All posts for the month December, 2018

This news story was originally published here:

is out:


Another work of excellence. I had been a little concerned that after they parted company with their sax man they might struggle, but this is as good as anything they’ve done. Sublime interplay between the guitarists. This grooves like hell!

Edited by Mascodagama – 2 hours 29 minutes ago at 14:46

This news story was originally published here:

The Garage, Islington, London
Friday, 21st December 2018

After a splendid day as a tourist in the company of my trusty TPA colleague Mr Phil Lively, during which we visited the Post Office museum and took a trip on their dedicated underground line, we later visited a somewhat overpriced hostelry (it was Islington, after all!) for some grub and a meet up and natter with two more fellow carousers. Eventually we made our way to The Garage for the early start. Barely had we got there at around 6:30pm, and the first band began to rise above the launch pad.

The Garage holds around 600 and was rammed for tonight’s shenanigans. It is one of those venues with the bar at the back of the room, and with designs like that it always follows that the incessant natter of bar hounds is inescapable. This being a gathering of the Clan Cardiacs and the event having an “end of term” feel to it, being the last gig of the year for most present, meant the increasingly booze-fuelled banter at the back of the room was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard at a gig, and it didn’t stop when the bands were playing either. One guy, during a quieter moment in Spratleys Japs’ set was heard shouting “SHUT THE FUCK UP” at the chatterers, not that it had any effect.

A lot of folk had travelled many miles to be here, and had no doubt had all day to meet up to chew the fat, and it does make me wonder why they wanted to continue shouting at each other while the bands were playing. Why bother getting a ticket in that case?! Not to mention the disrespect it shows both the bands and the majority of us who wanted to watch them.

Anyway, here’s what went down, at least for the two thirds of the audience who bothered to watch it!


Starting quietly, this Brighton band of Kosmische warriors, silhouetted against a groovy Cosmic Jokers psychedelic slide show, are led by one time Cardiacs guitar slinger Bic Hayes. They make an imperceptible, almost unnoticed beginning, building slowly to thunderous volume that even manages to drown out the incessant chatter-rumble from the back of the room.

Fronting a tottering mountain of electronic jiggery-pokery, wired together by a confusing basket of snake-like leads, Richard Gorbutt “plays” the understatedly titled “Modular Synth”, the whole caboodle looking like something Klaus Schulze stashed away in his garage in 1975. Next to him Al Strachan occasionally blasts away on a trumpet, but the noise that comes out of the speakers is unrecognisable as such, having been twisted out of shape on a journey through another piece of incomprehensibility under the name of a “Mono Synth”. Making forays around these two the conventional instruments gamely try to impose order, which they do intermittently, to supply a Can-like groove, on steroids. Marvellous!


To the left of the stage as the audience look is one Terry Bickers, thus reviving his partnership with Bic, who was his guitar foil in Levitation, the best psych rock band of the 1990s. Terry will lend his howls and caresses to ZOFFF’s improvised swirls and pulses of sound to mighty effect.

Two long improvisations later, my companion Phil said “that was bloody awesome!”, and it most certainly was.


I have seen this organic synapse-altering conglomerate a few times over the last four years or so, but this has to rank as the heaviest I’ve heard them. A set extracted from the more direct numbers of their small but perfectly formed back catalogue was a wise choice for this audience of hardened Punky Psych Party veterans and it went down a storm. Kavus Torabi did that thing with his eyes, emitting laser stares into the middle distance, also giving his trusty Gretsch a good seeing to. Emmett Elvin’s piano stabs provided angular counterpoint to his haircut in all the right places.

Sometimes the horn section got a bit lost in the throng, and some of the harmony vocals wandered a bit, but I only write this in hindsight, for at the time no-one but a journo taking notes would notice. I suppose arranging the sound for an eight-piece support band is fraught with difficulties, and it must have sounded a lot different in an empty room.


The rhythm section comprising Charlie Cawood’s mesmerising bass runs and Ben Woollacott’s solid and unfussy drumming was a powerful beast and it needed to be, nailing the thing to the floor without ceremony.

The audience obviously loved it, and quite right too.

Spratleys Japs

I admit that the stars of tonight’s bill are a band I am not at all familiar with, being a late entrant into the House of Cardiacs. Originally a Tim Smith side project they released one album entitled Pony a mere twenty years ago, which I have only heard a couple of times. Most of Pony was played tonight, along with a few new numbers, which I believe will see the light of day on a new album later in 2019. I will certainly investigate further, as it gave my quirk button a gentle nudge.

Spratleys Japs

Band leader Jo Spratley has a beguiling stage presence, moving around like a marionette set free, messing up her hair and casting cryptic glances at the thronging melee in front of her. Unfortunately not long into the set her voice went south so she had to carefully pick and choose where it was to be used to best effect. There were a couple of very quiet numbers, musically as well as vocally, and this is where the “STFU” moment I referred to above occurred, as the by then very loud chatter from the bar area had turned into shouting. Bloody disrespectful, although the band didn’t seem to notice.

Spratleys Japs

The last third or so of the set got more urgent, and the last two numbers, Klog and Cabinet, were fabulously angular but direct offerings that had the crowd jumping. Aye, not bad at all!

After a short break the Spratleys returned to the stage all aglow in white, to begin a short set of Cardiacs covers, and as the set progressed they were augmented by musicians from the other bands, plus guests, to form a many-tentacled monstrous psychedelic jellyfish in yer bath, that stung in the most pleasant of ways.

All Stars - photo by Neil Phillips

The climax of the set, nay, the climax of the year, was a magnificent and righteous arrangement of the greatest song ever written, the unsurpassable Dirty Boy, here rearranged to incorporate the Knifeworld horn section. Fronting this surging beast was Mike Vennart of Oceansize fame, who more than did vocal justice to this summation of everything that is good about popular music with a performance that almost turned Tim Smith’s finest moment into his own song… almost. Boy, has this guy got a set of lungs on him and a stage presence to match! Jon Poole, another famous ex-Cardiac also joined in with yet another guitar and some stirring rabblerousing. There were three ex-Cardiacs guitar manglers on stage by this point. It was bluddy horrid it was! 🙂

[embedded content]

You know Dirty Boy, I take it? If you don’t, watch the above RIGHT NOW! The song climbs in accompaniment to Sisyphus on his never ending journey to the summit of… summat. Heck, whatever I drag from my mental Thesaurus is never going to get even slightly close to describing what a joyous experience this was, especially for a late-comer to the genius of Cardiacs’ oeuvre such as moi, who has never seen this song performed live before. The ending, a stretched and slowly shifting chord pattern anchored around the note G#, that sounded like one chord to me, but I’m told by someone who knows, lasted a good five minutes. It was a ramalamadingdong resonating with harmonics that could move mountains, allowing everyone not already on stage to return and take a bow, and it was one of those hairs on the back of the neck, lump in throat moments you won’t forget in a hurry if you were there. I would describe it as transcendental, or as Phil put it “this must be what a religious epiphany feels like”. And all in front of the venerable Dr. Tim Smith too!

All Stars - photo by Chris Parkins

A perfect ending to a very good year for gigs, and a great birthday prez for this old scrote. Ta muchly!

I was so carried away that in the aftermath, I forgot to visit the merch stall to see if they had any of the rather spiffing gig posters (see cover picture) for sale. Oh well, a minor blip, all in all!

We hung around for a bit of Steve Davis and Kavus’s DJ set, but I was happily knackered, somewhat dazed and slightly fried. I needed my bed.

Steve Davis

[Photos by Chris Parkins, Neil Phillips (Jo Spratley close-up), Phil Lively and Roger Trenwith, used with permission.]


ZOFFF + Terry Bickers:
I did ask, but… “Haha, no titles, such is the nature of improvisation, well, ours anyway!” 🙂

I Can Teach You How To Lose A Fight
I Am Lost
Dear Lord, No Deal
Don’t Land On Me
Vision Of The Bent Path /I Must Set Fire To Your Portrait
Feel The Sorcery
Destroy The World We Love
Me To The Future Of You

Spratleys Japs:
Don’t You Ail, Flash The Sea To Steam

“The Monstrous Psychedelic Jellyfish”- Cardiacs covers set:
Song Of A Dead Pest
To Go Off And Things
Flap Off You Beak
Dirty Boy


Chris Anderson – Bass
Bic Hayes – Guitar
Al Strachan – Mono Synth/Cornet
Richard Gorbutt – Modular Synth
Damo Waters – Drums
~ With:
Terry Bickers – Guitar

KavusTorabi – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Melanie Woods – Backing & Lead Vocals, Tambourine, Glockenspiel (possibly)
Emmett Elvin – Electric Piano & maybe a Synthesizer
Charlie Cawood – Bass Guitar
Ben Woollacott – Drums & Percussion
Chlöe Herrington – Bassoon, Alto Saxophone, Backing Vocals
Josh Perl – Alto Saxophone, Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocals
Oliver Sellwood – Saxophone

Spratleys Japs:
Jo Spratley – Vocals, Percussion
Étienne Rodes – Guitar
Damo Waters – Drums
Jesse Jo Cutts – Bass Guitar
Adrien Rodes – Keyboards

“The Monstrous Psychedelic Jellyfish”:
All or most of the above, resplendent in white, plus (A BIG PLUS):
Mike Vennart – Lead Voice (and some) on Dirty Boy
Jon Poole – Guitar & Rabblerousing on Dirty Boy

ZOFFF – Facebook | Bandcamp
Knifeworld – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp
Spratleys Japs – Facebook | Bandcamp
Mike Vennart – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp
Jon Poole – Bandcamp

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Northern Star 27th December 2018.

Xmas Turkey & Stocking Fillers

Northern Star – Theme

  1. Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – Amazing grace
  2. Bubblerock – Satisfaction
  3. Frank Zappa – Bobby Brown (live)
  4. Peter Gabriel – Boy In The Bubble
  5. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Freebird
  6. Simon Godfrey – No Mr Bond I Expect You to Die (Band of Bastards)
  7. D Project – Live To Spare
  8. Asia – Ghost in the mirror
  9. Boney M – Rivers Of Babylon
  10. C:Live Collective – The Age Of Insanity pt 1
  11. Yes – Roundabout
  12. Postmodern Jukebox – Last Christmas
  13. Rush – Cygnus X1 (live)
  14. Animus Numinous – Alien Diplomacy
  15. Geof Whitely Project – Open Your Eyes
  16. Yes – Open Your Eyes
  17. Lost Crowns Every Night something Happens
  18. Van Der Graaf generator – Darkness (11/11)
  19. Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother


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Edition 175 of Sounds That Can Be Made is now available as a podcast!


Quiet World – Loneliness And Grief (from The Road)
Titus Groan – Hall Of Bright Carvings (from Titus Groan)
Demon Fuzz – Hymn To Mother Earth (from Afreaka!)
Atlantic Bridge – Something (from Atlantic Bridge)
Trifle – Is It Loud? (from First Meeting)
Jackie McAuley – Turning Green (from Jackie McAuley)
Pluto – And My Old Rocking Horse (from Pluto)
Atomic Rooster – Time Take My Life (from Made In England)
Jonesy – Mind of the Century (from No Alternative)
Gravytrain – Morning Coming (from Second Birth)
Jonesy – Children (from Keeping Up…)
Atomic Rooster – Ear In The Snow (from Nice ‘n’ Greasy)
Fruupp – Decision (from Future Legends)
Jonesy – Can You Get That Together (from Growing)
Quicksand – Sunlight Brings Shadows (from Home Is Where I Belong)
Fruupp – Faced With Shekinah (from Seven Secrets)
Gravytrain – Starbright Starlight (from Staircase To The Day)
Fruupp – The Perfect Wish (from The Prince of Heaven’s Eyes)
Sahara – Rainbow Rider (from Sunrise)
Fruupp – Gormenghast (from Modern Masquerades)

Edition 166 of Steve Blease’s Heavy Elements is now available as a podcast.


King Crimson – Red
Black Sabbath – Spiral Architect
Blue Öyster Cult – Flaming Telepaths
Rush – By-Tor And The Snow Dog
Kansas – Icarus (Born on Wings of Steel)
Scorpions – Drifting Sun
Judas Priest – Victim Of Changes
Rainbow – Gates Of Babylon
Mercyful Fate – Satan’s Fall
Metallica – The Call Of Ktulu
Iron Maiden – Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

This news story was originally published here:

Colin Tench’s Living Legacy

One year ago we lost Colin Tench, he had just completed his final work minor Masterpiece, and a masterpiece of musical artistry it is. The news of his passing was devastating to not only the management and staff of Melodic Revolution Records(MRR) but to the musicians on the label who were his musical family. So many of them had worked with Colin over the years; and his energy and exuberance for music and life had been infectious, inspiring several projects in his wake. For a time we stood in silence, but now we must come from under our mourning shroud to unveil the legacy of music he has left us and to celebrate a life well-lived.

Photos provided by Sonia Mota

During the past year members of the Tench FamilyAmanda and Jim Tench, Colin’s brother and sister-in-law would have the very difficult task as executors of Colin’s estate. They contacted MRRand asked if we would work with them in keeping Colin’s legacy alive by selling and promoting all of his releases and donating the net proceeds from the sales of his work to two charities of the estate’s choice. Without hesitation, MRRbecame involved in this monumental task to immortalize Colin’s work in musical history. MRR had been fortunate to work with Colin during his lifetime on various projects and releases; this project became a labor of love for the label.

His music will continue to be available via all digital outlets worldwide, with physical distribution via Melodic Revolution Records, Amazon, CD Baby and an all New Bandcamps tore that features the work of Colin Tenchin all his various incarnations: BunChakeze, Odin of London, Corvus Stone, Colin Tench Project, Andy John Bradford’s Oceans5, as well as his work with Transmission Rails, Andres Guazzelli, The Minstrel’s Ghost and Murky Red. Our goal is to keep Colin’s legacy alive and well for generations of new fans to enjoy his wonderful music. The new Bandcamp store “The Music and Projects of Colin Tench” will give people a chance to discover the many different artists that Colin had worked with over the years. “The Music and Projects of Colin Tench” Bandcamp store will open On December 27th a year to the date of Colin’s passing. Colin was only 63 when he passed away peacefully due to natural causes; some candles burn with great intensity for only a short time and leave us with eternal light.

In a statement from Colin’s Brother Jim Tench
As a young boy, my brother Colin had a fascination for insects and other small creatures which escalated later in his adult life to include love and respect for wildlife, especially large mammals. He was very passionate about scuba diving and enjoyed swimming with, and filming, aquatic wonders too. His heart was very much in preserving, and not destroying, this amazing planet we live on. Music was also very dear to his heart and he became very disappointed in the post 70’s manufactured sound – he believed music should be an expression of your soul and not a path to fill three minutes of radio space and fifteen minutes of fame.

Prog Rock gave Colin hope that there were like-minded people, all around the world that would be able to come together via the internet and keep this incredible music genre alive. Colin gave 100% of his time for many years to try to achieve this – I think we can all agree he succeeded.

Myself, Colin’s younger brother David, and our mum Joan felt that it would be Colin’s wishes to donate all net profits from the sale of his music to benefit two charities dear to his heart. As Colin subscribed to and donated to, the World Wildlife Fund(and visited many of their sanctuaries around the world) we felt this would be a natural choice. The second charity is the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation that helps fund young musicians who need financial support to purchase their own instruments so they can explore and develop their musical talents. We believe this to be an incredible legacy left behind by Colin and one that he would be very proud to be a part of. Jackie Aris has also been very much involved in this process, having shared their lives together for 29 years she truly knew his passions and causes in life. We thank Jackie from the bottom of our hearts for donating the funds to ship Colin’s CDs to MRR for circulation.
Thank you to MRR for their dedication and support to make this possible, and to every single one of Colin’s friends, musician buddies and fans around the world.
Jim Tench

Colin Tench Biography
Colin Tench Bandcamp Store
World Wildlife Fund
Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation
Nick Katona

(A Present of Great Sounding Tunes)

Last week we celebrated ProgMas. So now that it’s the actual week of Christmas, what’s left, except to give you faithful listeners your present?

Of course it’s a gift of music! What else could it be?    ;o)

This week I’ve handpicked some amazing music that will make you listen… and maybe even give you goosebumps.

Happy Holidays!!

Remember, you can access podcasts of any previous Progressive Tracks Show at: (there are 131 now!).


  • The Moody Blues – “The Day Begins (Incl. Morning Glory)” from Days of Future Passed (Expanded Edition) on UMC
  • Zero Times Everything – “(The Cathedral of All Saints)” from Sonic Cinema on 7d Media
  • Whalephant – “Thunderstorm” from Kamma on Independent
  • Colin Tench Project – “Waiting for Gordo” from minor Masterpiece on Independent
  • Syd Arthur – “Truth Seeker” from On an On on Down Chorus Recording Company LLP
  • Steven Wilson – “Vermillioncore” from 4 1/2 on Victor
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer – “From the Beginning (2015 – Remaster)” from Trilogy on Victor
  • Debora Petrina –  “The Invisible Circus” from Petrina on Alabianca Records
  • Moogg – “Classe 21” from Le ore i giorni gli anni on Mellow Records
  • Deep Stare – “Eternal Sense” from Triplet – Single on Deep Stare
  • The Box – “So Beautiful” from Black Dog There on Unidisc Music Inc.
  • Accordo dei Contrari – “Idios Cosmos” from Violato Intatto on Independent
  • The Mercury Tree – “Ether Ore” from Permutations on Independent
  • Gravitysays_i – “A Matter of Instinct” from Quantum Unknown on Inner Ear Records
  • Herd of Instinct – “Filament” from DronePriest on Firepool Records
  • Patrick Broguiere – “Une nuit dans l’abbaye (Parts 1 & 2)” from Mont Saint-Michel on Mellow Records

If you have comments or suggestions for show topics/ music (always welcome), feel free to contact me any time via email:

But first… enjoy the show!

Mike “ProgTracks” Pollack

P.S.  You can skip looking for these posts each week by subscribing to the podcast below!

The PROG MILL CHRISTMAS SHOW 2018 – first broadcast on Progzilla Radio Sunday 23 December, is now also available to listen to anytime or download as a mp3 file. A lovely proggy festive show to listen to over the Christmas period with a mix of brand new progressive rock and prioggy festive tunes old and new.

Here’s your festive playlist

1 IQ – Christmas Intro/For Christ’s Sake (Tales from a Dark Christmas)
2 The Emerald Dawn – As Darkness Falls (Nocturne)
3 Marillion – The Carol of the Bells (A Collection of Recycled Gifts)
4 Drifting Sun – Cascading Teats (Single)
5 Big Big Train – Snowfalls (Merry Christmas)
6 Times Up – 21 Grammes of Starlight Glow – I Miss You (Black Wing & Prayer)
7 Gandalf’s Fist – Winters Mourning (Single)
8 Presto Ballet – I Just Drive (The Days Between)
9 Chris Squire – Run with the Fox (Chris Squire’s Swiss Choir)
10 Ten Point Ten – Good Tidings/Messiah He is Born (12 25)
11 The December people – We Three Kings (Sounds Like Christmas)
12 Gregorian Rock – Personet Hodie (Christmas)
13 The Room – Broken (Single)
14 IQ – I Believe in Father Christmas (Tales from a Dark Christmas)

Thanks to Phil Richards and Colin Smith for choosing the festive tracks this year!

Tuesday (Christmas Day) – 3-5am UK (Monday 7pm in LA and 10pm in NYC) – Christmas Show repeat
Christmas Day 11pm-1am UK (Christmas Show repeat)
Saturday 29 December 6-8pm UK – A Prog Mill Long Ones Special
Sunday 30 December 10pm – Midnight UK (brand new show)

And looking further ahead
Sunday 6 Jan 10pm – Midnight UK – The Prog Mill Listeners Album of the Year 2018. (Voting still open until midnight new years eve UK time)

A very HAPPY CHRISTMAS to all our listeners!