The Reed Effect Premieres New Single, ‘Mad Dog,’ Video

Courtesy: Cowgirlzen Entertainment

Rock band The Reed Effect recently debuted the video for the final single from its album, 1973.

The band premiered the video for its new single, ‘Mad Dog‘ last week. The album’s fifth single, it follows the album’s other trio of singles, ‘Megalomania,’ ‘Rise Up‘ ‘Trampled Under,’ and ‘Fine Here.‘

The musical arrangement featured in the band’s new single is a catchy, blues-rock composition. To a point, the overall presentation is actually comparable to certain works from the likes of Audioslave and South of Eden among others

Front man Kirk Reed talked about the song’s musical arrangement and lyrical theme in a prepared statement.

‘”Mad Dog” was based on a riff I originally had from the previous lineup of this band, but laid dormant for a time and eventually came back to life with Chris [Reed] and [drummer] Bryan [Fontez],” Reed said. “We reshaped it of course and created a new vocal melody with lyrics inspired by a story about a friend’s situation. 

Reed continued, “I can’t even remember the details, however, it was basically about a ‘Holier than Thou’ group of people with whom my friend had a debate with one of its members which got out of hand. Subsequently, she got the rest of her crew to gang up on my friend on social media. Whatever cause she was behind got lost in the chaos of her and her friends bullying my friend. The whole thing got misconstrued and damaged my friend’s reputation for no good reason. It was So unfair and is an example of how mindless mob mentality can wreak havoc. So, my heart went out to him, and I wrote a song about it.”‘

The video for the band’s new single features The Reed Effect, including Reed’s late brother Chris, performing live as the song plays over the visualization.

More information on The Reed Effect’s new video, single, and album is available along with all of The Reed Effect’s latest news at:




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Askvader Debuts New Single, ‘Don’t Worry’

Courtesy: The Sign Records

Independent rock band Askvader kicked off the weekend with the premiere of its latest single.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Don’t Worry‘ Friday. The song’s musical arrangement is a composition that will easily engage and entertain any classic rock fan and those of the current neo-classic rock movement. It makes itself comparable to works from the band’s fellow label mates on The Sign Records, The Hawkins and Heavy Feather, as well as fellow neo-classic rock band South of Eden.

According to a statement from the band presented in the news release announcing the song’s premiere, the song’s lyrical theme centers on the matter of existentialism.

“We have created a bombastic and epic piece with beautiful lyrics about solving existential anxiety with a ‘Don’t Worry (about it)’- mindset, something we commonly do in our hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden,” the statement reads.

More information on Askvader’s new single is available along with the band’s latest news at:



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South Of Eden Debuts New Single, ‘Lone Riders,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Neo-classic rock band South of Eden debuted its new single, ‘Lone Riders‘ and its companion video this month.

The band debuted the pair Feb. 9. The premiere of the song and its video came only days after the band premiered its cover of Van Halen’s classic song, ‘Drop Dead Legs.’ Some of that Van Halen influence is on display at points throughout the new song, too. Audiences who listen closely will hear the influence in the arrangement’s guitar line.

The rest of the arrangement proves engaging and entertaining in its own right, too. That is because of the balance of the band’s classic rock leanings and more modern rock approach. The overall presentation can be argued to have comparison to works from the likes of Buckcherry and to a lesser extent, Stone Temple Pilots.

Front man Ehab Omran talked about the song’s musical arrangement and lyrical content in a prepared statement..

“We chose ‘Lone Riders’ as our first single because we felt the high-energy music and down to earth lyrics encapsulate everything about this band,” Omran said. “It’s about being broke, overlooked, and over being on the outside looking in. You deal with it by getting high and watching life go by because you can’t afford to keep up with it.

Omran added, “It’s a mixture of a lot of things. We’re ‘classically rock’ influenced, but listen to so many different genres and eras that there are a lot of different feelings in our music.

He concluded, “When you hear us, I want you to walk away thinking, ‘That was honest and different’. We’re just doing what we do. We’re proof you can do anything you want and shouldn’t compromise your dreams.”

The video for ‘Lone Riders’ follows the band as it finds itself at a record label after its vehicle runs out of gas. Fortuitously, the band is able to record its new song in the video while one of the label’s executives is held captive, taped to a chair. Ironically, the man turns out to enjoy the song, despite being held captive.

More information on South of Eden’s new single and its EP, The Talk, is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




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South Of Eden Tackles VH Classic

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

South of Eden has taken on a classic Van Halen song for its latest single.

The band debuted its take of Van Halen’s ‘Drop Dead Legs‘ Wednesday. The original song is featured in Van Halen’s album, 1984, which was released in 1984. South of Eden’s take on the classic song stays very close to its source material right down to front man Ehab Omran’s vocal delivery.

Omran’s vocals are a near mirror image of those of David Lee Roth throughout the song. Even the choruses and sound from the instrumentation (courtesy of the expert production) makes the song sound so much like Van Halen’s original song. Drummer Tom McCullough even deserves his own applause as his drum setup in the video is clearly meant to mirror that of Alex Van Halen.

Omran talked about the band covering the song in a prepared statement.

“‘Drop Dead Legs’ is one of many VH songs where the riff, lyrics, and groove come together to form a sound signature to those 4 dudes jamming in a room,” he said. “Although we have played ‘Unchained’, ‘Running With the Devil’, ‘Beautiful Girls’ and more of their other tunes live, ‘Drop Dead Legs’ felt like the best choice to encapsulate everything we love about Van Halen! RIP to a legend”

South of Eden’s cover of ‘Drop Dead Legs’ is not available digitally. It is just the latest cover from the band. The group debuted its take of Audioslave’s ‘Show Me How To Live‘ in 2020.

More information on South of Eden’s new cover and its EP, The Talk, is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




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Voltagehawk Releases New Album; Debuts Album’s Latest Single, Video

Courtesy: INgrooves/The Label Group

Independent rock band Voltagehawk released its debut album, Electric Thunder, this month.

The band released the album Jan. 21 through The Label Group/INgrooves. In celebration of the record’s release, the band premiered the video for the record’s latest single, ‘The Cosmic Hangman.’ The video features the band in what looks like a unique recording studio setting, complete with lights and mirrors that make it look like a club.

The song’s musical arrangement is a driving, up-tempo composition. Its combination of stoner and neo-classic rock influences makes it unique in its own right. Comparisons can be made just as much to works from the likes of Clutch and Queens of the Stone Age as to South of Eden throughout the song. The balance in that duality ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment.

Front man Dan Fenton talked about the commentary in the song’s lyrical theme in a prepared statement.

“On 10/17/17 I was dead. I had drank myself into oblivion,” he said. “Years of depression, abuse, and confusion as a child had finally caught up with me. As I lay unconscious, I was at perfect peace; no pain, no ringing in my ears, just floating for 9 minutes as the paramedics brought me back. I heard a voice inside my mind ask if I wanted to stay in the cosmic womb or if I would stop drinking. Those were my only options. I chose to give up the bottle, accept help for the first time in my life, and enter a treatment program. It changed everything.

“My moment of peace in the cosmic womb let me know that there was something after this life, but not what they had taught me as a child. The reception of my new found life was mixed. As I went on a journey of amends, I was embraced by some and rejected by others. I was told that without religion I couldn’t possibly have changed. They were wrong, I had changed.”

Added Fenton, “The rule of the papacy has long cast judgment on those seeking change outside the constructs of religion or faith. This song is an anthem for the undamned, unfallen, and unredeemed. Rebirth is not a battle between heaven and hell, but a battle between mind and body.”

‘The Cosmic Hangman’ is just one of the singles produced from Voltagehawk’s new album. The record has also produced the single, ‘Recrimination.‘

More information on Voltagehawk’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




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Gunshine Debuts New Single, ‘Wall Said To Call’

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Independent rock band Gunshine is working to make a place for itself in the neo-classic rock community.

The up-and-coming band premiered its new single, ‘Wall Said To Call‘ Friday. The song boasts a musical arrangement whose driving guitars, powerhouse vocals and overall instrumentation immediately makes the song comparable to works from the band’s fellow “New Wave of Classic Rock” bands, such as Greta Van Fleet and South of Eden. There are also moments in the blues-based rocker that make the arrangement similar in sound and style to classic works from the likes of AC/DC.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the song’s debut. No lyrics are provided with the song’s visualizer, either. Listening closely through the lyrics, it would seem that the song is about a man who is about a man who is quite interested in a woman. The very title is a reference to the old practice of putting a woman’s phone number on the wall of a stall in a men’s bathroom, as the song’s lyrics point out.

More information on Gunshine’s new single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:


Facebook: https://Gunshineband


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South Of Eden Front Man Ehab Omran Talks Touring, COVID Concerns, The New Wave Of Classic Rock, More In NEw Phil’s Picks Interview

Courtesy: South of Eden

Neo-classic rock band South of Eden is gearing up for a short series of live dates next month. The band’s brief tour features performances at a trio of big festivals. Front man Ehab Omran recently talked with Phil’s Picks about the band’s inclusion in those festivals as well as concerns about COVID-19’s role in live music, the band’s next record and more as the group prepares for everything on the band’s calendar. Omran’s discussion with Phil’s Picks is featured below.

PP: South of Eden has some positive news on the live front.  The band is scheduled to head back out on the road next month.  The schedule is pretty interesting in that it’s very short, at only four dates.  However, those four dates include performances at three very well-known festivals – Riff Fest, Louder Than Life, and the Aftershock Festival.  What does it mean to you all as a band to be tapped to play such big festivals and have them be your main live dates right now, especially considering the list of major name acts that you will be joining at each festival?

EO: Thank you for having me on Phil! It means the world to us to be able to say that we are a part of the biggest rock festivals in America, and to be able to share stages with a lot of our heroes is a dream come true. We have to thank Danny Wimmer and DWP for that!  Our decision to keep the shows next month to a minimum is due to the uncertainty of what could happen in these next coming months with the pandemic. We are always optimistic things will get better, but for the sake of not canceling shows and letting fans down, we decided a short run until things are certain is the wiser decision.

PP: Staying on that matter, are more dates in the works?

EO: There are actually a lot of pending dates that we are tentatively holding off on until we can maybe get more assurances! So who knows look out for pop up shows near you!

PP: Getting back to the festivals, when did you first find out that you had been tapped to the play the noted festivals and what was the first thing that went through your minds when you got the news?

EO: We found out around Nov. of 2020. It was definitely great news to end the crappy year! It made us hopeful and determined to put on an infertile show.

PP: What do you think the band’s appointments say to the group’s popularity?

EO: I think a lot of people have been craving a different kind of rock n roll. The kind that has real teeth and unpolished audacity, with a hook that makes you dance. That’s what we like to do. Break your neck head banging and then dance when the groove hits haha. It is very fulfilling to have incredible names in the industry recognize us and give us opportunities to prove that we pack a different kind of punch.,

PP: Speaking of popularity, the classic rock movement seems to be getting renewed popularity and attention both among audiences and those within the music industry.  Bands, such as yourselves, Horisont, The Hawkins, Greta Van Fleet, Heavy Feather, Dirty Honey, Night, and others, have risen to fame in the past year or so thanks to the renewed focus on the genre.  What does it mean to you all to be part of that renaissance of sorts within the classic rock realm?  What’s more, to what do you all think the genre’s renewed growth can be attributed?

EO: It’s awesome to be able contribute to the new wave of rock! I think everyone is being drawn to it because they are tired of polished, contrived music. Mix that in with the state of the world and I think it’s easy to remember where the attitude and love for rock comes from.

PP: Changing gears a bit, the last time audiences heard anything new from South of Eden was last year in your then new EP, The Talk.  Of course, there was also that cover that you did of Audioslave’s hit single, ‘Show Me How To Live’ not long after the EP’s release.  It would suffice to say that audiences will hear plenty from that EP and the band’s 2018 album, Take One on your upcoming dates.  Are audiences going to hear anything that maybe the band has worked on during its downtime in 2020 and this year?

EO: The Talk EP was always meant to be a full album because we went and recorded 12 songs of which we only released 4. The ones we thought would be a good stepping stone into some bigger songs we were excited to release. We knew however, with the pandemic going on, it would have been a major disservice to the music to release it without being able to tour properly. All of these songs will be played on these runs we do this year! Now here we are a year later recording a while other album to add to our arsenal! It’s a good feeling to know that when the time is right we are going to have a plethora of music! Who knows maybe we just release a double album haha!

PP: So can audiences expect to hear anything new from the band in studio before this year is out?

EO: The short answer is YES! And the long answer is……………..YES!

PP: Backing up a little bit, I want to touch on the band’s cover of Audioslave’s ‘Show Me How To Live.’  I went back through my notes on that one.  According to the information that was sent out at the time, you guys had plenty of praise for Tom Morello and Chris Cornell, but there was no mention as to what influenced that band to take on the song.  Talk to me about that item if you will.

EO: The answer to this one is a bit underwhelming. So I had only heard of maybe 3 Soundgarden songs before 2019. (I got into rock very late so it took me a while to get to Cornell RIP). As soon as I got in though, I couldn’t get out. I loved his voice and eventually found Audioslave and wanted to cover every song! I particularly loved ‘Show Me How to Live’ because of its message and amazing grunge feel, a sound we hadn’t tried before.

PP: On a related note, Audioslave was not exactly a neo-classic rock band during its life.  Though, its third album did show some classic rock influence.  Keeping that in mind, was that cover a hint at the band’s direction in its next studio recording?

EO: I think that when our music is released as a whole it will be more evident that many of our songs have extremely different feels and rhythm. A more classic sounding song like ‘Dancing With Fire’ is very different from the more pop sounding ‘Solo” which is different from the jazz feel of ‘Morning Brew’. This will continue to happen as we release more and more of our music!

PP: One last question for you to get back to the festivals and touring and bring things full circle, which band(s) are you hoping to get to see, even as busy as your schedule is going to be?  Are there any bands on the bills that you all have toured with or would like to tour with and why?

EO: We along with everyone are pumped to see MAMMOTH WVH! He’s incredible both in his music writing and his production. It would be dope to be able to tour with a band like that!

Thanks again so much for the time, and I wish you guys the best of luck in your upcoming live dates.

Thank you for having us! Let us know if a show pops up near you we’d love to see ya!

More information on South of Eden’s upcoming performances is available along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:




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Rock Super Group Takes Top Honors In Phil’s Picks’ 2020 Best New EPs

Courtesy: Wiretap Records

Another year has come and another year is almost gone.  Only a handful of weeks remain in this year, which means many record companies have already turned their focus to 2021.  Even with the record labels turning their attention to the new year, there is still work to be done this year.  The work in question is a look back at the best of the year’s new music.  For this critic, that look back starts at the smallest level, EPs.  Those who have followed this critic’s daily ramblings year in and year out know that the year-enders have always started with the smallest records, the EPs, and this year is no different.  This year has seen a variety of interesting EPs released from across the musical universe.  They include records released by labels and independently by the acts in question. 

Featured in this critic’s list of this year’s are new offerings from Hell or Highwater (which is fronted by Atreyu’s Brandon Saller), Another Day Dawns, and even independent artist Vast Caldera among others.  Topping this year’s list is an offering from the “super group” In Parallel.

As with every year past, this critic’s list features not 10, but 15 titles.  The top 10 titles are the primary titles, while the next five are honorable mention titles.  With everything noted, here with out any further ado, is Phil’s Picks Top 10 New EPs of 2020.


  1. In Parallel – Fashioner
  2. Mark Morton – Ether
  3. Killswitch Engage – Atonement II: B-Sides For Charity
  4. Vast Caldera – Vast Caldera I
  5. Another Day Dawns – Stranger
  6. Hell or Highwater – Lost at Sonic Ranch
  7. Stabbing Westward – Dead and Gone
  8. Lord—Chaos Raining
  9. KB & The Idyllwilde – I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You
  10. The Run Around – Bombs Away
  11. Morgan Rose – Controlled Chaos
  12. Zero Theorum – The Killing: Part I
  13. Hold On Hollywood – Love Stories
  14. South of Eden – Talk
  15. The Jacks – Remember You

Next up from Phil’s Picks is the list of the year’s top new independent albums.  This year has produced some impressive new independent albums.  Stay tuned for that.

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South of Eden Debuts Video For ‘Show Me How To Live’ Video

South of Eden is paying tribute to Audioslave and its late front man Chris Cornell.

The band debuted the video for its cover of Audioslave’s song ‘Show Me How To Live’ Monday through Spin magazine.  Recorded at Sonic Lounge Studios in Grove City, Ohio, the performance was filmed, directed, and edited by John Payne for Payne Productions.

South of Eden stayed largely true to Audioslave’s original song in its take on ‘How To Live.’  The most noticeable change in SOE’s take is the solo, which takes Tom Morello’s work and steps it up even more.  Front man Ehab Omran’s vocal delivery is such that even Cornell’s fans will find themselves praising his take on the song.  Meanwhile, Tom McCullough (drums) and Nick Frantianne (bass) are just as worthy of their own praise as they take on the work of Brad Wilk and Tim Cummerford in their respective parts.

Courtesy: TAG Publicity/Spin Magazine

The band released a prepared statement explaining its reasoning for covering ‘Show Me How To Live.’

‘I fell in love with ‘Show Me How To Live’ instantly,” the statement reads.  “It’s a very heavy riff, but it grooves at the same time, and that’s why I think Tom Morello is a god for doing all the things he does on the electric guitar.  And obviously Chris Cornell is nothing to pass over at all, may he rest in peace.”

More information on South of Eden’s new cover and EP The Talk is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:






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South of Eden Debuts ‘The Talk’ Video

Courtesy: Lava/Republic Records

South of Eden debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘The Talk’ Tuesday through Rolling Stone magazine.  The song is the title from from the band’s new EP, which was released recently through Lava/Republic Records.

The band discussed the video’s creation in a prepared statement.

“This video ties all the ideas from the record together,” the statement reads in part. “Distorted views, unclear agendas, the masses following along and a sense of unsettling tension. All accompanied by a mixture of emotions, moods and lights. ‘The Talk’ was a lot of fun to shoot and quite a strange experience!”

“The pandemic has changed a lot all over the world, and here in Ohio the laws are very strict on social distancing,” the statement adds. “When it was time to start planning a video, we knew a lot of work and research had to be done to ensure the video came out exactly how we envisioned it and that all of the guidelines were met. Temperature on arrival, masks, social distancing, the whole 9-yards. Kinda hard to read the cameraman’s face when you can’t see it! The craziest part was the director was monitoring on a zoom call from a different state! Everyone did such an awesome job and were so professional about it, it ended being an awesome experience. I’m interested to see what the world looks like when it opens back up again.”

‘The Talk’ is the second single from The Talk.  The band debuted the EP’s lead single ‘Dancing With Fire‘ in July.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘The Talk’ wastes no time grabbing listeners in its opening bars with its up-tempo riff.  That riff gives way to a more reserved nature in the song’s lead verse.  That reserved approach gives way to the noted high energy chorus.  The back and forth of that reserved and more up-tempo sounds ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment from beginning to end of the nearly four-minute song.  What is really interesting to note here is that the classic rock influences of AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses, it also lends itself to comparisons to works from Buckcherry and Alter Bridge.  In other words, the classic rock influences are infused alongside the modern guitar rock influences.  The end result is an arrangement that is a strong start for the album and just one example of why the EP’s musical content is so strong.  The lyrical accompaniment to that musical content adds to the song’s appeal.

Not having a lyrics sheet to reference, the song’s lyrical content is difficult to decipher.  However, from what can be deciphered sans said sheet, it can be inferred (hopefully correctly) that this song is a commentary of sorts about how people say one thing but do something opposite; those people who feed lies to themselves and others.  This is supposed as front man Ehab Omran sings in the song’s chorus about someone who is seemingly rejecting the help that others offer.  He goes so far as to sing in the chorus, “You say you’re trying/But who can tell/When you talk, talk, talk?”  There is even mention in the song’s second verse of “helpful hands/reaching in/everyone tries/But you don’t give in” before he asks again, “What do you want?”  The song’s lead verse adds to the discussion as it addresses someone who in a different situation who doesn’t seem to know what he or she wants.  Again, this interpretation is made wholly sans lyrics to reference.  Hopefully it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Right or wrong, it can at least be agreed that there is a certain commentary going on here.  That in itself is sure to engage listeners while the song’s musical arrangement will entertain them.

The Talk is available to stream and download here.

More information on South of Eden’s new EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:






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