Memphis May Fire Releases Info For New Album, Tour

Courtesy:  Rise Records

Courtesy: Rise Records

Dallas, Texas based Memphis May Fire has announced the release date for its latest album.  The band will release Unconditional May 25th via Rise Records.  The band has already debuted the video for its lead single, ‘No Ordinary Love’ via YouTube at  The band’s members explained in an interview, the meaning behind its new record.  The band noted that Unconditional is largely about facing the future, facing the responsibilities that come to us each in life and facing all of life’s struggles.  The album’s track listing is available below.

Unconditional Track Listing:












Along with the announcement of its new album, the members of Memphis May Fire have also announced that the band will also hit the road in support of its new album beginning February 20th.  The tour will see the band hit twenty-seven cities including Raleigh, North Carolina.  It will be joined by The Word Alive, A Skylit Drive, Hands Like Houses, and Beartooth throughout its tour.  The band’s stop in Raleigh, North Carolina is currently scheduled for Sunday, March 2nd at the Lincoln Theatre.  The band’s complete tour schedule is listed below.

2/20 Nashville , TN @ Rocketown (Beartooth only)

2/21 – Dallas , TX @ The Door

2/22 – San Antonio , TX @ White Rabbit

2/23 – Houston , TX @ Warehouse Live

2/25 – St. Petersburg , FL @ State Theatre

2/26 – Lake Buena Vista , FL @ House of Blues – Orlando

2/27 – Ft. Lauderdale , FL @ Culture Room

3/1 – Atlanta , GA @ The Masquerade

3/2 – Raleigh , NC @ Lincoln Theatre

3/4 – Philadelphia , PA @ The Trocadero Theatre

3/5 – New York , NY @ Irving Plaza

3/6 – Sayreville , NJ @ Starland Ballroom

3/7 – Worcester , MA @ The Palladium

3/9 – Montreal , QC @ La Tulipe

3/10 – Toronto , ONT @ Opera House

3/11 – Pontiac , MI @ The Crofoot Ballroom

3/12 – Joliet , IL @ Mojoes

3/14 – Minneapolis , MN @ Mill City Nights

3/16 – Denver , CO @ The Summit Music Hall

3/18 – Spokane , WA @ The Knitting Factory

3/19 – Seattle , WA @ Studio Seven

3/20 – Portland , OR @ Wonder Ballroom

3/21 – Sacramento , CA @ Ace of Spades

3/22 – San Bernardino , CA @ NOS Events Center (Self Help Fest)

3/23 – San Diego , CA @ SOMA

3/26 – West Hollywood , CA @ House of Blues – Sunset Strip

3/27 – Mesa , AZ @ Nile Theatre

More information on Memphis May Fire, its new album, tour and more is available online at,, and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Loner’s Society Impresses On Autumn + Colour Debut

Courtesy: Autumn + Colour

Courtesy: Autumn + Colour

The Charleston, South Carolina based indie band Loner’s Society is set to release its new live EP King City Sessions next month. The five-track recording is a good introduction for those that might be less familiar with the band and just as enjoyable for those that are more familiar with its works. What’s most interesting about the band’s new release is the sound of the songs included in the recording. The songs are interesting in their own right because of their musical and emotional depth. But they don’t exactly sound like the description of the band’s sound on its official Facebook page. According to the band’s official Facebook page, the band is “comparable to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers if The Heartbreakers had been comprised from members of: Pearl Jam, Rancid, and The Temptations.” That wording comes verbatim from the band’s Facebook page. And it’s quite a mix of influences. But as listeners will notice right from the recording’s outset, its sound is more comparable to Bob Dylan and certain classic Country Western acts than any of the acts noted on the band’s Facebook page. Where Loner’s Society does finally start to bear more of the Pearl Jam meets Rancid sound is on the recording’s fourth song, ‘Autum Breeze.’ These two songs (and the recording’s remaining trio of live tracks) make King City Sessions quite the live recording even as short as it is.

Loner’s Society opens its upcoming live EP with the song ‘LaGrange.’ This song is an interesting introduction because of the throwback vibe that it conjures up among listeners. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Megrue openly states in the song in almost Lou Reed style, “And we recorded a record/Then we loaded the van/The last thing the world needed was another punk rock band/So I spent the next five years just barely getting’ by/Cause as time goes by it’s certain/That certain things’ll change/And you can spend your whole life working/Trying to stay the same/But plan on doin’ doubles till you die/At that diner in LaGrange. The line about the last thing the world needing was another punk rock band is very telling. It goes back to the previously noted difference in the sound of the songs included on this recording versus the band’s own description of its sound. This song sounds anything like a punk rock band. It’s more of a Country Western style piece interestingly enough. Even that first verse’s remaining lines line up more with old school Country Western than punk, Pearl Jam, and especially The Temptations. For all of its deep introspection, there is one funny moment in this song in which Megrue sings about things he’s seen in his life. He sings “I’ve seen marriages, divorces, babies, and divorces.” That must be one heck of a lot of divorces. Whether or not it was meant to be joking, it’s such a subtle joke that one can’t help but laugh a little bit hearing the emphasis on divorces that have been seen. That subtlety set alongside the song’s more heartfelt introspective musical and lyrical elements make it an excellent introduction for the band in every sense of the word.

‘LaGrange’ is a solid opener for the band’s new upcoming live recording.  It’s just one of the recording’s most interesting of points.  The recording’s penultimate performance of ‘Autumn Breeze’ is another of those high points.  It is more along the lines of the band’s described sound.  It starts off gently enough, but eventually picks up and bears more of an indie-folk/rock sound.  Listeners can feel such emotion as Megrue sings, “I can feel that Autumn breeze/Blowing in from Tennessee/It soaks my nights in whiskey dreams/Old cruel winds just speak to me.”  There’s a certain pain in Megue’s voice as he sings this verse that tugs at the heart.  The song takes a more driving feel from there.  Even with that more up-tempo feel, the song doesn’t lose the pained emotional state established early on in its near five-minute run time.  It all makes for what is easily one of the highest of this live EP’s performances.

‘Autumn Breeze’ and ‘LaGrange’ are both great additions to King City Sessions.  Regardless of whether or not audiences are familiar with these songs or the others included in this new EP, every listener will agree that they and the EP’s other trio of songs make this recording a welcome new release from the band.  If the five songs contained on this EP aren’t enough for some, then fans need not worry as they’ll get their chance to hear the band live in person, too.  Loner’s Society is currently scheduled to perform at the Deep South Bar in Raleigh, North Carolina this Saturday, January 18th.  The performance is an 18+ show.  Tickets are $5.  They can be  purchased online at  The show is currently scheduled to begin at 6pm.  Fans of Loner’s Society can find out about all of the band’s tour updates, news and more online at, and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

STS9 Coming To Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheatre This Summer

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR

Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater will welcome one of the country’s most well-known electronic rock acts this Summer.  STS9 is coming to North Carolina’s capitol city Sunday, August 25th.  The Santa Cruz, CA based five-piece will perform alongside Umphrey’s McGee.  The bands are sharing headlining duties throughout their tour.  This means that STS9 will be opening for Umphrey’s McGee when the band’s come to Raleigh.  The band has earned positive reviews throughout its mostly sold-out Winter tour and recent Spring tour, which included a sold-out show at New York City’s famed Roseland Ballroom. 

The band—Hunter Brown (guitars/keyboards), Jeffree Lerner (percussion), David Murphy (bass, synths), David Phipps (keyboards), and Zach Velmer (drums) is working on its twelfth full length studio release.  The self-titled release is currently expected to be released this year on the band’s self-owned record label, 1320 Records.  Its most recent release is its 2011 EP, When The Dust Settles.  The EP debuted at #1 on the iTunes Electronic Chart and even garnered the band a spot in Billboard’s “Top 25 Albums” chart. 

The band’s tour with Umphrey’s McGee is just one part of its busy tour schedule.  The band is also slated to perform at a number of festivals this year, including:  Camp Bisco, All Good Music Festival, and the new Life is Beautiful Festival.  It also has on its schedule back-to-back headlining dates at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado on September 6th and 7th.

For more information on the band’s tour and all of the latest news from the band, go online to the band’s official Facebook page and “Like” it at or to  And to keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

The Morning After Updates Fans On New Album, More

Courtesy:  The Morning After

Courtesy: The Morning After

Raleigh, North Carolina’s The Morning After is one busy band.  The indie folk/rock band is hard at work on its sophomore record and touring in support of its debut record, Starless Nights at the same time.  The band will perform live at Turntable in Jamestown, NC on Saturday, June 29th.  It will also perform a hometown show live on July 4th at The Works in downtown Raleigh.  The band is scheduled to go on at 5pm. 

On a more bittersweet note, the band has announced that bassist Jamie Dawson has left the band.  According to a statement released by the band, Dawson’s departure was fully amicable.  It notes that he left to spend more time with family.  He has been replaced by Lindsey “Hometeam” Tims.  The full statement from the band on Dawson’s departure and the upcoming new album can be read online at the band’s official Reverb Nation website at

Audiences can keep up with all of the latest news and tour information from The Morning After online at, and

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

The Morning After Touring NC This Week


Courtesy:  The Morning After

Courtesy: The Morning After

Raleigh based folk/rock band The Morning After is making a run across the Old North State this week.  The band—Rachel Koontz (vocals), Shawn Chase (mandolin), Jamie Dawson (mandolin, bass, vocals), Pattie Hopkins (fiddle, vocals), Mike Rosado (percussion), and Hank Smith (banjo, guitar, vocals)—kicks off its NC tour with a stop at The Saloon at the NC Music Factory in Charlotte this Wednesday, May 29th.  The sextet will be joined by Philadelphia, PA’s own The Royal Noise for the show.  This week’s show marks the first time that the band has performed at The Saloon.  So expectations are high for the show. Admission for the show is $5.  More information on the NC Music Factory is available online at and

Next up, the band returns to the Coastal Plains with a performance at Peasant’s Pub in Greenville.  The band will play Thursday night, May 30th at 10pm.  More information on Peasants Pub is available online at and

Next up after the band’s Eastward swing, the band returns home to Raleigh to finish off the week.  It will return to perform once again at Raleigh’s Pour House Saturday night at 10:00pm.  Tickets for the show are $10 online and $12 at the door.  Tickets for the show can be purchased online at the Pour House website at

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

One Of Filter’s Best Records “Comes Out” In Its New LP

Courtesy:  Wind-Up Records

Courtesy: Wind-Up Records

Filter’s first new record in three years is a solid release for the band.  Having undergone numerous lineup changes and seemingly almost as many label changes, this new record is a testament to the band’s ability to keep going and making music.  So many lesser bands would have already folded long before.  But Filter has taken the road less travelled and crafted what is arguably one of its best records to date in The Sun Comes Out Tonight.  The record largely keeps the energy flowing from start to finish, holding back only a small handful of times.  The times that the band holds back are so spread out that even when they do make themselves known, it luckily doesn’t take anything away from the rest of the album’s songs.

The energy starts flowing right from the album’s opener, ‘We Hate It When You Get What You Want.’  This slightly techno-infused song will take long-time audiences back to the days of the band’s 1995 debut record, Short Bus all while sounding quite a bit like Linkin Park.  There are those that might consider such a comparison to be musical heresy of sorts.  But if one hadn’t known that this was Filter, it would have been rather easy to think it was the latter of the two.  This isn’t such a bad thing though.  The song’s energy and front man Richard Patrick leads the onslaught, while drummer Jeff Friedl, guitarist Jonathan Radtke and bassist Phil Buckman come together to make a song that is a proper opener.  The drive of the guitar and drums make this song an obvious hit both on the record and in a live setting.  It would be easy to see any live audience taking in the song, fists high in the air, voices raised, singing along together.  Being that this is the first impression for the band since its last release three years ago, it is an excellent first impression for the band in its return.

The album’s next song, ‘What Do You Say’ takes over at the end of the LP’s opener and keeps the energy flowing at top level.  And just as with the album’s opener, it’s just as certain to have live audiences singing along and pumping their fists along as Patrick sings, “Hey, hey what do you say/It doesn’t really matter/Cause it’s all the same/Hey, hey what do you say/They’re just gonna blame us anyway.”  Lyrically, this song comes across in a slightly cryptic manner.  The really good thing about it though is that it isn’t just one of so many countless songs about one’s relationship issues.  And the equally powerful hooks and choruses make the song even better and another sure bet to be a fan hit.

The energy kicked up by the album’s first pair of songs pulls back just slightly in its third song, ‘Surprise.’  That pullback is only momentary, as the energy kicks back into high gear in the album’s rather electronica infused semi-title track, ‘What The Sun Come Out Tonight.’  And it doesn’t let up from there until the band gets just past its halfway mark in ‘First You Break It.’  Again, that reduced presence is only temporary as the band once again sheds its softer sound in favor of something with more kick in ‘Burn It’ and ‘Take That Knife Out Of My Back.’  By the time listeners reach the album’s final pair of songs, which is definitely the album’s calmest, they will be left almost breathless thanks to the musical rollercoaster on which they have been taken over the course of the album’s previous ten songs. By the time the last notes of ‘It’s Just You’ fade away, listeners will know that they have just experienced one more album that is more than deserving of being added to the ever growing list of the year’s best rock records.

Audiences will have the chance to experience the music from this brand new album as Filter will be hitting the road beginning next Thursday, April 18th in support of it.  The band will perform at the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs, CO that day.  Filter’s North Carolina based fans will also get the chance to experience the band’s new music live as the band will make not one but two stops in North Carolina on its tour.  The first of the band’s NC dates will be at the Red Hat Amphitheatre in Raleigh, North Carolina on Friday, May 31st.  The band’s second NC date is scheduled for Sunday, June 2nd at the Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Fans can get a full listing of tour dates from the band’s Facebook page,  Fans can also go to the band’s Facebook page to pre-order the album, which is due out June 4th.

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

The Morning After Starts Work On New Album

Courtesy:  The Morning After

Courtesy: The Morning After

The Morning After has officially announced that it has started working on the early stages of its new full length studio release.  The band has announced that Grammy winning former Carolina Chocolcate Drops member and current Mary Annettes member Justin Robinson will produce the band’s new album.  It was Robinson’s work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops that earned him a Grammy award in 2010.  He is currently touring with the Mary Annettes, which is his own band.  The band’s new album is expected to be available this Fall.  In the meantime, audiences can check out the new video for the band’s song, ‘Warm Like The Sun’ now just by clicking here

Audiences can also check out the band live as it tours in support of its current album, Starless Nights.  The band will be performing live at the Pour House on Friday, March 15th.  It will also make a couple of stops on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast on March 21st and 29th in Beaufort and Wilmington respectively before heading back to the Pour House for a return engagement on Saturday, June 1st.  Audiences in Raleigh, North Carolina will also get the chance to see the band in a very special performance as it performs at the state’s capitol at the ‘Works-Downtown Raleigh’s 4th of July Celebration.’  These are just a handful of dates that the band has scheduled.  Fans can get all the latest tour dates and more when they check out the band’s Facebook page,

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

Excision Performing Two Dates In NC

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR

Dubstep star Excision is bringing his brand of electronica to North Carolina.  The Canadian star will make stops in Charlotte and Raleigh on March 9th and 10th respectively.  The tour stops are part of Excision’s “Execution Tour” in support of his new release, “X-Rated Remixes.”  The new LP will be available in stores and online Tuesday, February 11th

The live show on Excision’s new tour is a first of its kind.  The setup dubbed, “The Executioner” displays a mind-numbing 420 square feet of world-class true-3D video-mapped animations.  Fans can get a glimpse of just what to expect from Excision’s live shows now online at  Along with the brand new stage setup, Excision is also bringing back Canada’s PK Sound—which also worked with him on his 2012 “X Tour—as the tour’s official audio provider.  Also along for the ride this time around are Mad Decent artist Paper Diamond and dubstep producer Vaski.  The March 9th performance will be at Charlotte’s Fillmore.  It will be at 8pm that night.  Tickets for the show are available now.  They are $25.00 each.  The scheduled March 10th performance will be at the Longbranch in Raleigh, North Carolina.  This show will be at 9:00pm and will also feature local artists Riot The DJ and –DOM- as supporting acts.  Tickets for this show are available now, too.  They are also $25.00 each.

To get a full listing of dates and all the latest news for Excision’s current tour fans can go online to,,, and  Fans can also check out all the latest music from Excision online at and

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

The Dirty Heads Returning To Raleigh, Bringing Shiny Toy Guns Along

Courtesy:  MSO PR/

Courtesy: MSO PR/

The boys in The Dirty Heads are coming back to North Carolina.  The band is returning to Raleigh once again.  This time, the band will be coming with Shiny Toy Guns in tow as co-headliners.  The bands will be performing together at Raleigh’s famed Lincoln Theater on Saturday, February 16th.  The bands’ performances are part of the “Tour Odyssey” powered by  The Dirty Heads’ performance comes on the heels of last year’s release of its latest album, Cabin By The Sea.  Shiny Toy Guns is touring in support of its most recent release, III.  That album was released this past October on Five Seven Music.  It was also listed by the Associated Press as one of the AP’s Top 10 Albums of 2012.

Anyone interested in attending the bands’ performance in Raleigh can enter for ticket giveaways and even more online at  Fans can also get a seven-song pre-tour sampler featuring tracks from the bands online now at

For all the latest on both bands, fans can check them out online at:

The Dirty Heads

Shiny Toy Guns

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

Crain’s Third Record One of 2013’s Early Sleeper Hits

Courtesy:  Ramseur Records

Courtesy: Ramseur Records

Samantha Crain is one of the music industry’s best kept secrets.  This twenty-six year old Oklahoman has been making waves with her upcoming third full length studio release, Kid Face.  Crain’s new album has been getting attention from both the public sphere and that of public broadcasting with positive reviews from Rolling Stone magazine, Spin, and National Public Radio.  What’s most intriguing about the album isn’t so much its songs, but the ability of the songs to keep listeners’ attention throughout the course of the record.  Considering that the album was recorded and mix over the course of just nine days, the album becomes that much more impressive.

Crain’s third album is a solid piece of county/folk that not only Crain’s fans will enjoy but also those of fellow female artists Nora Jones, and Regina Specktor among a handful of others.  Its opener, ‘Never Going Back’ makes for quite the interesting starting point for Crain on this album.  The song, as Crain herself writes of it, is about an individual who had been involved in an affair but has made the life altering decision to not go back; thus the song’s title.  It goes completely against the mold of the stereotypical country song.  Instead of someone singing about having lost a partner, this is an empowering song about someone who has made the decision to get out of a relationship that would have otherwise led to such a country song.  She writes in ‘Never Going Back’, “The ending of ten thousand dreams/My soul has finally been set free/From his cool eyes/I’ll hide myself in softer storms/Crawl out of holes/Become reborn/To my surprise…I’ve stayed afloat in quicker sand/But now I have a place to stand and call my own/I had a deal with man and God/One let me down and one did not/So I made my way back home.”  The uplifting and infectious sound of the song and the equally positive lyrics make this a good start to this record.  On top of that, the two together make for a song that is sure to be an instant hit for Crain’s fans.

Crain doesn’t note in writing about the songs on this album the roots of ‘Never Going Back.’  More than likely, it had no influence from any personal bearings.  Though in reading through what she had to note about other songs, many of the other songs on this album did in fact come from personal experience.  And one of the best of those songs is another song that goes almost completely against the grain of standard pop song writing.  That song comes late on the album in the form of ‘Somewhere All The Time.’  Crain writes of this song that its influence comes from her life on the road.  She notes that travelling is in fact, her “obsession and her method.” Although sometimes she does need a break.  And thus this song was born.  It’s a response to the people who ask her if being on the road so much is difficult.  She writes of those who ask her, “Everybody wants to go somewhere/Everybody wants to go all the time/Don’t you ever want to sit down some/Take a little time.”  Her response is two-fold.  By and large, she writes of the joys of touring despite things like vehicles breaking down and people who seemingly get paranoid when she’s out on the road.  For everything that she loves of being on the road, Crain does explain that need to get away as she sings, “Somebody better say a prayer for me/Cause I need a break from this whole scene/Spend some time in the grasslands/And my man to love me/Could you forget about me for a while.”  As with the album’s opener, this is another nice upbeat piece all the way around that fans will instantly enjoy.  It’s really one of those classic storytelling style songs that will especially impress fans of singer songwriters the likes of Neil Young and Bob Dylan.  And it makes for one more piece of the whole that will make this album a favorite both for long-time fans and for those who are new to Samantha Crain’s music.

As has already been noted here, a big part of what makes Samantha Crain’s new album so impressive is her ability and seeming drive to go against the grain of standard music and general human standards.  As the album nears its final notes, listeners get one more song proving that in ‘Ax.’  It really comes across as a song of social commentary, so to speak.  Crain writes about the song that ‘Ax’ is her response to the seemingly increasing negativity in the world today and that while it seems “against her own nature most days”, she wrote this as her own “call to try and be one of the giving and humane.”  In simple terms, ‘Ax’ is proof that people can be good.  They just have to try.  She writes, “You can put your ax back in its place/Your face is wearing all that awful hate/It’s tough to be afraid/But you have to let it lay.”  This is such a short verse in an equally short song.  But being such a short song and short verse, it proves that less is more.  She says so much in so few words.  The gentility of the song’s musical backing adds even more emotion to the song.  It’s just her singing along with a piano and guitar.  The minimalist approach—both lyrically and musically–harkens back to another era of music’s greatest eras past.  That being considered too, one can’t help but appreciate this song even more both in itself and as a part of the bigger picture that is Crain’s new album.

Samantha Crain offers audiences a lot of impressive material, both musically and lyrically, as has been noted here.  The songs already mentioned are just a tiny picture of what audiences can expect from her upcoming release.  It offers eight more tracks of which listeners will each find their own favorite.  The album will be available February 19th on Ramseur Records.  In celebration of its upcoming release, Samantha Crain will be touring in support of the album.  Her tour starts January 23rd in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Berkeley Café.  Doors open at 7pm and the show begins at 8pm.  For full information on the show, including ticket information, go online to

Her performance in Raleigh will be followed up by a set of dates in Wilmington, North Carolina and Pembroke, North Carolina between January 24th and 26th.  From there, she will be heading up to New York before making her way through the Midwest.  Fans can get a full tour itinerary online at and

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