Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators Deliver Another Enjoyable Successful Album In ‘4’

Courtesy: Gibson Records

More than three years after the release of its then latest album, Living the Dream, the collective of Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators will release its new album next week.  More specifically, it is scheduled for release Feb. 11 through Gibson Records.  The aptly-titled album, 4, is the group’s fourth studio recording and has already produced three singles.  It has also been promoted through plenty of recent TV appearances.  Those performances and singles have helped audiences get a good idea of the 42-minute record’s overall picture, but they are just a glimpse of how much this record has to offer.  Listening through the remainder of the album, audiences will find that its overall musical presentation has much to appreciate.  It will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements are of their own interest and will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of 4.  All things considered, 4 proves itself to be among the best of the year’s new rock records so far.

Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators’ forthcoming album 4 is a strong new offering from the super group of sorts.  That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements.  The three singles that the album has produced have already done well to make that clear.  ‘Call Off The Dogs,’ the group’s latest single for instance, clearly brings in Kennedy’s Alter Bridge influence with its rich, melodic guitar line alongside Kennedy’s own powerful vocals.  At the same time, Slash’s performance incorporates his own rock leanings to make for an interesting combination of influences.  The interest generated through that combination of sounds and stylistic approaches makes the song so rich and unique in the bigger picture of the album and in comparison to other rock compositions released so far this year. 

The group offers more variance in the record’s musical side through its performance of ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words.’  The song’s arrangement is a clear neo-classic rock style composition that also brings in the most subtle hint of stoner rock.  The production that went into the song brought those influences out clearly, too.  The result is a work that is fully immersive and that stands out so well from its counterparts in this record (and even in the band’s existing catalog). 

Much earlier in the album (the record’s second song to be precise), audiences get a touch of stoner/hard rock leanings in ‘Whatever Gets You By.’  The rich, plodding guitar line and overall instrumentation used in the song’s verses conjures thoughts of The Toadies’ hit song ‘Possum Kingdom.’  That is not to say the two songs are identical by any means.  It is just to say that stylistically speaking, the similarity is there.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion considering how enjoyable ‘Possum Kingdom’ is to this day.  The contrast of the more melodic choruses is even similar between the songs.  Again, ‘Whatever Gets You By’ is still its own work separate of ‘Possum Kingdom,’ so it is still so enjoyable in its own right even with the similarities in sound and style.  It is just one more example of how much this record’s musical content does to make the album in whole successful.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s songs, the role that the album’s musical arrangements play becomes that much clearer and in turn more important. 

While the musical arrangements featured in this album are unquestionably important to its overall presentation, they are just part of what makes the record engaging and entertaining.  The record’s lyrical themes also play into its success.  The lyrical themes featured throughout the album are largely accessible, though at some points, open for interpretation.  Right from the album’s outset, audiences get a sociopolitical commentary in the lyrical content of ‘The River is Rising.’  Kennedy explained the song’s lyrical theme during a recent interview, explaining that it addresses how easily humans are brainwashed.  That message is delivered in unique fashion as Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Another fool for rage/Another truth betrayed/Another lackey out of line/Torture and rip-apart/What was the pure of heart/Poison the well/And push the lie/All in the name of nothing/Have we been hypnotized/No doubt the end is coming/We’re out of time/Hang on/The river is rising/Hold strong/The tide is high/Will we drown in paradise?”  That last line, asking, “Will we drown in paradise?” is telling.  It is a cynical question that highlights the reality that we are in a bad state.  It asks what is going to happen to society in what is supposed to be a wonderful situation, but is in reality anything but a utopia.  Again, this is a great, unique way to deliver a familiar message.  The second verse continues the noted message as Kennedy sings, “Another wicked scheme/Another static dream/Indoctrination for the blind.”  This line plays with into the deliver of the song’s lead verse, furthering the message even more.  The sense of frustration with everything going on that is established through these verses couples with the energy to really help make the song’s lyrical content that much more hard hitting.  It is just one example of what makes the album’s lyrical content so important.  ‘Fill My World’ is another example of that importance.

While lyrics were not available for this critic’s review of 4, enough of the content can be deciphered to infer that this song is another familiar work that centers on a broken relationship.  This is made obvious early on as the subject sings about ‘Holding on that you’ll return to me”; this after already singing about wondering “if you really cared at all.”  If this is not a direct reference to a breakup, then one can only guess at what is said reference.  When this fully relatable theme pairs with the emotion in the song’s musical content, it makes that theme hit home even harder for audiences.

‘April Fool’ is yet another song whose lyrical theme proves relatively relatable from what can be deciphered sans lyrics.  In the case of this song, it comes across as being sung from the standpoint of someone who has been wronged by another for too long and is fed up with the mistreatment.  It does not have to necessarily, either.  The subject comes right out in the song’s chorus and goes so far as to tell that other person, “The joke’s on you” because the subject won’t be that person’s fool anymore.  The verses have mentions of being fed up with the inferred mistreatment, too.  All things considered here, the whole again comes across as a fully relatable theme for any listener.  When the high energy in the song’s musical arrangement pairs with the sense of frustration in the song’s seeming message, that lyrical theme gains even more power.  When this theme is considered along with the others examined here and with the rest of the album’s lyrical content, that whole makes for even more engagement and entertainment.  When it is considered along with the record’s overall musical content, the whole makes the album’s overall content reason enough for audiences to give this album a chance and then some.  Keeping that in mind, there is still one more item to examine here.  That item is the sequencing of that content.

The sequencing used in 4 is important because it takes into account, the diversity in the record’s overall content.  At the same time, the energy in the songs’ arrangements remains relatively stable from beginning to end.  From the neo-classic rock sounds and styles to the more borderline hard rock and stoner rock sounds and styles, each song is different from the last in its arrangement.  That duality is enough to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  Add in that the songs’ lyrical themes change just enough throughout, too, and the album gains even more appeal.  The end result of the well thought out sequencing of all of this content is that it completes the picture painted here.  When its positive impact is considered along with the record’s overall content, the whole makes 4 easily one of the best new rock records of the year so far.

Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators’ forthcoming album, 4, is another impressive new offering from the rock super group.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The arrangements offer audiences a variety of rock styles and sounds from one to the next.  Along the way, each arrangement is fully accessible.  The songs’ lyrical themes are just as accessible, offering audiences topics to which they will relate.  The sequencing of that content puts the final touch to the record.  It ensures that as the songs progress from start to end, the record’s energy remains stable even as the songs change.  Each item examined plays its own important part to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make 4 an impressive new addition to this year’s field of rock records.

4 is scheduled for release Feb.11 through Gibson Records.  More information on Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators’ new album is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:




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Rock Super Group The Lucid Announces New Album Details; Premieres Album’s Lead Single

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Members of Sponge, Fear Factory, and an ex-member of Megadeth have joined to make a new super group.

Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge), Mike Heller (Fear Factory) and David Ellefson (ex-Megadeth) have joined with guitarist Drew Fortier (Bango Tango, David Ellefson, Zen From Mars) to form the new rock super group, The Lucid. The group is scheduled to release its self-titled debut album Oct. 15 through SpoilerHead Records.

Ellefson said in a prepared statement, he was looking forward to the album’s release.

“It’s been a real blast making a record with these guys and I must say that it’s refreshing to explore some new musical avenues….to step out a bit from what each of us have done stylistically in our own careers,” he said. “There was an effortless synergy that came with creating these songs together which is always amazing when working with new people. I’m looking forward to everyone checking it out!”

Pre-orders are open now. The album’s track listing is noted below.

The Lucid will feature the following track listing:

1.Maggot Wind
2.Deaths of Despair
3.Spoiler Head
7.Breech Boy
8.Pigs and Sons
9.Parade of Spit

In anticipation of the album’s release, the band premiered the record’s lead single, ‘Maggot Wind’ Wednesday. The song’s title conjures thoughts of something heavy and intense, but ironically, the song’s musical arrangement is anything but. Rather, it lends itself more to comparison to works from the likes of Alter Bridge. Just as interesting is that even with that in mind, the sound of Dombroski’s voice as he sings is comparable to that of the late great Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver front man Scott Weiland.

No information was provided about the lyrical theme featured in ‘Maggot Wind’ in the press release announcing the band’s formation, album details, and single debut. However, in looking at the lyrics provided with the song, it would seem that the song’s lyrical theme is a commentary of sorts about the state of the world. That is just this critic’s own interpretation.

In other news, Ellefson and Fortier are scheduled to appear together at a trio of dates this fall to support their new horror film, Dwellers. The movie is scheduled for release on Blu-ray and digital streaming services Oct. 12. It is available to pre-order through various limited edition bundles here.

Ellefson and Fortier’s scheduled appearances are noted below.

Crypticon, Minneapolis, MN – Sept. 10-12
Dead Conventions, Fort Wayne, IN – Oct 15-17
Chiller Theater, Parsippany, NJ – Oct 29-31

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




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Art Of Anarchy Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Art of Anarchy has announced new live dates in support of its new album The Madness.

The band announced this week it will embark on a short string of live dates next month beginning April 3 in Amityville, N.Y. The nearly month-long schedule takes the band to the Midwest and into the Southwest and also into Canada, eventually winding down April 29 in Henderson, NV.  The band’s current live schedule is noted below.

Art of Anarchy Tour Dates:

4/3/17 – Amityville, N.Y. – Revolution Bar & Music Hall
4/4/17 – Asbury Park, N.J. – The Stone Pony
4/6/17 – Toronto, Ontario – Velvet Underground
4/7/17 – Sarnia, Ontario – Station Music Hall
4/8/17 – Battle Creek, Mich. – The Music Factory
4/10/17 – Libertyville, Ill. – Austin’s Saloon
4/11/17 – Chesterfield, Mich. – Diesel Concert Lounge
4/13/17 – Fort Wayne, Ind. – The Rusty Spur
4/14/17 – Ringle, Wisc. – Q&Z Expo Center
4/29/17 – Henderson, Nev. – M Resort

Composed of Scott Stapp (ex-Creed) on vocals, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex Guns ‘N Roses) on guitar, John Moyer (ex-Disturbed) on bass and twin brothers Jon and Vince Votta on guitar and drums respectively, the band originally formed through an 18-year friendship between Thal and the Votta brothers.

Jon Votta first approached Thal with the idea to form the band years ago.  That discussion eventually led to the band’s creation, which originally saw the late Scott Weiland (ex-Stone Temple Pilots) handle vocal duties. The band’s debut self-titled album was released in June 2015.

Stapp said in a recent interview that he was optimistic about working with the members of Art of Anarchy.

“I’m excited to be a part of Art of Anarchy,” Stapp said.  “I appreciate collaborating with other talented artists and I can’t wait to share our new music with the fans very soon.”

Band manager John Gomez shared Stapp’s optimism.

“The other members of AOA and I are equally excited to have Stapp on board,” Gomez said.  “This is the first band that Scott has fronted outside of Creed and his heart’s really in it.  Scott’s vision, his gift for gut-wrenching storytelling and his powerful vocals lend a bold new energy to the group.”

Thal thought bringing Stapp on to take Weiland’s place has been a boon for the band, adding he thought Stapp’s addition to the band helped take the band in a new direction.

“Scott’s style and the personal lyrics he’s been writing are taking the sound in a new direction – one that brings out the best in all of us,” Thal said.  “It’s a new chapter for us all, and I’m looking forward to sharing the new music with the fans and seeing what the future holds.”

Vince Votta agreed.

“It’s been awesome having Stapp on board,” Votta said.  “Everyone is bringing their A-game and can’t wait to bring it live to the stage.”

Audiences that haven’t heard that new sound can hear The Madness’ latest single, its title track online now via the band’s official YouTube channel.  More information on The Madness is available online now along with all of Art of Anarchy’s latest news and more at:









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Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators Releasing New Live Recording This Summer

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment is bringing home Slash and his friends Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators this summer.

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators: Live at the Roxy 9/25/14 on Tuesday, June 16th. The concert recording documents the groups’ performance at the famed club following the release of its second collaboration World on Fire early last year. The show’s set list features some of the biggest hits from Guns ‘N Roses, Velvet Revolver, and from Slash’s own solo recordings including: “Ghost,” “Back From Cali,” “World On Fire,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Anastasia,” “Paradise City,” “Slither,” “Nightrain,” and many more. The complete set list for Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators: Live at the Roxy 9/25/14 is noted below:


1) Ghost

2) Nightrain

3) Back From Cali

4) You Could Be Mine

5) Rocket Queen

6) Bent To Fly

7) Starlight

8) You’re A Lie

9) World On Fire

10) Anastasia

11) Sweet Child O’ Mine

12) Slither

13) Paradise City

Bonus Tracks:

(1) Stone Blind

(2) You’re Crazy

(3) Wicked Stone

(4) 30 Years To Life


1) Ghost

2) Nightrain

3) Halo

4) Back From Cali

5) Stone Blind

6) You Could Be Mine

7) Doctor Alibi

8) You’re Crazy

9) Wicked Stone

10) 30 Years To Life

11) Rocket Queen

12) Bent To Fly

13) Starlight

14) You’re A Lie

15) World On Fire

16) Anastasia

17) Sweet Child O’ Mine

18) Slither

19) Paradise City

Fans can check out the group’s performance of ‘Bent To Fly’ from the recording online now via YouTube at Fans can get more information on this recording online now along with all of the latest news from Slash at:






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Cyrus, Sorum To Appear On HLN TV Today With Marine Songwriter

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR

Country music veteran Billy Ray Cyrus and drummer Matt Sorum will appear live on HLN TV this morning.

The duo will appear alongside retired SSGT. Mark Plummer on HLN TV’s Morning Express With Robin Meade to  discuss the new song ‘Do What I Do.’ The trio’s appearance is part of the network’s Veteran’s Day coverage. The performance is scheduled for 9:45am ET.

‘Do What I Do’ is an original song written by Plummer. It highlights the impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on veterans. The song was released Monday, November 10th in honor of Veterans Day. The video for the song, which also features Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), can be viewed online now via YouTube. Plummer originally wrote the song about his own personal ongoing battle with PTSD after serving three tours of duty in Iraq. Plummer discussed the song in a recent interview noting how the song came to life and his hopes of it serving as an aid to other veterans suffering from PTSD. “Music therapy helped me find a way to express myself when nothing else worked,” he said. “It helped me give a ‘VOICE’ to a message that many of our veterans share and cannot speak of. I can now share this message with others thanks to the healing power of music. Music has always been a part of my life, but I never knew it would be one of my biggest weapons to fight and win my own personal battles with PTSD.”

Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver) expanded on Plummer’s thoughts. He explained how his experience working with veterans suffering from PTSD played a role in his willingness to help record the song. “PTSD is a serious issue among our veterans–it takes 22 lives a day due to suicide,” he said. “I have seen first-hand how healing music can be to the men and women suffering from this disorder, and hope to bring this program to many more vets around the country.” Sorum’s own work with veterans started after he partnered with the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA. That partnership led Sorum to found the Global Sound Lodge. The Global Sound Lodge is a charity that provides a music for healing program. It donates instruments to orphanages, shelters, and veterans’ programs around the world. More information on the Global Sound Lodge is available online at:


Cyrus and Sorum’s fans can keep up with their latest news and more online at:

Billy Ray Cyrus


Matt Sorum


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VSC Announces Release Date, Product Info For Portlandia Season Four

Courtesy:  Video Services Corporation

Courtesy: Video Services Corporation

Video Services Corporation (VSC) will release the fourth season of IFC’s hit comedy series Portlandia this summer.

Portlandia: Season 4 will be released on DVD Tuesday, August 26th. Armisen’s beloved characters Dave and Kath are back in Portlandia’s fourth season, as are Spike and his uptight girlfriend, Iris. Spike and Iris have to deal with a difficult situation at a Thai restaurant while Dave and Kath actually give relaxation a try. And then there is the couple, Nina and Lance. Nina and Lance have to recover from the trauma of losing a pet this season.

Season Four sees a who’s who of celebrity guests across its ten episodes. Among some of the more well-known guests that appear on the show this season are: k.d. lang, Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), Kirsten Dunst (Spiderman 1 – 3), Joshua Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Mark Proksch (The Office), and many others. Also returning from Portlandia’s previous seasons is an equally high profile list of stars including: Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park 1 &2, Independence Day), Ed Begley, Jr. (Arrested Development, Pineapple Express), Jason Sudeikis (How I Met Your Mother), and director Gus Van Sant (Promised Land, Milk) and just as many other big names.

Portlandia: Season Four was shot entirely in Portland, Oregon. It is co-created and co-written by Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and Jonathan Krisel. Krisel is also the series’ director. The series is executive prodiced by Lorne Michaels (SNL) and produced by Broadway Video. Portlandia: Season Four is comprised of ten episodes on two discs. It will retail for SRP of $19.98. Portlandia has earned a Peabody © award and has been nominated for an Emmy ® award as well, and has run for four seasons exclusively on Independent Film Channel.

More information on this and other releases from Video Services Corporation is available online at,, and To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at