Archives

All posts for the month October, 2019

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2019/10/28/the-flower-kings-waiting-for-miracles/

Just when you thought the workaholic Roine Stolt might be taking a break from activities, or concentrating on the next album with Jon Anderson, he suddenly announces work starting on the next Transatlantic album, and the imminent release of a new Flower Kings album. I’m never sure how our top Prog musicians manage to juggle several projects at a time, but it’s always good to have Mr Stolt back at the helm of his baby, The Flower Kings, truly the one project over which he has pretty much complete control.

This is the first proper TFK album since 2013’s Desolation Rose, which was not entirely in tune with the rest of the catalogue in many ways, being rather dark and pessimistic in outlook. Last year’s Manifesto of an Alchemist was obviously a Stolt solo album, although released under the banner ‘Roine Stolt’s The Flower King’, no doubt at the suggestion of InsideOut’s marketing guys. It was enjoyable enough, but it wasn’t The Flower Kings. Waiting For Miracles is quite different, and from the start it is clear that TFK are back; this is a band album, and fans will be hanging out the bunting in celebration. So to be clear before diving into the contents, if you are familiar with the band and have been thus far unpersuaded by their symphonic grand progressive rock stylings, this album won’t win you over, so you may as well move on now. For everyone else, there is a veritable feast for the ears here, so let’s have a closer look.

The cover has a delightful painting by Kevin Sloan of an elephant balanced impossibly on a house of cards, and it’s the House of Cards piano-led melody which briefly opens the album before giving way to Black Flag, a song about pirates oddly enough. No sight of any vampires though, so Stolt’s partner in crime in Agents of Mercy, Nad Sylvan, hasn’t had any influence here. This is however a marvellous song which on the surface seems to be a fun take on Pirates of the Caribbean, but actually appears a bit darker with modern ‘state of the world’ themes at play. In fact, it’s quite obvious that Roine and the band are taking the state of the world as a starting point for quite a few themes on the album.

Next up is the centrepiece track, Miracles for America. Stolt has a bit of a thing about America, it has cropped up in so many TFK songs that it’s become something of a recurring theme. Well, the U.S. is the premier superpower after all, and if any meaningful change is going to happen, it needs to happen there, so we are exhorted to “save our miracles for America”, and by extension, the world of course. Strident organ stabs the piece into life before the band come in with a very solid riff, and the song evolves in a muscular, but very Flower Kings way into a real tour de force, veering between helplessness and hope, with the latter winning out it seems. The contrast between Roine’s voice and Hasse Fröberg’s higher register singing is outstanding. The longest track on the album at a few seconds over ten minutes, and you get the idea that this version of the band is able to be a little more succinct than they’ve managed in the past. That doesn’t mean they have jettisoned all jammy noodling, it’s those passages which allow the songs room to breathe for my money, but they seem to be reined in somewhat here. Having said that, Vertigo does threaten to outstay its welcome slightly perhaps and could have been a little shorter, but the interplay between Jonas Reingold on fretless bass and Stolt’s lead guitar lines are gorgeous, so all is forgiven.

Some fans will tell you that this can’t be TFK without Tomas Bodin on keys, but this album should truly put that myth to bed as Zach Kamins’ contributions on Waiting For Miracles are superb, as anyone familiar with his work as An Endless Sporadic would expect. Likewise, Mirko DeMaio on drums is rock solid, gelling well with Jonas throughout. Next song, The Bridge is a beautiful ballad which provides the album title in the lyrics, Roine rather sadly intoning that he’s “waiting for miracles”, seemingly helpless to provide them – but no! As the song draws to a climax, he pulls off the solo of the album, a masterful and inspired couple of minutes of playing which underlines just what an intuitive guitarist he is. Absolute magic.

Ascending To The Stars has to be the most different track on the album, an inspired instrumental piece which evokes Holst’s Planets interwoven with a 2001-style space soundtrack. It sounds like it was made for a sci-fi movie, and highlights Zach’s keyboard contributions in dazzling fashion. Wicked Old Symphony is back to a traditional TFK song in style, and one gets the impression that Stolt could write this sort of thing in his sleep. It’s slightly quirky and yet warm and comfortable, and quite typical of the band.

Circuses seem to be another of Roine’s recurring themes. One wonders if Zappa’s ideas around ‘conceptual continuity’ have been deliberately employed here, or if it’s just coincidence? Anyway, Rebel Circus is another tasty instrumental, interweaving very modern ‘bleepy’ keyboard sounds with more old fashioned guitar breaks and insistent bass, and almost jazzy moments. Yes, we’ve heard it before, but we love it! I don’t know if the band were all in the same room in Benny Andersson’s studio in Stockholm when they recorded this stuff, but it sure sounds like it, the empathy clearly evident.

Sleep With The Enemy again highlights the two distinctive voices of TFK, with Stolt’s verses contrasting brilliantly with Fröberg’s soaring chorus. It works so well, it’s hard to imagine either of these guys not being involved in the band, as a key dynamic would be lost. As we work to the climax, crushing church organ builds the intensity underpinned with deft piano flourishes and guitar licks, but Hasse rules this song. The Crowning of Greed closes the first disc with another lyrical theme familiar from earlier albums, and a lovely melody from Stolt’s guitar. And if that was the end of the album, nobody would be complaining.

There is a second disc though with a further 20 minutes of music. Was that strictly necessary? Probably not, but it does contain one really good song, We Were Always Here. Elsewhere we have a return of the House of Cards theme, Spirals which reprises some of the earlier themes, especially from Miracles For America, and a nice little busking style outro, but in all honesty, one disc would have been enough. A minor gripe!

So overall, as I said at the start, if you’re a fan, you’ll love it. It’s not going to trouble their career highlights such as Stardust We Are, but it’s better than many others. I think on the strength of Waiting For Miracles the band may yet have one more solid gold classic album in them. For now, this will do just fine, and I very much recommend catching them when they return to these shores later in the year.

TRACK LISTING
Disc 1

01. House of Cards (1:58)
02. Black Flag (7:42)
03. Miracles For America (10:03)
04. Vertigo (9:59)
05. The Bridge (5:32)
06. Ascending to the Stars (5:45)
07. Wicked Old Symphony (5:47)
08. The Rebel Circus (5:50)
09. Sleep With The Enemy (6:02)
10. The Crowning of Greed (4:50)

Time – 63:28

Disc 2
01. House of Cards Reprise (1:21)
02. Spirals (5:06)
03. Steampunk (6:34)
04. We Were Always Here (7:35)
05. Busking At Brobank (0:52)

Time – 21:28

Total Time – 84:56

MUSICIANS
Roine Stolt: Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
Hasse Fröberg: Lead & Backing Vocals
Zach Kamins: Keyboards, Guitar
Jonas Reingold: Bass
Mirko DeMaio: Drums, Percussion
~ with:
Michael Stolt – Bass, Vocals
John “Zach” Dellinger – Viola
Paul Cartwright – Violin

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: InsideOut Music
Country of Origin: Sweden
Date of Release: 8th November 2019

LINKS
The Flower Kings – Website | Facebook
Roine Stolt – Website | Facebook | Twitter

Edition 181 of THE PROG MILL for Progzilla Radio (401 in total), first broadcast 27 October 2019, is now also available to stream on demand or download as a mp3 file. Another two hours of superb melodic and symphonic progressive rock, old and brand spanking new. A chance to win the new Fearful Symmetry album (if listening prior to the closing date) and the latest review from our friends at The Progressive Aspect.

This Week’s Playlist

1 Comedy of Errors – Spirit (Spirit)
2 Barock Project – Ashes (Seven Seas)
3 Cellar Noise – Her (Nautilus)
4 Millenium – Someone’s Feet Will Cover the Traces (The Web)
5 Clepsydra – When The Bells Started Ringing (The Gap)
6 Fearful Symmetry – City of Art (Louder than Words)
7 Sundaysong – Firechild (Signals)
8 Glorious Wolf – For You and I (Zodiac)
9 a2RK – Glenmore (Just You and I) (Morlich)
10 The Tea Club – If I Mean When (If/When)
11 Phil Lanzon – Mind Over Matter (If You Think I’m Crazy)
12 King Crimson – Cat Food (In The Wake of Poseidon/A Young Persons Guide to King Crimson)
13 Emerson Lake and Palmer – Knife Edge (Emerson Lake and Palmer)
14 XTC – Ball and Chains (English Settlement)
15 Bruce Soord – All This Will Be Yours (All This Will Be Yours)

You can hear The Prog Mill on Progzilla Radio at these times every week (www.progzilla.com/listen – via the tune in radio app and on internet radios):

Sundays 10pm – Midnight UK (2200UTC) – main broadcast
Tuesdays 0300-0500 UK (0300UTC) – For North America – Mon 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern
Tuesdays 2300-0100UK (2300 UTC) – 1500 Pacific/1800 Eastern
Saturdays 6-8pm UK (1800 UTC) – Family friendly Saturday evening repeat

Your melodic and symphonic progressive rock music suggestions for the show are very welcome. Just email shaun@progzilla.com, or message via twitter @shaunontheair or facebook.com/theprogmill

NEXT WEEK: Another Prog Mill CD Giveaway! Win a SIGNED copy on CD of the stunning new Kaprekar’s Constant album Depth of Field.

I am pleased to inform the 1000’s of avid Progzilla Radio listeners, that Show No 120 from The Ancient One is now available as a podcast. This is one of the series entitled “Tall Tales” and is a long track show. This is Vol 7 in the series.

Playlist

1 The Nice – Brandenburger (excerpt used as the Intro..from The Immediate Collection)
2 Lazleitt – A Furtive Shelter Pts 1-9 (Perpetually Under Idle Grounds 2019)
3 Malady – Nurja Puoli (Toinen Tosta 2018)
4 Roine Stolt – Humanizzimo (The Flower King 1994)
5 Galasphere 347 – The Fallen Angel (Galasphere 347 2018)
6 Adventure – The Beacon Of Light Pt 1-4 (Beacon Of Light 2009)
7 Caravan – Nine Feet Underground Pt 1-8 ( In The Land Of Grey And Pink 1971)
8 Fish – High Wood Suite Pt 1-5 (A Feast of Consequences 2013)
9 Clepsydra – When The Bells Start Ringing ( The Gap 2019)
10 The Nice – Brandenburger (excerpt used as the Outro..from The Immediate Collection)

Tales From The Tiger Moth

Edition 106

Broadcast 26th October 2019

Red Bazar – Miasma Of The North
Texle – Ambitious
The Tangent – The Sad Story of Lead and Astatine
Materya – Stella Splendens
Buzz Elliott – Tubula Bells (Mike Oldfield Cover)
Quint Starky – Sarah
I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again – The Julie Andrews Dirty Song Book
David Bowie – Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud
David Gilmour – Take A Breath
Kornmo – Taiga
Charlie Cawood – The Divine Abstract- The Earth’s Answer
Big Big |Train – Roman Stone
Tiger Moth Tales – The Fountain Of Salmacis (Genesis Cover)
A Formal Horse – Lonely Doe Young Doe
Grand Tour – Slumber Sweetly
Genesis – Harold the Barrel
Stanley Holloway – Recumbent Posture
It Bites – Fanfare
It Bites – Turn Me Loose

KRAZZ LOFT VINYL SHOW

Broadcast 27th October 2019

1.   Devil’s Den Jefferson Starship
2.   If It Doesn’t Come Naturally, Leave It Al Stewart
3.   Sheep Strawbs
4.   Helix (fade sustained note quickly) Phideaux
5.   The Poet/After The Day Barclay James Harvest
6.   Procession/Story In Your Eyes (fade fast) Moody Blues
7.   Fancy Nancy Black Oak Arkansas
8.   Bouganvillia Dickey Betts
9.   Simple Sister Procol Harum w/Robin Trower
AUTUMN 6-PACK
10.               Leaves That Are Green Simon And Garfunkel
11.               Autumn Edgar Winter Group
12.               Forever Autumn Jeff Wayne
13.               Ramble On Led Zeppelin
14.               California Dreamin’ Mamas & The Papas
15.               Moondance Van Morrison
16.               Gravedigger New York Rock & Roll Ensemble
17.               When We Were Young This Winter Machine
18.               Blind Feeling Gary Wright
19.               Blowin’ Free Wishbone Ash
20.               Rocky Road Montrose
21.               Sorceress Return To Forever
22.               I Got It Right This Time Dave Valentin
SLIDE INTO A SIDE: COMEDY OF ERRORS FANFARE & FANTASY (Side 1)
23.               Fanfare For The Broken Hearted Comedy Of Errors
24.               Something She Said Comedy Of Errors
Featuring the Female Vocalists
25.               Ready Or Not Little Days
26.               Now There is No Love At All Judy Tzuke
27.               Fire and Ice Pat Benatar
28.               Long Distance Winner Lindsey Buckingham /Stevie Nicks
29.               Up On The Roof Carole King
30.               You’re Opening Doors Budgie
31.               Get Down and Get With It Slade
32.               Slow Down Beatles
33.               The Sky Is Crying George Thorogood & Delaware Destroyers
34.               The Crunge Led Zeppelin
35.               Monkey In Your Soul Steeley Dan
36.               Barbary Coast Weather Report
37.               All Along the Watchtower Michael Hedges
38.               Citadel Ay Bobo Bernie Krause
39.               The Other Side Of Life Moody Blues
40.               White Russian Marillion
41.               Valley Talitha Rise
42.               A Glimpse of Eternity (long intro) Green Desert Tree
43.               Holdin’ On To Yesterday Ambrosia
44.               Midnight Man James Gang
45.               Question 67/68 Chicago Transit Authority

 

 

If you want to get in touch with Alan about requests or the show please use

Krazzloft@yahoo.com

Blue Öyster Cult – The Marshall Plan

Black Oak Arkansas – Hot and Nasty (live)

Zonder Wehrkamp – Its Not The End

Blue Öyster Cult – Magna of Illusion

Fifth Species – Lines

Seven Side Diamond – Castle of Illusion

Blue Coupe – More Cowbell

Blue Öyster Cult – X-Ray Eyes

Iluvatar – In The Eye

District 97 – Learn From Danny

Salem Hill – The Joy Gem

Blue Öyster Cult – Wings Wetted Down

Jellyfish – Russian Hill

Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American

Blue Öyster Cult – The Vigil

Blue Mammoth – Stories Of A King 3: Lonely Flight (excerpt)

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2019/10/27/led-bib-its-morning/

The long-running U.K. exploratory-jazz-rock collective known as Led Bib awake to a new dawn with their latest album, It’s Morning, a fraught message struggling to leave the sender, transmitted into the hectic world in which we live. We find less of the wild and energetic skronking the band are known for left mostly under the covers. Opener Atom Story sees singer Sharron Fortnam (North Sea Radio Orchestra, etc.) stretching languorously before the rising sun, and “as song forms, story’s told”. Awakened, we set off on the morning commute, straight into the worldly funk of Stratford East, and witness a journey through the hinterland of U.K. jazz-funk, accompanied by some fine call and response sax blowing from Chris Williams and Pete Grogan. Sharron’s clear and considered tones singing fellow vocalist Jack Hues’ lyric, which muses on layers of the past buried under modern brutalism, make for a nice contrast with the powerful blowing and charging rhythms beneath her voice.

Centrepiece of the album is the 11-minute Fold, a gently unfurling abstract flower of improvised urban cosmic ambience that captivates in its intricacy. Slow rumblings and hints of jazz meeting psychedelia presage the entry of what seems like unstructured rhythm from band leader and drummer Mark Holub. These variegated strands gradually resolve themselves into the less anarchic end of the free jazz spectrum, before floating away into the cosmos on the back of Sharron’s unexpected vocal. Quite an unusual composition!

The addition of vocalists to the Led Bib oeuvre adds another dimension to their sound, and the subsequent messing around with conventional conceptions of songcraft is something that works well. One of those songs, and possibly the highlight of It’s Morning for me is To Dry In The Rain, a beguiling, lovelorn and lost melancholy ballad building to an instrumental climax that splashes defiantly through puddles, rising above the grey day, certain that “I don’t need eyes to know where you are”, before returning to base to stare wistfully out the rain-splattered window, musing “I’m so far away from home”, courtesy of Elliot Galvin’s lonesome piano. Lovely!

Mark Holub says of the accompanying live show, “I’m hoping people will be transported somewhere else”, an ambition enhanced in the live environment by a concert length film* by Dylan Pecora. As a piece of music, I find It’s Morning has already achieved its ambition, and I hope anyone reading this not familiar with the band will give it a listen. Some folk are instantly put off by the “jazz” label, but this music deserves so much more than a label. Put simply, it’s just great music, and good for the soul.

[*Multi-media matinee album launch show featuring cinematic projections at RIO Cinema, Dalston, London on Sunday 24th November 2019.]

TRACK LISTING
01. Atom Story (2:47)
02. Stratford East (5:32)
03. It’s Morning (0:39)
04. Fold (11:08)
05. Cutting Room Floor (3:54)
06. To Dry In The Rain (6:43)
07. O (4:40)
08. Flood Warning (3:30)
09. Set Sail (1:28)

Total Time – 41:23

MUSICIANS
Sharron Fortnam – Vocals
Chris Williams – Alto Saxophone
Pete Grogan – Alto & Tenor Saxophone
Elliot Galvin – Keyboards & Piano
Liran Donin – Bass, Backing Vocals (track 2)
Mark Holub – Drums
~ with:
Jack Hues – Vocals
Susanna Gartmayer – Bass Clarinet
Irene Kepl – Violin
Noid – Cello

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: RareNoise Records
Formats: CD | Digital | Vinyl
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 27th September 2019

LINKS
Led Bib – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Led Bib at RareNoise

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2019/10/26/van-morrison-three-chords-the-truth/

While most rock stars in their 70s are content to release a new album or go on another ‘Greatest Hits’ tour once in a blue moon, Van Morrison, who most likely was the inspiration for many of them, continues to produce albums at a furious rate. Three Chords & the Truth, released on CD, vinyl and digital download on 25th October, will be his 41st solo album, his sixth in just 4 years, and, quite frankly, stands up there with his best!

To maintain his workaholic output, 74-year-old Morrison has mixed a few new compositions in with blues standards on his most recent albums, but Three Chords contains 14 original songs of the highest order, capturing the warmth and feel of the early classics by which every other Van Morrison album is judged: Astral Weeks, Moondance and Tupelo Honey.

Three Chords & the Truth finds Morrison in reflective mood with every track produced and written by Van, with the exception of If We Wait for Mountains which was co-written with Don Black.

The opening track, March Winds In February, has a beautiful warm feel, immediately evoking comparisons with the mellow songs on those early albums. The only fly in the entire album’s ointment is the irritating ring of a bell which had me reaching in my pocket for my phone. No doubt, with the endless plays this album will get, I may come to get used to it.

Fame Will Eat the Soul is Morrison’s take on Hollywood and the entertainment business and features a duet with The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley, pooling their collective experience. The message to the ambitious is “Fame will eat your soul until your heart breaks”, and, when you make the grade… “Can’t get control when every clown wants to take you down”.

The first track released from the album is Dark Night of the Soul, a mid-paced bluesy number reflecting on life’s hard-learned lessons: “Sitting here but I didn’t plan it, well the plans of mice and men have gone astray”. Vocally, Morrison is still at the top of his game, the years have been kind to The Man and Dark Night gives him the vehicle to indulge in the vocal gymnastics that characterised many of his early songs.

You Don’t Understand is a slower, moody track in the classic blues mould, while In Search of Grace looks back to a love lost in the ’60s and one of several tracks to feature the legendary guitarist Jay Berliner who worked with Morrison on Astral Weeks.

Nobody In Charge is a pacey shuffle, a take on today’s politics, and the tempo accelerates as Morrison remembers his rock and roll influences on Early Days. The lively rocker features some tasty boogie-woogie piano and lots of style cues from the fifties.

Three Chords & the Truth was a phrase used by the late songwriter Harlan Howard to define a great country song. Morrison adds ‘a shot of rhythm and blues’ to the country feel of the title track and then follows with a proper tongue-in-cheek country ditty, Bags Under My Eyes; “When am I gonna get wise?” The final number is Days Gone By, with a Celtic flavour which borrows heavily from Auld Lang Syne.

“You’re just plugging into the feeling of it, more the feeling of it when they’re playing…” Van Morrison said, explaining what it was like to record the album. “It’s like reading me. So, I think there’s more of that connection.” It’s a connection well worth making.

Van Morrison, (c) Bradley Quinn 2019

TRACK LISTING
01. March Winds In February (4:35)
02. Fame Will Eat the Soul (4:51)
03. Dark Night of the Soul (5:56)
04. In Search of Grace (3:42)
05. Nobody In Charge (4:13)
06. You Don’t Understand (6:18)
07. Read Between the Lines (3:42)
08. Does Love Conquer All? (4:43)
09. Early Days (3:41)
10. If We Wait for Mountains (2:42)
11. Up On Broadway (6:23)
12. Three Chords and the Truth (5:00)
13. Bags Under My Eyes (4:06)
14. Days Gone By (7:43)

Total Time – 67:35

MUSICIANS
Van Morrison – Vocals
~ With:
Jay Berliner – Guitar
Bill Medley – Vocals (on Fame Will Eat the Soul)
John Allair – Keyboards
Dave Keary – Bouzouki
David Hayes – Bass
Bobby Ruggiero – Drums

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Exile/Caroline International
Catalogue#: 0801663
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 25th October 2019

LINKS
Van Morrison – Website | Facebook

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/bandcamp-undercover/bandcamp-undercover-hybridism/

Belgium-based djent/progressive metal group Hybridism was formed in 2018 by guitarists Jeffrey Wallace and Alex Kpp, bassist Mulli Mulles, and drummer Lucas Billon.

Hybridism” is the band’s six-track debut EP. There are plenty of brutal parts and plenty of technical parts, but it is the atmospheric touches that make this release stand out from the very busy flow of new albums coming out in the technical, prog metal genre at the moment. They paint a dreamy, strange landscape with their instruments. “Hybridism” sounds very much like its title. Absolutely great stuff. “Nova,” “Glitch,” and closing “Delirium” are perhaps my favourites on a rather even album.

Check the record on Bandcamp here.

Hybridism links:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

The post [Bandcamp Undercover] Hybridism – S/T appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/bandcamp-undercover/bandcamp-undercover-hybridism/

Belgium-based djent/progressive metal group Hybridism was formed in 2018 by guitarists Jeffrey Wallace and Alex Kpp, bassist Mulli Mulles, and drummer Lucas Billon.

Hybridism” is the band’s six-track debut EP. There are plenty of brutal parts and plenty of technical parts, but it is the atmospheric touches that make this release stand out from the very busy flow of new albums coming out in the technical, prog metal genre at the moment. They paint a dreamy, strange landscape with their instruments. “Hybridism” sounds very much like its title. Absolutely great stuff. “Nova,” “Glitch,” and closing “Delirium” are perhaps my favourites on a rather even album.

Check the record on Bandcamp here.

Hybridism links:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

The post [Bandcamp Undercover] Hybridism – S/T appeared first on Prog Sphere.