s also the bonus of five extra songs recorded live at the band’s performance at the Download 2012 Festival.  The audio and video mix on both of the main and bonus performance are quite clear.  And whether one has seen SP live before or not, audiences get a show that has all the over the top antics and music that audiences have come to expect from this band.  To sweeten the deal, the band and its label, Universal Republic Records, have included a booklet complete with lyrics to every song performed in the main set.

The booklet included with the Blu-ray is just part of what viewers will appreciate from this performance.  Audiences get out of this performance, a band that actually interacts with the audience in attendance.  And it’s not just your standard back and forth banter, either.  The entire band gets in on the act.  It’s little things like that that make a performance memorable.  Though of course, the band’s interaction with its audience is just half of what will make the band’s fans enjoy this recording.  There’s also enough T & A to make any college frat boy happy for quite some time.  The band even brings in some “adult entertainers” to help with its show in more than one song.  Add in the impressive audio and visual editing and mixing and fans get in this recorded performance a show that fans of Steel Panther will be watching time and again.  The band’s new DVD and Blu-ray are both available online and in stores now.  Regardless of whether or not fans manage to pick it up, they’ll still have the chance to see the band live as it’s currently touring in support of the new live release now.  Fans can get all the latest tour dates and news from the band now online at http://www.steelpantherrocks.com, http://www.facebook.com/steelpantherkicksass, http://twitter.com/#!/Steel_Panther, and http://www.myspace.com/steelpantherkicksass.

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