The Dead Daisies’ New LP Is A “Rock Solid” Record

Courtesy: SPV

Courtesy: SPV

It’s official.  There’s another new contender for the title of one of the year’s top new rock records.  The band’s name: The Dead Daisies.  The band’s album: Make Some Noise.  While the band’s name makes it sound like some dark, goth-rock act, the truth is that it is anything but.  It is a super group of sorts whose album, just as with Foghat’s new album Under The Influence, exhibits everything that is right with rock and roll.  It reminds listeners through both its musical arrangements and lyrical content that thankfully, there is still hope for real rock and roll even in the 21st century.  The album’s adrenaline-fueled opener ‘Long way To Go’ clearly exhibits that.  The same can be said of the album’s titles track and its cover of John Fogerty’s ‘Fortunate Son.’  All three songs show in their own way why this record gives hope for real rock and roll in the 21st century.  They are hardly the only songs presented in the album that could be cited in proving this.  There are nine other songs that could just as easily be used to prove that statement.  All things considered the album in whole is a *ahem* rock solid record that, again, gives full hope for the future of rock in the 21st century.

The Dead Daisies’ latest full length studio offering Make Some Noise is a record that will have listeners making noise of their own after hearing it.  That is because over the course of its twelve total tracks, it reminds listeners that thankfully there is still hope for the future of real rock in the 21st century.  The album’s opener is a clear example of why the album gives such strong hope.  That is exhibited both in the song’s musical arrangement and its lyrical content.  The song’s musical arrangement is a full-throttle, no-nonsense, guitar-driven rock and roll composition that conjures thoughts of AC/DC, and so many other pure rock and roll acts.  The catch is that even with those thoughts in mind, the song manages to maintain its own identity separate from those bands.  This makes the song all the more enjoyable.  It is just part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as its musical makeup.  The song’s lyrical content is a clearly socially conscious statement that addresses the unrest in the world today.  That is clear as front man John Corabi (ex-Motley Crue) sings, “There’s something going down on the streets right now/There’s hate in the air/We’re upside down/Guns and bombs/Blood on the floor/We’re killing ourselves and there ain’t no cure/Maybe tomorrow/Maybe today/No more enemies…Just more suffering.”  From here he and his band mates—Doug Aldrich (guitar), Marco Mendoza (bass), Bran Tichy (drums), and Davi Lowy (guitar)—drive home the song’s message in its chorus as they sing, “We’ve got a long way to go/And no time to get there/One step forward two steps back/There ain’t nobody to blame.”  The message is just as clear in the song’s second verse as Corabi sings, “Something’s going on/Times are changin’/Movin’ too fast/We’re all going crazy/Black man, white man…in the name of love open your eyes.”  The message is clear.  People have got to stand up and join together, not stand against one another.  We have got to overcome all of the violence and hate that are filling the world.  It is a wonderful message.  Given it’s hardly the first time that a band has ever presented that message.  The thing is that it is a message that the world needs to hear whether from The Dead Daisies or another band.  What’s more the fact that Corabi and company presented the message in such a straight-forward, blue-collar fashion makes it all the more important to note.  It isn’t presented in some overly philosophical fashion (as has been done by some bands) or even in any militant fashion either (as with certain other acts).  Audiences familiar with their music history will understand those references. It just puts the message out there: we have got to stand together against all of this negativity in the world.”  The band uses the same blue-collar rock and roll approach in the song’s musical arrangement, which adds even more to the message’s impact.  When the two elements are joined together as one, they work to show in whole just what makes the song (and the album in whole) such an impressive new offering from The Dead Daisies.  Audiences can see the song’s official video online now here.  It is just one of the songs presented in this album that makes the record so impressive.  The album’s title track is another clear example of what makes this record such a strong new offering from the band.

‘Long Way To Go’ is in itself an impressive inclusion in The Dead Daisies’ new album.  It is an impressive composition in itself.  That is evident both in its musical arrangement and its socially conscious lyrical content.  The band’s blue-collar approach to both makes the song both a strong start for the band on its new album and a clear example of what makes the album in whole stand out.  It is just one of the songs included in the album that makes it stand out.  The album’s title track is yet another of the album’s most notable compositions.  It stands out because it is, plain and simple, a hard rocking, fist-pumping, arena rock song.  It is the polar opposite of the album’s opener.  The song’s musical arrangement is much slower in terms of its tempo than that of ‘Long Way To Go.’  And even despite that it still hits hard thanks to the work of Tichy and Aldrich.  Tichy forms the song’s musical foundation with his work behind the kit and Aldrich builds on that solid foundation with his simple yet so fun guitar line.  Mendoza’s low end expertly compliments their work.  All three lines join together to instantly make the song’s musical arrangement infectious and a song that is sure to be a fan favorite at the band’s live shows, even as short as it is (it clocks in at just under three-minutes).  The song’s lyrical content shows even more why the song stands out so clearly among the album’s other offerings.  That is because of its simplicity.  Corabi sings here, “Everybody stand/Get outta your chair/Lemme hear your sound/Put your hands in the air/Everybody on the left/Everybody on the right/Don’t hold back/Get crazy all night/Make some noise/Make it louder/Make some noise/Everybody now.”  Corabi goes on in similar fashion throughout the rest of the song, encouraging audiences to turn up the volume and just let loose.  No doubt they will, too.  That is regardless of whether audiences are listening in their cars, at home, or at the band’s live show.  It will leave listeners pumping their firsts in the air (and their horns) all the while with a wide smile on their faces.  Between that and the song’s musical arrangement, the song gives listeners plenty to enjoy.  When the pair is coupled it shows with full clarity why it is another important addition to the album’s whole and why the album in whole is an impressive new effort from The Dead Daisies.  It still is not the album’s only remaining standout composition either.  The band’s take on John Fogerty’s famed protest song ‘Fortunate Son’ is just as notable as the album’s title song and its opener.

‘Long Way To Go’ and ‘Make Some Noise’ are both key inclusions in The Dead Daisies’ new album Make Some Noise.  That is made clear both in the songs’ musical arrangements and their lyrical content.  The songs’ musical arrangements are both pure rock and roll compositions.  There’s pretense to either arrangement.  Nor does either one aim low.  Rather each song presents the band giving its best and its all.  The songs’ lyrical content shows just as much thought put into the record.  One song presents an important message about unity that, just as with the songs’ musical arrangements, lacks any pretense in doing so.  The other is the polar opposite, giving listeners a clear taste of a live Dead Daisies show.  Its approach is just as simple as that used in the message in ‘Long Way To Go.’  Both songs show in their own way what makes them stand out among their counterparts.  They also serve to show (both by themselves and together) what makes the album in whole such an impressive new effort from the band.  They are not the only songs that serve this end.  The band’s cover of John Fogerty’s famed protest song ‘Fortunate Son’ stands out just as much as those songs and the rest of the album’s compositions.  The band’s take is hardly the first time that a band has tackled the song.  What is important to note is that despite that, it is one of the better renditions of said song.  That is due in large part to the band’s approach to the song’s musical arrangement.  The band maintains the song’s original identity in its take on the song at the same time given the song its own extra touch.  The band does that through the use of its familiar no-nonsense rock and roll approach.  In essence the band takes Fogerty’s original tune and steps it up even more here with its own take on the song.  The end result is a song that is right up there with Dave Grohl’s take on the song (which was included in Fogerty’s 2013 album Wrote A Song For Everyone and Dropkick Murphy’s take on the song included in its 2005 compilation Singles Collection: Volume 2.  Keeping this in mind, it is just one more song that exemplifies what makes Make Some Noise another impressive effort from The Dead Daisies.  It is, again, not the only remaining song included in this record that could be used to show what makes the album so enjoyable.  ‘Song and a Prayer’ will take listeners back to the late 80s ad early 90s, when guitar rock was still king. ‘Last Time I Saw The Sun’ is a work that Buckcherry fans will appreciate. And ‘All The Same’ conjures thoughts of Sammy Hagar (both as a solo artist and with Van Halen).  They are just a few more songs include in this record that make it so enjoyable.  Whether for those songs, the songs more directly addressed here, or any of the album’s other compositions, listeners will agree that the album in whole is a *ahem* rock solid record and yet another clear candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.

The Dead Daisies’ new album Make Some Noise is a record that is certain to leave listeners making their own noise about it after listening through each of its twelve total songs.  That is because collectively they reassure listeners that even in the 21st century there is still hope for real, guitar-driven rock and roll.  The album’s socially conscious yet blue-collar opener clearly proves this. The confident arena rocker that is the album’s title track proves it just as much.  The same can be said of the band’s cover of John Fogerty’s ‘Fortnute Son.’  The song maintains the original song’s identity while adding a great additional touch through the band’s arrangement of the timeless tune.  These are just a few of the songs that show why Make Some Noise will leave listeners making their own noise about the record.  When they are set against the rest of the album’s songs, the album in whole proves, again, to be a “rock solid” record and another clear candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Make Some Noise is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://thedeaddaisies.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheDeadDaisies

 

 

 

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Concert For Ronnie Montrose Is As Good As Any Major Label’s Live Recordings

Courtesy:  RoMoCo

Courtesy: RoMoCo

2013 has seen quite the surplus of live concert recordings.  Bands the likes of Jane’s Addiction, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and so many others have been released to the masses.  Each of those live recordings has proven to be exceptional in its own way.  These recordings will be seen by countless audiences thanks to being released via some of the music industry’s biggest labels. It doesn’t mean that they’re the only live recordings to hit the market this year.  One independently recorded and released live concert event that deserves just as much coverage as those aforementioned recordings is the Concert for Ronnie Montrose.  Recorded April 27th, 2012 at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, California, this live concert event will impress anyone that is a fan of true, pure, guitar-driven rock and roll.  This applies to even those that might not be so familiar with the work of Ronnie Montrose.  There is much to like about this new live recording.  The most obvious of factors is the concert’s audio and video mix.  For a show that was independently recorded and released, it looks and sounds surprisingly good.  The show’s set list and guest lineup collectively make up another of the reasons to check out this concert.  And while it is something relatively subtle, those charged with finalizing the concert included names and titles for each artist on each song.  For those that might be unfamiliar with the artists, this inclusion will help to introduce the artists to said new audiences when they look up each name.  In turn, it could open audiences’ eyes and ears to a whole new world of music.  Together with the aforementioned factors, the Concert For Ronnie Montrose proves to be just as enjoyable as any live recording released by the industry’s major labels.

The Concert for Ronnie Montrose is an independently recorded and released live concert event.  The automatic thought that might be raised in some audiences’ minds upon reading this is that it probably doesn’t match up with the live recordings released by the record industry’s major labels.  That belief could not be any more wrong.  The reality of this concert recording is that it looks and sounds just as good as any of the countless other live recordings released on said labels already in 2013. The camera crews charged with capturing the concert expertly carried out their duties.  Home viewers get the best seat in the house.  They are taken right on stage with the musicians and even above the crowd to see the full extent of the audience in attendance.  Seeing how packed the house was on the night of April 27th, 2012 just goes to show that while Ronnie Montrose might never have been one of the biggest names in the industry, he was and still is one of the most respected individuals to pick up a guitar. It is truly a telling statement, and one that any Ronnie Montrose fan will appreciate when they watch this concert for themselves.

The Concert for Ronnie Montrose was captured just as expertly on video as any live recording released via the industry’s major labels.  It is crystal clear.  And the camera work itself is just as impressive.  Having examined the recording’s high-quality video, the next logical step is to examine its audio mix.  Having been recorded in the semi-intimate setting of San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, it goes without saying that it was extremely important that the audio be perfect.  Those that are more familiar with the science of acoustics will appreciate the painstaking efforts taken to ensure that the concert’s sound was on par with any major live recording.     Not one of the guitarists overpowered the other at any point throughout the evening.  And none of the musicians overpowered their fellow guest vocalists, either.  That set alongside the equally top notch camera work and video editing serve as the foundation for a concert recording that proves in the long run to be just as good as any of the year’s major concert recordings.

The audio and video mixes in the Concert for Ronnie Montrose collectively make for a solid foundation for this recording.  Having examined both, the next logical step in examining the presentation is to look at the collective set list and the guest lineup.  The set list that comprises this tribute concert spans the late guitarist’s rich career before his passing.  From his days with the Edgar Winter Group to his work with the band that bore his name to his solo career, this concert is front loaded with more than its share of great music.  Even audiences that might perhaps be less familiar with Montrose’s work will likely recognize the Edgar Winter Group’s hit songs ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Free Ride’ and the cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Connection.’  What’s more, those that might be fans of Dream Theater will hear quite the similarity between the concert’s opener, ‘Overture’ and certain work by Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci on the first of Liquid Tension Experiment’s two records.  Petrucci wasn’t one of the artists on hand at the Concert for Ronnie Montrose.  However, some equally big names were in attendance. And their presence is sure to impress audiences just as much as the show’s set list.

The lineup of artists on hand to pay tribute to Ronnie Montrose is just as eye-opening as the show’s set list.  Classic rock fans will recognize former Journey band mates Steve Smith and Neal Schon and Tesla front man Jeff Keith.  Also on hand were two equally big names in the form of Montrose’s former band mate and friend Sammy Hagar (Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot) and world renowned guitarist Joe Satriani (Chickenfoot).  Hagar and Montrose’s fellow former band mates were on hand for the concert, too.  Anyone that was a fan of the band in its heyday will appreciate seeing its members back together if only for a one off show.  If the set list that makes up the show isn’t enough for audiences, then this megastar lineup of artists is certain to convince audiences to check out this recording.

So much has already been noted as to what makes the Concert for Ronnie Montrose such a joy of a live recording, even having been recorded and released independently.  There is still one factor in the recording to examine.  It is a subtle, yet important factor to examine.  It is the inclusion of what is called “supers” (or superimposed images) highlighting the names and titles of each musician to take the stage throughout the concert.  Their inclusion is important for those that might happen to be new to each musician.  The names and titles are placed right in front of each musician.  This allows audiences to directly link a name with a face.  Audiences that are less familiar with said artists can in turn link the names and faces when looking up information on each one online or otherwise.  The latent effect of all of this is the potential introduction of a whole new world of music to new audiences.  For that alone, those charged with making sure the supers matched with each artist deserve their own round of applause.  And together with the camera crews, sound editors, and performers themselves, it all comes together to make the Concert for Ronnie Montrose a concert that any purist rock and roll fan will appreciate no less with each watch.  It is available now and can be ordered online at http://www.ronniemontrose.com/merchandise/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=238.  More information on this and all things Ronnie Montrose is available via the official Ronnie Montrose website, http://www.ronniemontrose.com.  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.

Sullivan’s Star Keeps Rising On His Latest Release

Courtesy:  Superstar Records/merlis for hire

Courtesy: Superstar Records/merlis for hire

Blues guitarist Quinn Sullivan is not even eighteen years old.  But even at roughly the tender age of fourteen, this young musician has achieved things of which other musicians his age can only dream.  The young man was personally tapped by blues legend Buddy Guy as one of the next big names in the world of blues.  And if his new record, Getting There is any indication, the title bestowed on him by Guy might well be deserved.  That is as long as he sticks primarily to playing more blues-related material rather than some of the more poppy material included in this record.  That he is dealing puberty can be forgiven in terms of his vocals.  Once he gets through this stage of his life, his vocals may in fact become just as strong as his guitar playing.  And if that happens, fans of the blues may hear even more from him.

Sullivan hints at his abilities in the first two songs on Getting There.  But it’s in the album’s title track that he really shines both musically and vocally.  The talent that he exhibits here is kind of musicianship not generally expected of someone his age.  So to hear the sounds produced by this young man is impressive to say the least.  Just as impressive is Sullivan’s vocal style and the song’s lyrics.  Instead of being sort of a Johnny Cash tribute, he sings instead that no, he hasn’t been everywhere.  But he is getting there.  He sings about having gone to this place and that, but knowing he hadn’t been everywhere; though he’s working on it.  He sings, “No I ain’t been everywhere/But I’m getting there/No, not yet/But I’m working on it.”  The subtle way that last part is added in gives the song just a little more attitude.  That extra little attitude will have any listener laughing to themselves because while it is noted in a cocky sense, it isn’t an overly cocky tone.  It’s almost as if he’s saying, I know I haven’t gotten there, but I know I will be.  It shows that he’s only a teenager, but he’s already getting the confidence of a seasoned veteran musician.

Another moment on this record in which Sullivan really shines comes in ‘Mr. Gloom.’  This is another solid twelve-bar blues style piece that allowed him to exhibit both his talent on the guitar and with his vocals.  There are some runs that he hits on his guitar that could almost rival the talents of Stevie Ray Vaughan or perhaps Kenny Wayne Shepherd.  Vocally, he is obviously going through puberty.  But there’s a certain quality about his vocals that conjures thoughts of Johnny Lang.  One can only wonder what his vocals will sound like once he passes puberty and gets older.  If this song is any indication, he will definitely have some very strong vocals. 

‘Mr. Gloom’ and ‘Getting There’ are just a couple examples of Sullivan’s abilities on this new record.  There are many more from which listeners will get to choose.  One of those others is ‘Cyclone.’  What makes this song so interesting is yet again he exhibits quite the ability on his instrument in the song’s “A” section.  The somewhat chromatic runs by Sullivan, and the solid timekeeping of his drummer conjure thoughts of Van Halen’s ‘Hot For Teacher’ in the song’s “A” section.  Give it’s not as hard as the aforementioned song.  But there is at least some similarity, interestingly enough.  So not only does Sullivan get to shine on this album, so do his band mates.  And this is just one example of that.  There are other tracks that exhibit his band mates’ talents.  All combined, they make Getting There a record that given the right support the record that breaks out this young musician and in fact proves him to be the face of the next generation of the blues.  Getting There will be available June 18th.  To get the latest news on his new album, live dates, news and more, audiences can “Like” him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/QuinnSullivanMusic.  They can also follow the latest news and more from Quinn on his official website, http://www.quinnsullivanmusic.com

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Satriani Proves He’s Still Got Plenty Of “Momentum” On New LP

Courtesy:  Epic Records/RED Distribution

Courtesy: Epic Records/RED Distribution

Joe Satriani’s latest release, Unstoppable Momentum is the famed guitarist’s best release since his 2006 album, Super Colossal.  This new record is the album that fans have waited for since the release of Super Colossal.  It is just as bombastic as Super Colossal and more at some points.  It’s also just as gentle as SC, too at different points.  Perhaps a big reason for the success of this record is the Satch opted for a different backing group than he typically uses on his records.  Many of Satriani’s past records were recorded with Jeff Campitelli on drums and Allen Whitman on bass.  This time out, Satch opted instead to have drummer Vinnie Colaiuta man the kit and Chris Chaney add the low end on bass.  Another change to the lineup that could have created such a difference on this record from his other works was the inclusion of Mike Frasier behind the glass once again.  The two are quite familiar with one another, having worked together on no less than six of Satch’s previous records, including his most recent album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards (2010) and Super Colossal.  He also helped with the creation of both of Chickenfoot’s current releases on which Joe played guitar.  That familiarity and friendship between the pair—and the inclusion of new musicians–obviously played a role in the record’s sound as it has proven to be not just his best record since Super Colossal, but one of his finest records to date.

Right from the opening number of Unstoppable Momentum, long-time fans of Satriani’s work know they are in for quite a ride.  The album opens fittingly with its title track.  Simply listening to the song, one can’t help but hear that perhaps Satriani is making a statement early on that even fourteen albums in, he still has a lot left to offer audiences.  He still has that “unstoppable momentum.”  The song’s seeming ABA structure starts off easy before really kicking things up in the middle section.  Joe shows without a doubt that he’s still got plenty left in the tank with his “solos” in this section while drummer Vinnie Colaiuta gives an added intensity with his musicianship behind the kit.  He proves to be just as solid as [Jeff] Campitelli, if not more so.  His ability to handle polyrhythmic patters without missing a single beat is impressive to say the least, both here and throughout the record.  This is just one example of what makes this such a solid record.

Another good example of what makes Unstoppable Momentum a success is the almost Beatles-esque, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cabin.’  The song’s “A” sections have something of a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club influence.  Somehow, Satriani and his band mates manage to tie in a sound that is quite the counterpoint to this vibe, making the song into a piece unlike anything that Satriani has ever recorded throughout his career.  It is one of those songs that simply must be heard to be appreciated and understood.      

There is at least one more example of what makes this new record one that fans will enjoy.  And it is the album’s absolutely shortest, but most touching piece.  That song is the one minute and forty-three minute long, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cairn.’  For those that don’t know, one of the traditional uses of a cairn is as a monument to one who has passed on.  Its use roots all the way back to prehistoric Eurasia.  So placing a stone on one’s cairn would be an act of tribute and remembrance to the deceased.  Keeping all of this in mind, the gentle, dulcet tones of this short opus are sure to create thoughts in the minds of listeners of perhaps those that they have lost.  It offers some of the album’s deepest emotions and is sure to generate among listeners some of the deepest emotions, as well.  Without a doubt, this song may end up being a favorite for fans, even as short as it is.  And it is just one more among so many that listeners will enjoy throughout the course of the album’s eleven total tracks.  The album is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Joe’s website, http://www.satriani.com, where he has links to iTunes, Amazon, and through his own website.  Fans can also order the new album and all sorts of Joe Satriani gear through his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani.  Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Joe on his Facebook page, too.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  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.

Real Rock Fans Will “Dig” H&E’s Dig

Courtesy:  Quarto Valley Records

Courtesy: Quarto Valley Records

The latest release from the British blues/rock band, Heaven & Earth, is one of the year’s best rock albums, and potentially one of the year’s best overall albums.  From the album’s artwork to its songs, so much was done right with this album.  Bassist Chuck Wright notes in the album’s bonus DVD about the album’s cover art that it is meant to represent the “unearthing” of rock and roll.  He states that “it [rock and roll] has been buried away for far too long.”  And if that’s the case, then this album has done quite the job of “digging up” rock and roll.  As producer Dave Jenkins states, this album was an attempt to capture the vibe of a live show on record.  He and the band did just that from start to finish.

The album opens fittingly with the anthemic ‘Victorious.’  The opening Middle Eastern influenced strains lead in to front man Joe Retta’s powerhouse vocals.  He sings, “There’ll be a champion/Standing tall for all to see/On their way to be victorious/All for glory.”  Taking into account Jenkins’ statement about crafting an album that sounds like a live performance in studio, it becomes so easy to see Retta standing both before the mic and in front of thousands singing this line, fist raised along with those of thousands in attendance at a major arena as they sing in unison.  Even more interesting to note about this song (and others throughout the album) is that if one were listening to this record without knowing it was Retta and company, one would swear one was listening to either Chickenfoot or to its singer, Sammy Hagar.  Retta’s vocals are so close in style to Hagar’s that the difference is nearly incomparable. 

Joe Retta isn’t the only one that gets the chance to shine on H&E’s new record.  While he might front this veteran band, his band mates—Stuart Smith (guitars), Chuck Wright (Bass), Richie Onori (drums), and Arlan Schierbaum (keyboards)—also get their chance to showcase their talents, too.  Case in point, the album’s second track and lead single, ‘No Money No Love.’  Stuart Smith’s chops are right up there with guest musician Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) in his solos.  And drummer Richie Onori keeps the band moving with a straight forward with solid time keeping that is just enough to impress any drummer of any level.  Add the keyboards of Arlan Schierbaum and audiences will hear just why this was chosen to lead off this album.  The band has also released a video for the album that can be viewed via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WB1iW0thik

Audiences get even more of that full on energy in the song, ‘Man & Machine.’  Again, one has to refer to [Dave] Jenkins’ mention of making a record that sounds like it’s a live experience here.  Everything that could go right with this song went right.  From its choruses to the pure musicianship of each band member, this is just one more of this record’s highest of points.  And it isn’t the last, either.  Fans will also enjoy the slower, bluesy vibe of ‘House of Blues’, the driving guitars and drums of ‘Back in Anger’, and ‘Rock and Roll Does’ as well as the record’s softer, slower moments.  Fans will especially enjoy ‘Rock and Roll Does.’  It would be a surprise if the band doesn’t use this as a show closer at its live shows in support of this record.  All assembled together, this record is a welcome change of pace from the constant drone of so much mainstream rock and the down tuned crunching guitars and cookie monster growls of less mainstream sounds.

Speaking of live shows, no live shows have been announced as of yet.  However, fans can get all the latest tour news and more from the band online at the band’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/officialheavenandearth and its official website, http://heavenandearthband.com/wordpressDig is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dig/id637141654

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Re-Machined More Than Just A Tribute Record

Courtesy:  Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Famed British hard rock band Deep Purple is set to drop its new album next month.  The album, titled Now What?! will be released in the United State Tuesday, April 30th.  While fans wait for the release of this highly anticipated album, they have another recent release to tide them over in the form of the tribute album, Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple’s Machine Head.  It may be a tribute album, but it is still a great album for both new and long-time fans of Deep Purple.

The new honorary compilation hit stores in late 2012 as part of the 40th anniversary of the landmark album’s original release.  It features all seven tracks from Deep Purple’s original iconic album plus a pair of bonuses.  One of those bonuses comes in the form of Metallica’s cover of ‘When A Blind Man Cries.’  As Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich notes in the compilation’s liner notes, “I have a list of songs in my head that Metallica should play before we either break up or die, and Deep Purple’s ‘When A Blind man Cries’ is one of those songs.”  The song in question is a bonus in that it actually never made the record.  Again, the liner notes shed light on this.  The notes, written by Classic Rock Magazine’s Mark Blake note that the song in question was originally a B-side to the song, ‘Never Before’ but has become a fan favorite throughout the years.  So it only made sense to have it included on this tribute record.  And it’s just one of the pieces that make this album a must not just for any Deep Purple fan but for any hard rocker, period.

‘When A Blind Man Cries’ is just one part of what makes Re-Machined such an impressive album of covers.  Going back to Ulrich, he and Metallica constitute just one of the acts brought together to record this album who openly tout Deep Purple as an influence in their own career as musicians.  Blake writes of Iron Maiden’s front man Bruce Dickinson (whose band also covers a track on the disc) that he [Dickinson] was also a “serious Purple aficionado.”  He quotes Dickinson as saying, “I cut my teeth as a kid on Deep Purple.  It’s what I grew up with.  It’s what got me out of bed in the mornings.”  Now if that isn’t a tribute in itself to the importance of Deep Purple in the music world, it’s anyone’s guess what is.  Dickinson and company ended up recording ‘Space Truckin’’ for the record, which is an absolutely outstanding piece both originally and as a cover here.  The way that it drives (no pun intended), it will have fans pumping their fists and singing along loud and proud. 

If Iron Maiden’s ‘Space Truckin’’ isn’t enough to convince fans of this compilation’s importance, then maybe the album’s opener will.  Carlos Santana (yes, that Carlos Santana) joins Papa Roach front man Jacoby Shaddix for a cover of what is arguably the band’s most famous song of all time, ‘Smoke on the Water.’  What’s really interesting about this cover is that while it is a cover, it doesn’t feel or sound like one.  Far too often, bands and artists try to take classic songs and update them.  That’s not the case here.  Shaddix and Santana have taken the classic and made it their own while still paying homage to the original.  It makes perfect sense as to why the album would open with this cover in hearing Santana’s guitar chops and the solid vocals of Shaddix.  It also serves one more purpose that at a passing glance is missed.  But in really thinking about the generational mix presented here, one sees the purer purpose of using it as the compilation’s opener.

On the surface, having a bunch of bands and artists resurrect one of rock’s most important and iconic albums is a great thing.  Having the album resurrected by a collection of rock’s greatest names past and present is even greater.  What this does is it makes it more than just a tribute album.  It makes the album a music history lesson in and of itself.  As evidenced in the opening number, young audiences will be pulled in by the inclusion of Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix.  Older audiences will be pulled in from both the fact that it’s Deep Purple and that fellow veteran musician Carlos Santana is on the track.  Also because of the inclusion of Santana, those same younger audiences will potentially be introduced to the music of not just one great classic act, but two in both Deep Purple and Carlos Santana, thus preserving both acts’ legacies for a whole new generation.  The same could be said of the inclusion of Chickenfoot’s live cover of ‘Highway Star’ and Black Label Society’s cover of ‘Pictures of Home.’ 

It should be clear by everything noted here that Re-Machined is more than just a tribute to a band.  It’s a tribute, yes.  But it’s also a tribute to everything that was and still is right with rock and roll.  It’s a musical love letter to real rock and an excellent way to get a whole new generation of hard rockers and metal heads into what is without a doubt, one of mainstream rock’s greatest bands.  The album is available now in stores and online.  Audiences can get more information on this album, the band’s upcoming new full length studio release and its tour dates online at http://www.deeppurple2013 and http://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple

To keep up with more from Deep Purple and all 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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