‘Hypoxia’ Is An Imperfect But Enjoyable New Offering From Projected

Courtesy: Rat Pak Records

More than four years after the release of its sophomore album, Ignite My Insanity, hard rock super group Projected returned last month with that record’s follow-up, Hypoxia.  Released June 24 through Rat Pak Records (which released the band’s first two albums, too), the 13-song (14 in the expanded edition) is an intriguing new offering from the group, which is composed of Sevendust members John Connolly and Vince Hornsby, Alter Bridge drummer Scott Phillips, and Tremonti guitarist Eric Friedman.  That is due in large part to its featured lyrical content, which will be discussed shortly.  While the record’s lyrical content ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment, its musical content is sadly imperfect.  This will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production works with the lyrical content and musical content together to make the record a presentation that while imperfect, is still worth hearing at least once.

Hypoxia, the third studio recording from hard rock super group Projected, is an interesting new offering from the quintet.  Its interest comes in large part through its lyrical content.  The album’s title track, which comes almost halfway through the record, does well to support that statement.  The song is a social commentary about people’s divisive interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Connolly talked about the theme and how it related not only to the song but the album in whole, saying, “When the pandemic happened, everybody was on social media all of the time. People were going off on each other and the whole world got crazy. It was 100% hypoxia.  Everyone was talking and nobody was listening.  I had to get off socials awhile because it messes your mood up.” 

This discussion is addressed directly in the album’s title track as Connolly sings, “Why is it every time that I hear you lie/You’ve got nothing to say to make your case/Why is it all the time that I hear you whine/You’ve got no one to blame/You’re sucking out the oxygen/You’re wasting all my oxygen/You’re sucking out the oxygen/You’re wasting all my oxygen/Talking to you makes my head go numb/Bring on your halfwit/Come on, come on with it/Hypoxia/Trying to deal with you makes me come undone/Here comes some bulls***/Come on, come on with it.”  This is that back and forth that Connolly was addressing.  The commentary continues in the song’s second verse as Connolly continues, “How do you find a way to spew meaningless hate/Youv’e got something to say every day/How can you live this way?”  Again, this is that commentary.  Just as Connolly said, this type of behavior really has happened ever since the pandemic happened and sadly is still happening to this day.  To that end, this is a theme and commentary that is certain to resonate with plenty of audiences.

On another note, ‘Stain,’ which is another of the album’s singles, presents its own engaging lyrical content.  In the case of this song, it comes across as being less about social media and more of a familiar commentary about someone who is in a rough place in life. A crossroads so to speak.  This is inferred as Connolly sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Love stains an everlasting hope/Hate burns a never-ending hole/Preacher man told me I should pray to God/But heaven seems such a long way to go/So I pray/If I had one last chance to change it/I’d give the world my best to save it/If I had no regrets to stain it/I’d give my everything to love again.”  This simple verse pretty much comes right out and makes the inferred theme clear.  This is someone who wants to believe people and be happy but finds it difficult to do so because those hopes and dreams have been damaged so much, clearly.  The inferred theme is continued in the song’s second verse as Connolly sings, “Spit out just exactly what you want me to be/The road I travel’s getting darker day by day/I don’t want to hear your lies/Take everything I have to give/So I pray.”  Yet again this is someone being at the pivotal moment, just wanting to know want someone(s) want him/her to be.  This is a situation in which so many audiences have found and find themselves daily.  To that point, it is a theme that will resonate just as much with so many listeners, further showing the importance of the record’s lyrical content.

‘My Addiction’ is yet another example of that importance.  As the song’s title indicates, it is a song about dealing with addiction.  This is yet another familiar theme in so much rock and hard rock that encourages listeners to conquer their addictions.  Connolly sings in the song’s lead verse, “Somehow I found what’s mine/I’m not a victim of it/I’m gonna rise above it/Some moments lost in time/I try to push on through it/And now I never lose it/Now I never lose it/I push through the end/Till I cross that line/Because when they bury me/Won’t lose this time…”  The last two lines of the chorus are difficult to decipher sans lyrics, but more than enough of the verse and chorus is understandable that audiences can easily note that the song clearly is in fact that of conquering whatever addiction one has.  The song’s brief second verse follows in similar fashion adding its own touch to the whole.  In the end, Connolly sings, “I won’t let go” before singing again about pushing on through it all.  The whole here is a powerful statement about determination to get through “this endless race.”  It all collectively is just as certain to resonate with listeners.  When it and the other themes examined here are considered along with the rest of the record’s lyrical content, the whole makes even clearer why the lyrical content featured in the album is so important to its presentation.  It more than makes up for the slight shortcoming of the album’s musical content.

The arrangements that make up the record’s body are infectious.  There is no denying that aspect.  At the same time though, so much of what audiences get in this record is what listeners have gotten from Sevendust for so many years.  There is even a clear Alter Bridge influence late in the record in the form of ‘My Addiction.’  From the heaviness and harmonies in the guitar and bass lines to the very specific vocal styling in each song, the whole of so much of this record really is nearly identical, again, to so much of what Sevendust has crafted in each of its albums.  If any of the arrangements featured here were to be played on the radio without announcement from the on-air talent, audiences would very likely think this was content from Sevendust. Add in that this is hardly the first time that the band has taken this creative avenue just as in its existing catalog, and it hurts the record to a certain point that much more. That is not to say that the record’s musical content dooms it by any means but taking that safe route certainly did not do much to help the band grow in its latest outing.

While the album’s musical arrangements seem to counter a statement made by Connolly made during a recent interview that he felt the record showed evolution and growth from the band, the production of those arrangements helps to keep listeners engaged, even despite the overt familiarity.  The production that went into the record ensured that as heavy as so much of the record is throughout, each musician’s performance is expertly balanced by that of his band mates.  The richness of each performance comes together from one song to the next to make each composition so hard hitting and in turn enjoyable even despite being so overly familiar.  To that end, it still manages to make the album mostly successful when considered with everything else.  To that end, the album proves itself worth hearing at least once.

Hypoxia, the latest album from hard rock super group Projected, is an intriguing new offering from the group.  The album’s interest comes in large part through its featured lyrical content, which is certain to resonate with audiences from one song to the next.  From social commentaries to more personal stories and more, the themes here are content that is completely relatable.  As much as the record’s lyrical content does to make it engaging and entertaining, the record’s musical content is a little more questionable.  Once again audiences get musical arrangements throughout that really are overly familiar.  For the most part what audiences get here are compositions that are more along the lines of content from Connolly and Hornsby’s main band, Sevendust, than anything that really takes any chances.  In other words, it once again finds the group largely playing it safe.  Yes, the arrangements are infectious and engaging, but it would have been nice to have heard something less familiar.  The record’s production works with the arrangements to ensure each arrangement, even being so overly familiar, is still fully immersive.  It does this by making sure the instrumentation is properly balanced in each work and that the vocals are just as clear as the instruments.  It puts the finishing touch to the whole.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered they make Hypoxia maybe not perfect but still worth hearing at least once.

Hypoxia is available now through Rat Pak Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/ProjectedBand.

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

King’s X Announces New Record Deal, Album Details

Photo Credit: Derek Soto
l-r: Ty Tabor, Jerry Gaskill, dUg Pinnick

Kings X is back in the headlines for the first time in a while.

The band announced Thursday, it has signed a new record deal with InsideOut Music. The deal will see the band release its new album this fall. The as yet untitled album will be the band’s 13th record.

The band shared its thoughts on the new developments, beginning with bassist/vocalist dUg Pinnick.

“I feel like it’s been forever since we put out a new album, and I’m ready for the world to hear our latest offering, hopefully there’s a little bit of everything that you love about Kings X, three sides of one is the best way to describe it,” Pinnick said. “The groove is with us!”

Drummer Jerry Gaskill was enthusiastic not only about the new album, but the band’s new record deal, too.

“It’s really gonna happen!,” Gaskill said. “The new record is coming out soon. I’m happy to be working with the team at InsideOut/Sony Music. I’m happy with the record. I’m happy everybody gets to hear it. It’s a happy day. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Hope you enjoy it!!!”

Gutiarist Ty Tabor, who released his latest solo album, Shades in March through Rat Pak Records, also commented on the band’s new record deal.

“I have a long standing relationship with InsideOut and am so pleased that InsideOut/Sony is releasing the new King’s X album,” said Tabor.

InsideOut Music head Thomas Waber echoed Tabor’s statement.

“We have known the guys since forever and have been fans even before then,” he said. “We are really looking forward to adding another album to their impressive legacy. Working on a King’s X album is always a highlight and an honour!”

In other news, King’s X has announced a new series of live dates this summer and fall in Europe, the United Kingdom, and North America in support of the new album. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Europe & UK

1st September – Backstage Halle, Munich, Germany

2nd September – Veruno Musica Festival, Veruno, Italy

3rd September – Old  Capitol, Langenthal, Switzerland

6th September – Hirsch, Nürnberg, Germany

7th September – Colos-Saal – Aschaffenburg, Germany

9th September – Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands

10th September – Fabrik, Hamburg, Germany

12th September – Spirit of 66, Verviers, Belgium

13th September – Kantine, Cologne, Germany

14th September – Le Forum, Vaureal (Paris), France

16th September – The Brook, Southampton, UK

17th September – Picturedrome, Holmfirth, UK

18th September – Wylam Brewery, Newcastle, UK

20th September – Garage, Glasgow, UK

22nd September – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK

23rd September – Junction, Cambridge, UK

24th September – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, UK

26th September – Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK

27th September – Academy 2, Manchester, UK

28th September – Tramshed, Cardiff, UK

30th September – Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium

1st October – Hypothalamus, Rheine, Germany

North America

28th July – Gramercy Theatre, NYC, NY, USA

29th July – Sellersville Theatre, Sellersville, PA, USA

30th July – Spyglass Ridge Winery, Sunbury, PA, USA

19th October – Amos’ Southend, Charlotte, NC, USA

20th October – The Concourse, Knoxville, TN, USA

21st October – The Forum, Hazard, KY, USA

23rd October – Brooklyn Bowl, Nashville, TN, USA

25th October – The Howlin’ Wolf, New Orleans, LA, USA

27th October – Come and Take It Live, Austin, TX, USA

28th October – Trees, Dallas, TX, USA

29th October – Warehouse Live, Houston, TX, USA

More information on King’s X’s new record deal and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.kingsxrocks.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kingsx

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

Ty Tabor’s Latest LP Succeeds Through Its Musical, Lyrical Depths

Courtesy: Rat Pak Records

King’s X guitarist and co-vocalist Ty Tabor released his latest solo record Friday.  The 13-song album, Shades, was released through Rat Pak Records.  It is an interesting new offering from the veteran musician, as its musical and lyrical content prove.  Tabor said during an interview promoting the album, he wrote the album about the different sides of life and death.  Those themes are clear throughout the album what with the melancholy mood that each song sets.  The album also touches on politics, in one of its bonus songs, ‘Political Nonsense,’ which will be discussed later.  ‘What You’re Thinking,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another example of what makes the album intriguing.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Best Day In A While’ is also an interesting addition to the album and will be discussed a little later.  Each song examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s body.  All things considered, they make Shades an interesting offering from Tabor that will help his fans and King’s X fans bide the time until the band’s upcoming fall European tour launches later this year.

Shades, the latest solo record from King’s X guitarist/co-vocalist Ty Tabor, is an intriguing and aptly titled new offering from the veteran musician and performer.  That is proven throughout the record in each of its musical arrangements and in its lyrical content.  ‘I Know What You’re Thinking’ is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statement.  The song’s musical arrangement is the foundation for its interest.  It comes across as a sort of neo-classic rock style composition.  That is nothing new for Tabor, as so much of his work bears that signature style.  The good thing is that it still maintains its own identity separate from his existing works.  The positive energy in the song’s arrangement works well with the song’s equally positive lyrical content which seems to focus on the familiar topic of a relationship.  In the case of this song, the relationship is actually at a good point.

Tabor makes that clear as he sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “You amaze me/Sometimes crazy/I am crazy, too/And you love me/All that you see/How much I love you, too/Why I say/I know/What you’re thinking/I can tell by your gesture/It’s no mystery/I know/I don’t thank you/I can tell by the look in your eyes/And I agree.”  This is in fact a positive mindset, as noted.  It is a lighthearted statement about being in that familiar place in a relationship, showing appreciation for that other person for all that they do.  He continues, “You’re meant for me/You can believe/I am meant for you/We’re together/Walk forever/I will walk with you.”  This is a statement of dedication to that other person, enriching the overall statement even more.  It is a happy note that will appeal to so many listeners.  The positive energy in the song’s arrangement pairs with that light commentary to make the song all the more appealing.  The whole makes the song just one example of how much the overall album has to offer.  ‘Best Day In A While’ is another strong example of how much the album has to offer.

‘Best Day In A While’ is the polar opposite of ‘I Know What You’re Thinking,’ musically and lyrically.  The musical arrangement featured in this song is much more reserved than its counterpart.  It is so melancholy from start to end, meaning it will require audiences to be in a specific mindset in order to appreciate it.  That melancholy mood translates directly into the song’s lyrical side, which finds Tabor paying tribute to his late father.  Tabor even said in the noted interview about the album, “I was dealing with the recent death of my dad when some of this was written.”  He closes out the song going so far as to say, “That was the best day I’ve had, dad.”  Throughout the rest of the song, he pays moving tribute to his father, singing the song’s lead verse, “Heaven’s open for a big rain to come our way/But we didn’t care/We drove on and on all day/Went to the place where your mother and father are laid/And we drove to the river/And that is where we stayed/Then you said/That was the best day I’ve had in a while/I do believe/That was the best day I’ve had in a while, I do believe/That was the best day I’ve had in a while/Was the best day I’ve had in a while/That was the best day I’ve had/Son.”  He continues, “Images of you on the floor still fill my head/I wanted to give something more than I’m comfortable back/I’m thankful for every single moment I’ve spent with you/And I’ll always hold on to the good things that got your through.”  This is such a deeply moving eulogy for Tabor’s father.  At the same time, it will help anyone out there who may be dealing with the loss of maybe not just a father, but a mother; this, despite the fact that the song is a tribute to Tabor’s father.  The moving lyrical tribute, paired with the song’s equally rich musical arrangement, makes the song all that much more powerful and a statement about how much the album has to offer audiences.  It is just one more example of what makes the album worth hearing.  ‘Political Nonsense,’ which is one of the album’s three bonus tracks, does its own share to make the album worth hearing.

‘Political Nonsense’ stands out because its musical arrangement is more closely related to the songs that Tabor has composed alongside his Kings X band mates than in his own albums.  That is evident in the song’s heaviness and occasional contemplative nature of the chorus sections.  The song is largely instrumental.  The rare times that Tabor does sing, his words are simple.  He sings in those rare moments, “No political nonsense.”  It is a straight forward statement that appears to address the hyper partisan nature of politics today.  It is a simple statement, but speaks volumes in its simplicity.  The added statements that “I won’t listen” would seem to hint at people not listening to one another, or even to himself not listening to the two sides bickering.  It is hardly the first time that any music act has taken on politics in its music.  The simple approach that Tabor has taken here though, makes the moment unique among its counterparts.  In turn, it makes the song well worth hearing just as much as the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s songs.  When it is considered along with all of those songs, the whole makes the album in general an interesting addition to this year’s field of new rock albums.

Ty Tabor’s new album, Shades, is an intriguing offering from the veteran musician.  The album stands out because of its musical and lyrical content.  The songs examined here make that clear.  When the songs examined here are considered along with the album’s other entries, the whole makes Shades a welcome addition to this year’s field of new rock albums.

Shades is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Ty Tabor’s latest news at:

Website: https://tytabor.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tytabor

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

KXM’s Sophomore Album Is A Focused New Effort

Courtesy: Rat Pak Records

This past March, rock outfit KXM released its sophomore album Scatterbrain to the masses.  The album is a solid new effort from the “super group,” which is composed of Ray Luzier (Korn) on drums, George Lynch (Lynch Mob) on guitar and dUg Pinnick (King’s X) on bass and vocals. That is evident early on in the album’s prog-metal infused title track and opener.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Calypso,’ which comes just a little ways into the record’s sequence, is another example of what makes Scatterbrain a solid new effort from KXM.  It will be discussed later.  ‘It’s Never Enough’ is yet another example of what makes this record so enjoyable and is hardly the last of the songs that could be cited in a discussion of what makes this record so impressive.  The ten songs not noted here could each be cited in their own right to support the aforementioned statement.  That applies both to the songs’ musical and lyrical content.  Keeping that in mind, the musical and lyrical content exhibited in Scatterbrain makes this record from start to finish a work that shows clear focus.  That focus, in turn, makes this record yet another record deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.

KXM’s sophomore LP Scatterbrain is a record that displays great focus both musically and lyrically from start to finish.  The result of that focus is a record that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.  Those statements are supported right off the top in the album’s title track and opener in part through the song’s musical arrangement.   The arrangement easily lends itself to comparisons to songs from Pinnick’s main band, King’s X as well as to Platypus and Liquid Tension Experiment.  That is not a bad thing, either.  That is because such comparisons form a solid foundation for the song; a foundation on which the song’s lyrical content rests just as solidly.

The lyrical content presented in Scatterbrain’s lead/title track is its own important part to this song because of its seeming commentary contained therein.  There is a mention of “people trying to kill you…when they don’t have the right” in the song’s lead verse and an added mention of time and life fleeting in the second.  Meanwhile Pinnick reminds listeners in the song’s final minutes “don’t be afraid, don’t cry, don’t let them scare you.”  One has to assume here that he is referencing the people noted in the song’s lead verse; those who would otherwise do others harm in whatever form.  It plays into the song’s second verse, too with Pinnick perhaps making note of how short life is.  If that is indeed the case, then Pinnick singing about not letting people scare them, that second verse would seem to be Pinnick telling listeners to not let life pass them by worrying about those people in question.  This is of course only this critic’s own interpretation and certainly not the only interpretation.  Regardless of the song’s true meaning, the manner in which Pinnick delivers the song’s lyrical content–and the content itself—makes for plenty of interest and discussion.  When it is joined with the frantic energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song makes the song an impressive first impression for KXM in its second outing.  It also collectively makes ‘Scatterbrain’ just one clear example of what makes its namesake so impressive overall.  It is just one of the album’s most notable works.  ‘Noises in the Sky’ is yet another example of what makes Scatterbrain so impressive.

‘Noises in The Sky’ is another clear example of what makes KXM’s new album so impressive first and foremost because of its musical arrangement.  The arrangement presented here is the polar opposite of that presented in the album’s title track.  It is more of a blues-based rock arrangement that regardless, still boasts its own heaviness.  In the same breath, that comparison to King’s X is just as undeniable as in the case of ‘Scatterbrain.’  The song’s lyrical content is just as heavy in its own right with even more seeming commentary.  The commentary is inferred as Pinnick sings in the song’s lead verse, “Have you heard the noises in the night/Is this a warning/Sounds like a trumpet blowing high/Is this a warning/Whatever it is, is far and near/Is this a warning.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “The sun is bright/The flares are high/Is this a warning/Only for those whose ears can hear/Is this a warning/Something is happening/It just ain’t clear/Is this a warning.”  The instant thought that comes to mind in considering all of this is that the song is making a religious statement.  On another level though, maybe it could be a response to all of the doomsayers out there who like to preach so much about the end times.  No matter the meaning, it is certain to lead to some heavy discussion.  When that heavy discussion is joined with the heaviness in the song’s musical arrangement, the end result is a song that is yet another example of what makes Scatterbrain such a solid, focused record.  It still is not the last song that can be cited in exhibiting what makes the album so impressive. ‘Angel,’ the album’s closer is one more prime example of what makes this record stand out.

‘Angel’ serves to make Scatterbrain stand out just as much as ‘Noises in the Sky’ and ‘Scatterbrain’ because it stands out both musically and lyrically from those songs just as much as they stand apart from one another and the rest of the album’s offerings.  Musically speaking, this song is not necessarily a ballad per se.  But in comparison to the record’s other arrangements it is comparably softer and gentler.  That softer, gentler approach works well with the song’s softer lyrical content, too, which seems to be a bit of a bittersweet message, making the song in whole a truly touching work. The seemingly bittersweet message is inferred as Pinnick sings in the song’s lead verse, “You’re not like the others/Who left me alone/You said the right things and I couldn’t breathe/I don’t want to give in/But the truth always wins.”  He goes on to sing in the second verse, “I don’t want to do this/But it’s all I can feel/In my heart as it heals/I’ve heard it’s been said/That three times is a charm/But four times/You’re just a fool/I asked an angel to watch over you/But it came back and asked me/Why/Because angels don’t watch over angels/I’m waiting on my angel.”  The juxtaposition of those verses comes across almost as a story of love lost.  Yet even in that seeming story of lost love, there is still some happiness, again making that bittersweet feeling.  Again, the combination of that deeply emotional story and the song’s equally touching musical arrangement makes this song its own outstanding work.  In the bigger picture, it is yet another example of what makes Scatterbrain a solid, focused new effort from KXM.  When it is joined with the previously discussed songs and those not noted here, the end result is an album whose focus makes it enjoyable from start to finish and one more clear candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.

KXM’s sophomore album Scatterbrain is a record that is anything but scattered.  From beginning to end, this album shows great focus both musically and lyrically.  From seeming commentaries to more personal works, the album offers plenty for everyone to appreciate.  That being the case, it proves itself to be an easy candidate to be one of this year’s top new rock records.  More information on Scatterbrain is available online now along with all of KXM’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.ratpakrecords.com/kxm

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

 

 

 

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.