‘The Spongebob Squarepants Movie: Sponge On The Run’ Is Among The Worst Of 2021’s New Movies And The Franchise’s Presentations

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Paramount

Nickelodeon and Paramount’s latest Spongebob Squarepants cinematic offering, Sponge on the Run, is the absolute worst of the franchise’s movie offerings.  Originally planned for big screen release in 2020, those plans were scrapped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It ended up going straight to streaming before being released to Blu-ray and DVD last month.  There is really nothing about this movie that makes it memorable.  Its story is the first of its failings and will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home physical release is just as problematic as the story itself.  It will be discussed a little later.  The movie’s animation style is also problematic and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted shows in its own way what makes this movie so disappointing.  All things considered, they are going to make this movie the most forgettable of the Spongebob Squarepants movies to date.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is hopefully going to be the absolute last of the movies from the series that started as a little show that could so many years ago on Nickelodeon.  There is nothing redeeming about this movie.  The movie’s story is the most glaring of its concerns.  The story, at its heart, is just another story about Plankton trying to steal the Krabby Patty formula from Mr. Krabs.  It essentially plays out as follows:  Plankton’s computer wife, Karen, makes him realize that it has been not Mr. Krabs, but Spongebob who has ultimately prevented Plankton from getting the formula.  So in finally realizing and accepting this, he uses King Poseidon’s hunt for snail slime (which he apparently uses to cure facial issues like lines, bags, etc.) and kidnaps Spongebob’s snail pal Gary and takes him to King Poseidon.  This leads Spongebob and pal Patrick Star to go on a road trip to find Gary.  With Spongebob out of the way, Plankton finally gets the formula, but of course his victory is short-lived.  Mr. Krabs, Sandy, and Squidward eventually go in search of Spongebob and have to save him from an untimely end because Spongebob had tried to save Gary from Poseidon’s grasp.  That final act (and much of the movie) throws in plenty of promotion for the new CG-based Spongebob Squarepants series, Camp Coral.  Keeping all of that in mind, on the one hand, this is just another story about Plankton trying to get the Krabby Patty formula.  It has been the basis of so much of the series’ content on television and in the franchise’s other movies.  On the other hand, it is also clearly a blatant way for Nickelodeon and Paramount to promote the noted series, which completely ignores canon of the original Spongebob Squarepants television series.  Taking all of that into account with the equally unnecessary celebrity cameos (Snoop Dogg, Mickey Rourke, and Keanu Reeves) and the equally unnecessary musical numbers, and what audiences get is a story that felt like it was just tossed together with hope that audiences would overlook it all.  Given, this critic’s 8 year-old son is proof that children will definitely overlook all the noted problems, but adults with any common sense will see all the problems and realize just how dumbed down and awful this presentation becomes overall.

The problematic story at the heart of this movie is just part of its failing.  The bonus content (or really lack thereof) makes the movie even less enjoyable.  Every one of the bonus features in the movie’s home physical release focuses in one way or another on Camp Coral, yet again proving that this movie is ultimately just one big way for Nickelodeon and Paramount to promote that series, which is itself completely forgettable.  There are art segments that show how Spongebob is drawn for that series.  There is also a feature about Spongebob’s Camp Coral pals, and even a “mini-movie” taken from the series.  That those behind this movie’s presentation would even call this feature a “mini-movie” is disappointing.  It is a short.  Even when it is played, it is called a short on screen.  That is a far cry from a mini-movie.  Mini-movie hints that it would be about half the time of the movie, which runs approximately 91 minutes.  This “mini-movie” runs maybe six or seven minutes.  Yet again, this is just so problematic, especially considering that this and the other bonus content clearly is just another blatant marketing means for Camp Coral.  It is just more disappointment for this overall presentation.  It is still not the last of the problems presented in this presentation.  The animation style poses its own problem.

The animation style of Sponge on the Run is full on CG.  It just does not look nearly as wonderful as that rough style used in the series’ infancy.  Given, it is hardly the first time that the franchise’s creative heads have gone this route.  Some of the latest Spongebob TV holiday specials (mainly Halloween and Christmas) have all used their own stop motion/CG hybrid approaches.  The result of those approaches is really appealing in its own way, but the approach taken here is just ugly throughout.  It shows that some things simply should not go the CG route.  That aesthetic element may seem minor on the surface, but the reality is that the look makes it hard in itself to watch.  When the difficulty wanting to keep watching that unappealing look is joined with a story that is just as awful and forgettable, and equally forgettable bonus content, the whole becomes a presentation that is absolutely the worst of the Spongebob Squarepants franchise’s cinematic offerings and one of this year’s worst movies, too.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is the absolute worst entry yet in the Spongebob Squarepants cinematic series.  It does nothing to help build the legacy of the series, which really stopped being enjoyable after its fifth season.  That is proven in large part through its story.  The story is just another tale of another of Plankton’s efforts to steal the Krabby Patty formula.  On a secondary note, it is also a blatant machine for Nickelodeon and Paramount officials to market the new Spongebob Squarepants series, Camp Coral.  That in itself is pathetic.  Add in the fact that Camp Coral does not even stick to canon from the original series, and it makes that aspect even more disappointing and worthy of criticism.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home physical presentation is even more marketing for Camp Coral, making for even more criticism.  It makes it seem even more, that this movie was really just an excuse for Nickelodeon and Paramount officials to market the noted streaming series.  The animation style used in the movie rounds out the most important of this movie’s problems.  Its aesthetic effect makes it just as difficult to watch this movie as the movie’s content.  Each item examined here is important in its way in showing why this movie is so bad.  All things considered, they make Sponge on the Run the worst of the Spongebob Squarepants movies yet and one of this year’s worst movies overall.

The Spongebo Movie: Sponge on the Run is available now on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.  More information on this and all things Spongebob Squarepants is available at:

Website: https://nick.com/shows/spongebob-squarepants  

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/spongebob

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Rebecca Angel’s Debut LP Is A Record That A Targeted Audience Will Love

Courtesy: Timeless Groove Records

Up-and-coming singer Rebecca Angel is scheduled to release her debut album Friday.  Love Life Choices is scheduled for release through Timeless Grooves Records.  The 10-song record is a presentation that will find appeal among a very fixed audience.  That is because it is composed primarily of covers of well-known pop songs.  This is an unorthodox approach to a debut record, but it is an approach that Angel opted to take nonetheless.  It limits the record’s reach, but will still appeal to certain audiences regardless.  The most notable of the covers that Angel tackles in this record is that of ‘Just The Two of Us.’  It will be discussed shortly.  Her take on Bob Marley’s ‘Waiting in Vain’ is another of the most notable of the featured covers.  It will be discussed a little later.  The cover of Sade’s ‘Maureen’ is yet another take that stands out in this collection.  It will also be discussed later.  When these three songs are considered along with the others (and even Angel’s two originals that close out the album), the whole makes the record worth hearing at least once.

Rebecca Angel’s debut album, Love Life Choices is a presentation that at least some audiences will love.  That is even with the record being a covers compilation.  Among the most notable of the record’s covers is that of Bill Withers’ ‘Just The Two of Us.’  Angel’s take on the classic song stays largely true to its source material.  As a matter of fact, it stays so close to the original composition that it holds its own with that timeless tune right down to the subtle guitar line and keyboards.  Angel is to be commended for the path that she and her fellow musicians took on this cover.  Even the saxophone solo from the original is presented here.  Angel’s take on the song stays that close to the original.  To that end, it keeps the song fresh and entertaining for a whole new generation of audiences.

Angel’s cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Waiting in Vain’ is another standout addition to her debut record.  As with her cover of ‘Just The Two of Us,’ this cover also stays largely true to its source material.  Angel maintains the reggae vibe from Marley’s original, which is certain to appeal to a wide range of audiences.  What Angel adds to the mix here is a touch of a lounge vibe because of her vocal delivery.  The specific sound of the drums adds to that sense, too, but thankfully not so much that they doom the cover.  They are used just lightly enough to make the song still a positive take on the song.  The guitar solo is a little bit overdone, too, but again, thankfully does not doom the cover in this case.  All things considered, it is still a cover that is deserving of some praise.

The cover of Sade’s Maureen’ is yet another addition to Angel’s debut record that adds to its success.  As with the other two songs, Angel stays largely true to the song’s source material here.  Angel’s take steps things up a little bit, making it sound like a mix of Sade’s original and something akin to works from Ani DiFranco.  In other words, she gives the song even more of a pop sensibility in her take.  When this cover is considered along with the others examined here, the others featured in the record and even Angel’s original compositions, the whole makes her record a presentation that audiences will find worth hearing at least once.

Rebecca Angel’s debut record Love Life Choices is a presentation that a very targeted audience will love.  That is because the record is composed primarily of cover tunes.  The covers mostly stay true to their source material while also adding the slightest pop touch.  The only cover that really can be said to come up short is her cover of Buffalo Springfield’s ‘For What It’s Worth.’  That cover only does a disservice to the original.  Other than that one point, the rest of the record holds its own.  To that end, the record in whole deserves to be heard at least once.  It is scheduled for release Friday through Timeless Groove Records.  More information on the record is available along with all of Rebecca Angel’s latest news at:

Website: https://Rebeccaangel.net

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rebeccajoangel

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.  

Alive And Burning Is A Good First Live Effort From Alive And Burning

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Glam/Goth metal act Black Veil Brides will release its first-ever live recording this week. The recording, dubbed Alive and Burning, will be released tomorrow, July 10th on DVD and Blu-ray. For those that are fans of the Hollywood, CA-based band its debut live recording proves to be a good first effort. The main element of the recording that fans will appreciate in this concert is its set list. The seventeen song set list lifts from all four of the albums that the band has released since it first formed roughly nine years ago in Ohio’s Queen City. The band’s stage presence is also of note in regards to what fans will like about it. Last but not least worth noting is the concert’s collective audio and video mix. The audio mix by itself is slightly problematic. It is not perfect but still bearable. On the other hand, the work of the camera crew does an expert job of capturing the band’s energy and the effect of that energy of the audience in attendance. The end result of their work is a concert that translates quite well not only that combined energy but also captures the very essence of a BVB live show. For those that are not able to attend a live BVB show for one reason or another, this is very important. So, kudos to the camera crew for that. That having been noted, it is one more reason that BVB fans will enjoy this recording. All things considered, Alive and Burning is not a perfect first live outing for Black Veil Brides. But it is a good one nonetheless. It is one that any of the band’s fans will want to have in their own collections.

Alive and Burning is a good first live effort from Black Veil Brides. The seventeen-song, eighty-two minute concert will entertain any fan of the glam/goth rock band. The set list in question is the primary reason that BVB’s fans will enjoy this recording. The show’s set, which was recorded during a stop on the “Black Mass Tour 2014,” covers all four of the albums that the band has released since originally forming roughly nine years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio. Examining the set list even more closely, fans will be interested to know that not one of the band’s albums is featured more so than any of its others over the course of the concert. All four albums are equally represented throughout the course of the concert. The band even included its cover of Billy Idol’s hit ‘Rebel Yell’ and its original composition ‘Coffins’ that were both included in its 2011 EP Rebels in te show. Simply put BVB fans get a set list in this concert that is both full and fully representative of the band’s career so far. It’s just one reason that BVB’s fans will enjoy this recording. The band’s stage presence throughout the show is another reason that fans will enjoy the show.

The set list pulled for Alive and Burning is in itself plenty of reason for BVB’s fans to check out the band’s new live recording. It covers a relatively healthy swath of the band’s career so far, covering equally all four of its albums and even its currently lone EP. While the set list is pivotal in its own right to fans’ enjoyment of Alive and Burning, one would be thoughtless to ignore the band’s stage presence as part of the recording’s success and enjoyment by fans, too. Fans that weren’t lucky enough to be at the band’s hometown show will be happy to know that the band’s stage presence will keep them rapt. Front man Andy Biersack takes every opportunity to interact with the audience both during and between songs. This includes climbing giant stacks of amps among other things. Guitarists Jake Pitts and Jinx throw back to rhe days of big riffs and even bigger hair with their work on their instruments and teased hair. The pair’s performance, complete with old school glam metal motions, instantly conjures thoughts of Motley Crue, Poison and other well-known names of the 80s. The same applies to bassist Ashley Purdy’s presence. Even drummer Christian “CC” Coma keeps audiences happy with his work behind the kit. All five members’ performances are full of energy and combined they make for a stage presence that translates quite well even to fans watching at home. Being that the band members’ performances translate so well, they show in their own way why they are important in their own right to the success and enjoyment of the recording among BVB’s fans.

Both the set list featured in Alive and Burning and BVB’s stage presence play their own part in making it a recording that the band’s fans will enjoy. While both elements play their own important part in the enjoyment of the show, neither would be worth mentioning without a mention of the recording’s production values. This is where things get just a little bit dicey. The production values, while good, are not perfect. The camera crew is to be highly commended for its work capturing the band’s performance. However, the audio mix is a bit troublesome. Those behind the lenses capture every possible angle of the show both from the stage and from the vantage point of the audience. It is thanks to their painstaking efforts that fans watching the concert in their own homes will find that they have the best seat in the house. What’s more, it is thanks to the camera crew that the energy of the band in its stage presence translates so well. That is because of the pacing and angle of the shots. For all of the quality work put out by the concert’s camera crew, those charged with handling the concert’s audio came up a little bit short. The issue at hand here is that at many points throughout the concert, Biersack is seemingly overpowered by his band mates. There are times at which it even sounds like his mic isn’t even on and he is being picked up by one of his band mates’ mics. It could of course just be this critic’s own take. On the good side, Biersack’s interaction with the audience between songs is much clearer. So why the audio at least seems unbalanced during the songs in comparison to between them is anyone’s guess. Luckily the imbalance isn’t so bad that it ruins the concert. It is bearable. Because it is bearable, it serves to heighten the intensity of the band’s stage presence and the work of the camera crew. The efforts of all involved coupled with the show’s set list more than make up for the seeming issues with the concert’s audio mix and in turn keep Alive and Burning a good first effort from BVB.

Alive and Burning is a good first live effort from BVB. Its career-spanning set list of sorts in itself makes it worth the watch among the band’s fans. The band’s stage presence and the work of the camera crew in capturing the band’s presence work together to provide fans with a show that they will agree makes up for not being there. Even with what seems like some issues of balance in the show’s audio mix, the rest of the concert’s positives more than make up for that one issue. Because they do, they show once more why BVB’s fans shoud see this concert at least once. Alive and Burning will be available in stores and online both on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.faceook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRocknews

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.

Eagle Rock Announces Release Date, Specs For Upcoming Elliot Smith Documentary

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release its latest new music documemtary this summer.

Elliot Smith: Heaven Adores You will be released Friday, July 17th. The documentary examines the life and work of famed singer/songwriter Elliot Smith. It is the first documentary to do so. Smith first rose to fame in the 1990s and early 2000s before his untimely death at the age of 34 in 2003. The documentary mixes together bits and pieces of Smith’s previously unreleased and unfinished songs with a look back at his life and career to paint a picture of a man who was both a genuinely talented musician and yet a troubled soul. Along with the previously unreleased and unfinished songs, the program also features some of Smith’s greatest hits including: ‘Miss Misery,’ ‘Happiness,’ ‘Son of Sam,’ and ‘Waltz #2.’ There is also a bonus performance of ‘Heaven Adores You’ from Aaron Espinoza (vocalist/guitarist for indie rock band Earlimart) included in the program and roughly an hour of interviews with those that contributed to the documentary’s creation. Audiences can check out a trailer for the documentary online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOnImKYMpSs&feature=youtu.be.

Elliot Smith: Heaven Adores You will be available in stores and online Friday, July 17th. It will be available both on DVD and Blu-ray.  the DVD will retail for MSRP of $14.98 and the Blu-ray for $19.98. It can be pre-ordered online now at http://www.myplaydirect.com/elliott-smith. Fans that pre-order the documentary through this website can get it as part of a bundle that also includes a bonus T-Shirt.

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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.

Blackberry Smoke Holds All The Roses Among So Many Other Albums With Its Latest LP

Courtesy:  Rounder Records

Courtesy: Rounder Records

Atlanta, Georgia has been known for decades as one of America’s major hotbeds for musical talent. Much like Austin, Seattle, and Los Angeles it has produced some of the biggest names in the industry over the years. Those names come from nearly every genre of the music world. They include the likes of: Sevendust, Stuck Mojo, Collective Soul, Zac Brown Band, Black Crowes, and so many others. The list goes on and on. It could take days or even weeks to name them all. For the case of this review, the focus is set on the Southern Rock Band Blackberry Smoke. For roughly fifteen years now, the members of Blackberry Smoke–Charlie Starr (vocals/guitar), Richard Turner (bass/vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar/vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards)–have been making music and touring. Of those roughly fifteen years together, Blackberry Smoke has released three full-length albums, the most recent of which–The Whippoorwill–was released on Zac Brown Band’s own Southern Ground Records in 2012. This past February, the band released its fourth full length album titled Holding All The Roses. The album was released via Rounder Records. For those that might not be so familiar with the band’s body of work, Holding All The Roses serves as a good introduction to the band. And it is just as enjoyable for those that are more familiar with its work up to this point. The sound spread across the album’s dozen tracks shows influences from some of the greatest southern rock bands of the 20th Century including: The Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Crowes, Doobie Brothers, and others of that ilk. While the influence of said bands is there from start to finish on this record, Blackberry Smoke still maintains its own identity in each song. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door).’ The same can be said of the album’s title track and the somewhat sexually charged ‘Rock and Roll Again.’ These three works in themselves more than exemplify what makes Holding All The Roses such a joy. By themselves they are just a minute fraction of what makes it such an enjoyable record, too. There are nine other tracks from which audiences will find their own favorite(s) on this record. Those songs, coupled with the trio noted here, prove Holding All The Roses in the end to be one of the best new rock and country records of 2015.

Blackberry Smoke’s fourth full length album Holding All The Roses is one of this year’s best new rock and country records. There are some issues here and there throughout the record in terms of its production values. But they are not enough to make HATR unworthy of being heard. From the album’s opener to its end, the songs that make up this album make it one of those rare records that audiences will actually want to listen to without skipping even one song. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door).’ On the song’s musical side, audiences will hear a clear influence from famed classic rock band Black Crowes throughout the song. It could even be argued that the song’s bridge, which features quite the guitar solo, bears a rather noticeable Lynyrd Skynyrd influence. Lyrically, it offers audiences just as much of a punch with front man Charlie Starr seemingly addressing certain types who simply don’t want to change their ways. Whether it be those musical acts that refuse to change and those that push said albums or the sheep that give in to everything that is fed to them whether in terms of music, politics, etc.–as front man Charlie Starr sings about in both the song’s first and second verse– it is a clear statement that hits quite a few chords, no pun intended. One could even argue that it even indirectly addresses those audiences that expected this album to be just like the band’s previous released. As Starr sings in the song’s opening verse, “Why’s it got to be the same damn thing/Same damn song and everybody wants to sing/Same sons of b****** still riggin’ the game/They sell the same old faces with brand new names/No matter if I’m wrong or right/I ain’t losin’ sleep tonight/I’ve heard it all before/I can’t take it anymore/If that’s all you got/Let me help you find the door.” The song’s second verse seems to address those sheep that believe everything that is fed to them, from music to news, to politics and more with Starr singing, “Here we go diggin’ the same damn ditch/Just line ’em up/Can’t tell you which one’s which/Standin’ in the back with a s***-eating grin/They were buyin’ it once/I bet they’ll buy it again.” Starr hits on so many subjects with so few words in this song. And he hits the nail right on the head, too. It’s a sharp, yet in an odd way, slightly lighthearted indictment of said subjects that ironically will in fact have Blackberry Smoke’s own fans singing along. One can only hope that in singing along, the band’s own fans will catch the message being presented by Starr and his band mates here rather than just taking the song for its musical side. Those that take both the song’s musical and lyrical side into full consideration will agree just how important it is both in itself and to the album in whole.

‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door) is a solid opener for Blackberry Smoke’s latest full-length record. Its statement urging people and bands who refuse to change to go away is sharp yet witty at the same time. And it ironically will have the band’s own fans singing along every time. One can only hope that said fans will catch the message embedded within the song and take it to heart in catching it. Those fans that do catch the message in question, coupled with the song’s infectious musical side will agree that it is just one part of the whole that makes HATR one of this year’s best new rock and country records. The album’s title track is just as important to the whole of the record. Much like the album’s opener, it boasts its own classic rock influences yet still continues to maintain the band’s own identity, too. The song’s driving, 2/4 tempo will instantly have audiences dancing and clapping along. Having hooked audiences with it musical side, Starr and company–Richard Turner (bass, vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards) make just as powerful a statement with the song’s lyrical side. Starr sings in the song’s first verse about a subject overcoming all of his or her odds and coming out on top, fittingly “holding all the roses” just as a winner would. Starr Sings, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost/I don’t think it’s even gonna be close/Your rabbit’s foot and your four-leaf clover/Throw them all away and start all over/Here I am see me coming around/Swinging out wide with the hammer down/There I go watch me leave you behind/Holding all the roses on the other side.” The subject here is addressing those that called the odds against him or her, proving all those people wrong as he or she holds the proverbial roses of a winner. Speaking of those odds, Starr goes on to sing of overcoming the odds as he sings, “The odds against me were 20 to 1/Carry that weight like it weighs a ton/Ain’t no luck in a gasoline rainbow/Come on, drop that rag/Away we go.” He comes across as saying his subject is using the weight of those odds as motivation to keep pushing on to the very end. Such lyrics are words that will reach so many listeners and potentially have quite the impact. It will leave listeners saying if Starr’s subject can press on against all odds then so can the band’s fans. The song’s driving musical side added to the mix, the song in whole shows once more exactly why it is one more enjoyable and equally important part of the whole that leaves Holding All The Roses in fact holding all the roses on any critic’s list come year’s end.

For all of the seriousness of HATR’s opener and its title track, Blackberry Smoke isn’t all work and no play on its new album. It also boasts some fun moments, too. One example of that lies in the song ‘Rock and Roll Again.’ The song’s musical side shows obvious influence from The Marshall Tucker Band, The Allman Brothers Band and others of that ilk yet once again maintain’s Blackberry Smoke’s own identity along the way. Lyrically, it will put just as much of a smile on listeners’ faces as the music alone. Starr sings about a woman who definitely gets the subject going in all the right ways so to speak. He writes of said woman, “She knows me well and never fails/She knows just how to put the wind back in my sails/She’s got the key to set me free/It’s just so easy to see/The way she makes me rock and roll again/Put the dirty in my mind again/Ain’t nothin’ to it/But she pulls me back in/My baby made me rock and roll again/Yes, she made me rock and roll again.” The rest of the song goes on in much the same fashion, lyrically speaking, with Starr noting of that same woman putting a swagger back in the subject’s step, and gets him moving. The song’s musical side boasts its own swagger, which perfectly complements Starr’s lyrics. Both sides of the song taken into full consideration, they show that Blackberry Smoke can be just as fun as it can be serious. Because of this, it proves to be one more example of what makes HATR such an enjoyable work for every rock and country fan. Taken into consideration with the likes of the album’s title track, its opener, and those pieces not noted here, it proves to be one more piece of an album that again, holds all of its own roses among the masses so far this year.

Blackberry Smoke is currently touring in support of HATR. It is in the last leg of the North American leg of its tour, which wraps up May 24th in Monteagle, Tennessee. The band will take a few days off to rest and recharge after before heading overseas for the European leg of its tour, which kicks off May 29th in Munchen, Germany. After finishing off that leg, the band will return stateside again on June 19th in Alpharetta, Georgia. Fans will be able to pick up HATR at any of the band’s upcoming live dates. In hearing the band live and on its new album, audiences that haven’t yet heard the band’s music will agree, too that HATR more than deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock and country albums come December. Fans can check out Blackberry Smoke’s latest tour dates online now, along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://blackberrysmoke.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/blackberrysmoke

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.

Teenage Bottlerocket Premieres New Video, Announces New Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Rise Records

Courtesy: Rise Records

Punk rock band Teenage Bottlerocket premiered the video for its latest single ‘They Call Me Steve’ this week. The video can be viewed online right now via the band’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqLAkjRyiJU. It boasts an old school computer generated look that will have audiences laughing just as hard as its nonsensical lyrics. The song is taken from TBR’s latest upcoming album–its eighth full length studio effort–Tales From Wyoming.

Courtesy:  Rise Records

Courtesy: Rise Records

Along with the debut of its new video, Teenage Bottlerocket also announced this week a new slate of headlining tour dates that kicks off May 29th and runs through June 24th. The Copyrights will open for TBR on a handful of dates with Pears coming on board as a supporting act from March 31st to April 10th. Currently, Teenage Bottlerocket is on tour alongside fellow punk rock bands Pennywise and A Wilhelm Scream. That tour includes a performance at the Drunk Horse Pub in Asheville, NC on March 31st. The band’s current tour schedule is listed in full below:

Tour Dates:

(Through March 30 w/ Pennywise and A Wilhelm Scream)

Mar 19 Metro Chicago, IL

Mar 20 St Andrews Hall Detroit, MI

Mar 21 Danforth Music Hall Toronto, Canada

Mar 22 Now That’s Class Cleveland, OH

Mar 24 Middle East Downstairs Cambridge, MA

Mar 25 Bogie’s Albany, NY

Mar 26 Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ

Mar 27 Irving Plaza New York, NY

Mar 28 Trocadero Philadelphia, PA

Mar 29 The Filmore Silver Spring, MD

Mar 30 PEABODYS Virginia Beach, VA

(Headline Dates w/ Pears)

Mar 31 Drunk Horse Pub @Mickey’s Fayetteville, NC

Apr 01 Loosey’s Gainesville, FL

Apr 02 Local 662 St Petersburg, FL

Apr 03 Respectable Street West Palm Beach, FL

Apr 04 Will’s Pub Orlando, FL

Apr 05 Syndicate Lounge Birmingham, AL

Apr 06 Exit/In Nashville, TN

Apr 07 The Demo St Louis, MO

Apr 08 RECORD BAR Kansas City, MO

Apr 09 Triple Nickle Colorado Springs, CO

Apr 10 Aggie Theater Fort Collins, CO

European Dates

Apr 24 Club Vaudeville Lindau, Germany

Apr 25 Loudfest at Komplex Zurich, Switzerland

Apr 26 Honky Tonky Milan, Italy

Apr 27 Warmaudio Lyon, France

Apr 28 Batofar Paris, France

Apr 29 Ekko Wieldrecht, Netherlands

Apr 30 Uncle M Festival 2015 Munster, Germany

May 01 Tube Düsseldorf, Germany

May 02 Groezrock Meerhout, Belgium

May 03 Iduna Drachten, Netherlands

May 04 Lux Hannover, Germany

May 05 Beta Copenhagen, Denmark

May 06 Pirate Satellite Festival Hamburg, Germany

May 07 Pirate Satellite Festival Berlin, Germany

May 08 Pirate Satellite Festival Wiesbaden, Germany

May 09 Pirate Satellite Festival Stuttgart, Germany

May 10 Pirate Satellite Festival Munich, Germany

May 15 Pouzza Fest 2015 Montreal, Canada

(New Headline Dates w/ The Copyrights)

May 29 Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock

May 30 Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory

May 31 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar

Jun 2 San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill

Jun 3 Los Angeles, CA – Los Globas

Jun 4 Orangevale, CA – Ace of Spades

Jun 5 Portland, OR – Analog Cafe

Jun 6 Seattle, WA – El Corazon

Jun 7 Vancouver, WA – Venue

Jun 9. Edmonton, AB – The Pawn Shop

Jun 10 Calgary, AN – Ship and Anchor

Jun 11 Regina, SK – McNallys Tavern

Jun 12 Saskatoon, SK – Amigo’s Cantina

Jun 13 Winnipeg, MB – The WIndsor Hotel

Jun 15 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club

Jun 16 Milwaukee, WI

Jun 17 Oklahoma, OK – The Conservatory

Jun 19 Dallas, TX – Three Links

Jun 20 Austin, TX – Red Seven (Inside)

Jun 21 Corpus Christi, TX – House Of Rock

Tales From Wyoming will be available Tuesday, March 31st via Rise Records. It was recorded by Bill Stevenson (Rise Against, Descendants, Alkaline Trio, Hot Water Music) and can be pre-ordered online now via MerchNow and iTunes. More information on Tales From Wyoming is available online along with all of the latest news and tour updates from the band at:

Website: http://www.teenagebottlerocket.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/teenbottlerock

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.

Datsik Announces Additions To Schedule For Upcoming “Ninja Nation Tour”

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR


Dubstep artist Datsik announced last week new additions to his current “Ninja Nation Tour.”

Datsik announced additional dates in Chattanooga, TN, Urbana, IL, Iowa City, IA, Lincoln, NE, Milwaukee, WI, San Diego, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Riverside, CA, Asheville, NC, Raleigh, NC and Murfreesboro, TN. The tour kicks off Thursday, January 22nd at the House of Blues in Boston, MA. It is in support of Datsik’s recently released EP Down 4 My Ninjas. Audiences can stream the EP now online via Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/datsik/sets/down-4-my-ninjas-d4mn. It should be noted that there is some explicit language in some of the music. So listener discretion is advised.

ETC! ETC!, Kennedy Jones, Trolley Snatcha, Truth, Barely Alive, Bear Grillz, Fox Stevenson and Twine have all been tapped to join Datsik as special guests on select dates throughout his tour. Loudpvck will also be on the bill beginning with the tour’s opening night performance. From there Loudpvck will serve as support act in Washington, D.C. on February 6th and in New York City on January 24th.

The current listing of dates for the “Ninja Nation Tour” is noted below.

Dates for DATSIK’s Ninja Nation Tour thus far are:

Thu 1/22 Boston, MA House of Blues
Fri 1/23 Montreal, QC Metropolis
Sat 1/24 New York City, NY Terminal 5
Sun 1/25 Burlington, VT Higher Ground
Wed 1/28 Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom
Thu 1/29 Syracuse, NY F Shed at The Market
Fri 1/30 Hartford, CT The Dome
Sat 1/31 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
Wed 2/4 Knoxville, TN The International
Thu 2/5 Norfolk, VA Norva
Fri 2/6 Washington, DC Echostage
Sat 2/7 Richmond, VA National
Sun 2/8 Pittsburgh, PA The Altar Bar
Mon 2/9 Pittsburgh, PA The Altar Bar
Wed 2/11 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
Thu 2/12 Cincinnati, OH Bogart’s
Fri 2/13 Atlanta, GA Opera
Sat 2/14 Detroit, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre
Tue 2/17 Chattanooga, TN Track 29
Wed 2/18 Urbana, IL Canopy Club
Thu 2/19 Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room
Fri 2/20 Chicago, IL Concord
Sat 2/21 Chicago, IL Concord
Tue 2/24 Iowa City, IA Blue Moose
Wed 2/25 Lincoln, NE Bourbon Theatre
Thu 2/26 Milwaukee, WI Miramar Theatre
Wed 3/4 Aspen, CO Belly Up
Thu 3/5 Grand Junction, CO Mesa Theater
Fri 3/6 Denver, CO Ogden
Sat 3/7 Denver, CO Ogden
Wed 3/11 San Diego, CA Soma
Thu 3/12 Los Angeles, CA Exchange
Fri 3/13 Riverside, CA Riverside Auditorium
Sat 3/14 San Francisco, CA Warfield
Sun 3/15 Reno, NV The Knitting Factory
Wed 3/18 Victoria, BC Distrikt
Thu 3/19 Edmonton, AB Encore
Fri 3/20 Vancouver, BC Commodore
Sat 3/21 Calgary, AB Flames Central
Fri 3/27 Seattle, WA Showbox Sodo
Sat 3/28 Portland, OR Roseland Ballroom
Wed 4/1 Lubbock, TX Wild West
Thu 4/2 San Marcos, TX The Marc
Fri 4/3 Houston, TX Stereo Live
Sat 4/4 El Paso, TX Tricky Falls
Wed 4/8 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
Thu 4/9 Raleigh, NC The Ritz
Fri 4/10 Charlotte, NC Fillmore
Sat 4/11 Murfreesboro, TN Tempt

Audiences can join Datsik’s fanclub online now at http://www.datsikninjas.com/. Once there, audiences can purchase a limited number of specialty-priced $20 tickets to the “Ninja Nation Tour.” Fans can also win special prizes after joining Datsik’s fan club and get in on all the events going on around each show. Tickets to the shows are available online now at http://datsik.com/tour/.

More information on Datsik’s upcoming “Ninja Nation Tour” and all of the latest updates from Datsik is available online at:

Website: http://www.datsik.ca

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/datsik

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/djdatsik

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.