This news story was originally published here:

Leah McHenry is a Gothic Celtic singer from British Columbia, Canada. I have reviewed her albums in the past so when I found out she had a new album coming out, The Quest, I knew I had to hear it.

Leah’s music is perfect for this time of year, when the clouds surround the Sound, the leaves begin to change color, and the nights become darker and chillier. It’s time to bring out The Lord of the Rings Blu-rays and celebrate fall, and The Quest draws perfectly on themes from the The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and the Chronicles of Narnia lore. 

For The Quest Leah has brought together an international cast of top–notch musicians, including master of the Celtic pipes Troy Donockley. On the title song Leah’s voice sounds so similar to fellow Canadian Loreena McKennitt that you might not be able to tell the difference. The soft, calm way she opens the song is like dew on a fog covered morning on the moors, slowly lighting with the sun’s rays. Orchestration takes over with the sounds of pipes, flutes and stringed instruments, like The Lord of the Rings reaching out for the fall and roaring to life again. But Leah is not Loreena McKennitt, and the heavy metal bass, lead guitar and drums make their presence known. Beautiful piano remains as the song reaches triumphantly towards a climax with Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon-like thunder and power mixed well with McKennitt beauty. It’s the best song on the album to open.

Edge of Your Sword is one of the first singles released from the album, opening with birdsong, Leah humming beautifully to the accompaniment of guitar. The soft beginning is soon overwhelmed with heavy drums, bass and keys, before the guitars and strings return. Leah’s beautiful a capella vocal harmonies towards the end of the song are some of the best on the album.

Lion Arises opens with far off lead guitar, deep bass and drums. The guitar drift is one of the coolest fade ins on the album, arriving as if from across the ocean. Leah’s voice is delicate and wonderful throughout this song as golden keys surround her words. The keyboards just past midway are excellent, then metal guitars take over with thunder drums and bass.

Heir is another powerful heavy metal fortress of sound, guitars, drums and bass filling the air. Legends and lore fill the air as Leah sings with magical keyboards and Celtic woodwinds. Ruins of Illusion is another wonderful McKennitt inspired song with Celtic woodwinds, soft drums and violins with lyrics reflecting the Irish countryside, all amid orchestration that surrounds you with the feeling of being there. A song full of wonder. Labyrinth opens with strong drums and soft keys, along with more Celtic woodwinds and Leah’s voice sounding like Clannad. Powerful drums and lead guitar make for a memorable track.

Abyss opens with cool, unique keyboards, lead guitar, bass and drums. Woodwinds and keyboards join in to build a soundscape of majestic tranquillity. Epic guitar work also fills this song. When the Celtic sounds and heavy metal compete you get one of the most memorable moments of the album. Oblivion (Between Two Worlds) starts with beautiful piano, woodwinds and soft orchestration, Leah singing, “I stand between two worlds. There is no middle ground for me”. Just perfect, another of the best songs on the album.

Ghost Upon A Throne is full of monster guitar, bass and drums, Leah’s soft voice the only interlude from the thunder and orchestration surrounding. The Water is Wide has Leah singing with woodwinds surrounding, her voice echoing like she’s in a valley in Scotland, on this Scottish folk song classic.

With album artwork by Jan Yrlund, go out now, during fall in the Northern Hemisphere, and enjoy this album full of fall images and sounds. The assembled legendary artists that felt compelled to participate on this album, lending their musicianship to its beauty and power, is worth the price of admission alone. One of my favourite albums of the year, and the best of the fall so far.

01. The Quest (10:19)
02. Edge of Your Sword (5:02)
03. Lion Arises (4:41)
04. Heir (4:09)
05. Ruins of Illusion (4:19)
06. Labyrinth (5:16)
07. Abyss (5:34)
08. Oblivion (Between Two Worlds) (5:06)
09. Ghost Upon A Throne (4:31)
10. The Water is Wide (3:19)

Total Time – 52:16

LEAH – Vocals, Keyboards, Orchestration
Troy Donockley – Pipes & Flutes
Barend Courbois – Bass Guitar
Timo Somers – Rhythm & Lead Guitars
Sander Zoer – Drums & Percussion
Chen Balbus – Middle Eastern Saz & Oud

Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Canada
Date of Release: 5th October 2018

Leah – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

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Two-time Grammy-nominated and millions-selling progressive music titans Dream Theater announce the forthcoming worldwide release of their 14th studio album, ‘Distance Over Time’ on 22nd February 2019. ‘Distance Over Time’ showcases a newfound creativity for Dream Theater while maintaining the elements that have garnered them devoted fans around the globe. The album also marks the first for the band’s new label InsideOutMusic / Sony Music. The artwork was created by long-time cover collaborator Hugh Syme (Rush, Iron Maiden, Stone Sour). ‘Distance Over Time’ was produced by John Petrucci, mixed by Ben Grosse and mastered by Tom Baker.

When I listen back to the album, I can distinctly recall every moment of the writing process; where I was standing in the room, what inspired us in that instant and the meaning behind each song. As a producer, my goal was to try and create the best-sounding Dream Theater record we’ve ever made so that listeners can just be enveloped in the music. I really wanted this recording to truly reflect the spirit, joy and passion that went into making the album and for people to walk away feeling some of the organic nature, personality and raw energy that the band captured while together in the studio. For me, I think it accomplishes that and I hope that other people will feel the same way,” explains John Petrucci.

In June 2018, Dream Theater secluded themselves in a private location in upstate New York to begin writing for the new record. While spending the summer living together in the property’s adjacent residence, the band spent their days and nights crafting the music that would make up the new album in the ‘Yonderbarn’; a beautiful and spacious barn that had been meticulously transformed into a state-of-the art film and recording studio. Following an intense & extremely productive period of group writing sessions and wanting to retain the magic that was captured in this scenic and inspiring location, they decided to record the album in the very room they had all convened to write together in. Living together during the writing and recording for ‘Distance Over Time’ marked another first for the band’s 33-year career. The result is a heavier collection of songs that showcases the early roots of the band while exploring new territory as musicians and as friends.

It was like going back to summer camp,” adds James LaBrie. “Being around each other the whole time made it that much more of a profound experience. I think the songs reflect the energy. It was a lot of fun to have a situation so powerful at this point in our career.

It has been 3 years since Dream Theater released new music. To announce the details of the brand new album, Dream Theater enlisted the help of one lucky contest winner to break the news of the record to the loyal fans of the band. An Alternate Reality Game was launched that encompassed a “treasure hunt” whereby fans were able to search for clues hidden in various photos, videos, social media posts, and more. Ultimately, one lucky winner was given access to content before everyone else including the release date and cover artwork, and the winner would be the one to share the first taste of never before heard music. Listen to that first teaser here:

Dream Theater is also planning to hit the road in support of the new album. The ‘Distance Over Time’ Tour of North America was recently announced and kicks off on March 20, 2019 in San Diego, CA. The tour will run for seven weeks before wrapping up in Mexico City on May 4, 2019.
Information on tickets for all upcoming shows as well as VIP packages can be found at More tour dates for the worldwide tour will be announced in the near future.

Progressive metal pioneers Dream Theater — James LaBrie (Vocals), John Petrucci (Guitars), Jordan Rudess (Keyboards), John Myung (Bass), and Mike Mangini (Drums) — share a unique bond with one of the most passionate fan bases around the globe as evidenced by their two GRAMMY® Award nominations and 15 million records sold worldwide. The 1992 opus Images & Words received a gold certification and landed on Rolling Stone’s coveted “100 Greatest Metal Albums of All-Time.” Guitar World placed the follow-up Awake at #1 on “Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994.” 1996’s A Change of Seasons notably soundtracked NBC’s coverage of Downhill Skiing at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Fans voted the 1999 Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory the “Number One All-Time Progressive Rock Album” in a 2012 Rolling Stone poll. Not to mention, it ranked as the “15th Greatest Concept Album” by Classic Rock. 2009 saw Black Clouds & Silver Linings crash the Billboard Top 200 at #6 as A Dramatic Turn of Events [2011] and Dream Theater [2013] maintained a three-peat in the chart’s Top 10. Consequence of Sound dubbed 2016’s The Astonishing, “An absolutely unique experience.” Beyond three platinum and two gold videos, the group was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2010. On its 14th full-length and first release for InsideOutMusic / Sony Music, Distance Over Time, the band recharge the brotherhood that has kept them creating music together for over 30 years. It’s Dream Theater at their most dynamic, direct, and definitive.

In 2018, InsideOutMusic have been celebrating 25 years as one of the leading labels worldwide for progressive music and is part of the Century Media Label Group, a division of Sony Music.

Dream Theater is:
James LaBrie – Lead Vocals
John Petrucci – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Jordan Rudess – Keyboards
John Myung – Bass Guitars
Mike Mangini – Drums, Percussion

Find Dream Theater online:


This news story was originally published here:

This, from the official press release: “… a dramatic shift into more accessible territory: pop, electronica, rock & even folk elements …”

I’ve been honoured and able to call Sam Healy my friend for a couple of years. This wasn’t the intention when I calmly suggested his first solo project, Sand, was the best album I’ve heard in the 21st Century. When I finally met this talented man at a low-key North Atlantic Oscillation gig in Birmingham 3½ years ago, I soon learned that we had very similar senses of humour; he had an inventive, playful mind that wasn’t scared to juxtapose an obvious position. Or… he was quite mad.

I mention this, not because I want to be seen as a namedropper, or to shoehorn in the fact I still rate the first Sand album very highly, I mention it because Healy is a bit of a joker and I’m really not sure why the press release is worded that way… You see, I am a North Atlantic Oscillation champion and I believe they should have a far bigger audience than they have. The thing is, NAO to me are pop, rock, folk electronica – that’s pretty much how I ‘sell’ them to people (and probably 50% of the reason those people never follow my advice). So reading a press release that suggests the band are moving into that direction sat uncomfortably with me, because, on initial listens, Grind Show is quite possibly the least accessible of their albums, so far.

North Atlantic Oscillation is now Healy alone. That also bothered me. I was a firm believer that former bassist Chris Howard grounded him and made him aware of real music. Sam once told me that Chris was the guy who introduced him to a lot of his later musical influences; introduced him to the classic rock and prog that I grew up with and hear in NAO’s work. I also believed Ben Martin’s drumming was one of the reasons they had such a unique sound; often described as sounding a bit like The Flaming Lips, I’d call that comparison bullshit, apart from the way Ben smashed his drum kit like there was no tomorrow. Armed with the knowledge that both had left the band to pursue other dreams also filled me with an uncertain dread.

Let’s get this out there: I thought the band would feel a little incomplete without the missing members – yet their influences are there to be heard, even if they were not there in recording. I listen to it and I’d argue with Sam until the coos come hame that Grind Show is actually a departure from more ‘accessible territory’; to me it’s more like a post-modern post-rock album. I still see those similar and familiar influences, but performed now in a more ‘personal’ way. It still has that ‘epic’ feel the last two albums particularly had, yet in many ways it feels as stripped back as Grappling Hooks, but now with the influence of age and experience. This really isn’t a bad thing because the brilliance of individual musicians (or musician) tends to be easier to detect.

My initial impression was it’s more like a follow-up to Sand’s second album A Sleeper, Just Awake, probably down to the more electronic feel and the use of effects to conjure up uncertain atmospherics. However, Healy employs a lot of different vocal styles, testing his range, experimenting with new sounds. He really hits his stride with Sequoia, the ninth track, it’s the first track that truly allows Healy to stretch those brilliant vocals… he has a wonderful voice – like a mix of Cat Stevens, Peter Gabriel, Mark Hollis, Art Garfunkel, Scott Walker and Jimmy Krankie – and this is the first time in the album that he really gets to belt one out. That’s not to say he doesn’t stretch his pipes sooner, it’s just the track that shows you how powerful his voice can be.

You know the expression, ‘It’s a grower’? Well, Grind Show is exactly that. It isn’t accessible; I believe it’s the least immediate album by the ‘band’ so far, but what it lacks in some areas it makes up in others by being wildly inventive, unexpected and quite beautiful. Parts of tracks that I found jarring on initial listens now make so much more sense; there’s a distinct Miles Davis jazziness to the album that makes the sometimes in-yer-face electronic bits fit in with the customary cushioned wall of sound you normally associate the band with.

When you produce music as complex and intense as this, Talk Talk can never be too far from creative comparisons. NAO might currently be just Sam, but he has had a lot of production help from Pete Meighan, the Dublin-based producer who has worked with the band before and was instrumental (literally) on Healy’s solo efforts. Their relationship, to me, resembles the one between Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis and his producer friend Tim Freise-Greene – and look what music those two geniuses went on to create?

In conclusion; I’m in an unenviable position: what if I thought the album really was shit? I have a preview because I’m a fan [who writes great reviews] and a friend; does that put pressure on me to be kind? Would I be? Well, I did really think ‘WTF?’ the first time I heard it, but as stated above, more because it wasn’t what I expected and because I disagreed with the ‘accessible’ claim. Besides, what does a fan truly expect anyhow? I often wonder if aficionados and die-hard fans just want their favourite bands to do their favourite tracks – constantly repackaged or reworked so they don’t have to think about new songs, directions or ideas. I was the same; I approached this album with more dread than anticipation because… What if I didn’t like it?

If anything, in my mind NAO have become more uncategorisable than they were last week. If this album came out under the Radiohead banner there would be priapic rock DJs poking each others’ eyes out trying to be the most enthused about it; but it’s by a little known bloke in Edinburgh (originally from Ireland) who already has a back catalogue with more brilliance and invention than most rock stars can muster in their entire careers; so it’s probably never going to get the recognition it deserves (at least, not yet).

Grind Show is sublime. If The Third Day was velvet, this is felt – smooth but with a rougher edge. It’s full of atmospherics, feeling, diversity and invention. In many ways it’s haunting while being uplifting; happy while reflecting on sadness. And, I will concede it feels more like a rock album, but I don’t quite know why. I hope it’s going to attract many new fans, but if it doesn’t I feel sorry for all those people who don’t get what I do.

The test of a great album is how long it stays on your record player; The Third Day was played just last week (not even in anticipation of this new project); I don’t know if Grind Show will be played in 2022 as much as The Third Day has been since 2014, but at the moment I really hope so.

[You can pre-order Grind Show now on CD/MP3/WAV HERE and receive Low Earth Orbit as an immediate download.

Also, you can read Phil Hall’s interview with Sam Healy HERE.]

01. Low Earth Orbit (5:22)
02. Weedkiller (5:44)
03. Fruitful Little Moons (4:05)
04. Needles (4:43)
05. Spinning Top (4:00)
06. Sirens (6:36)
07. Hymn (5:47)
08. Downriver (6:56)
09. Sequoia (3:35)
10. Fernweh (7:15)
11. kcenrebbur (1:19)

Total Time – 55:22

Ben Martin – Drums, Synths, Programming
Sam Healy – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Programming

Record Label: Vineland Music
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 16th November 2018

North Atlantic Oscillation – Website | Facebook | Twitter

This news story was originally published here:

With the new North Atlantic Oscillation album, Grind Show, about to hit the shops on 16th November, Phil Hall was asked by TPA to stalk the band and discover their innermost secrets. Unfortunately, there’s only one of them left – Sam Healy – and he was well-protected…

Sam Healy - photo by John NeedWhen did NAO become just you?

It was a gradual thing. No dramatic breakup, no furniture tossed out of a fourth floor window. I had decided a few years ago to scale back live performing, and my writing and recording process has always been relatively solitary.

I might be a bit close to all of this – being a fan of both – but how do you differentiate NAO from Sand stuff?

Good question. The distinction might feel arbitrary from the outside, but I always know whether I’m working as one or the other. I tend to focus on one album at a time, so there’s no internal slippage of identity.

Now that you’re on your own, what about Sand?

I’m quietly confident that there’ll be more.

You’ve said [to me elsewhere] there was no intention to do any touring; is it something you’re not keen on or is it purely too much of a chore for little return? And would you ever consider doing a stripped down Sam Healy solo/unplugged kind of thing?

I’ve never ruled it out, but translating such annoyingly complicated material from record to stage, without sacrificing detail, requires a lot of work. I’m not an avid fan of unplugged or acoustic interpretations but (co-producer and engineer) Pete and I have discussed a few oblique strategies for hacking together some kind of live facsimile.

How many songs on Grind Show came perfectly formed in your head, or are NAO songs constructed rather than already formed?

Zero. At most. A few (Sirens, Needles, Low Earth Orbit) were reasonably quick to yield their fruits, others were like pulling teeth out of a larger tooth.

This brings me to one of those long and rambly sensible questions I occasionally have: Many years ago, for my sins, I met Genesis (when they were a 3 piece) and I asked them about one of my favourite tracks on their then current And Then There Were Three album [1978 – I was 16] and each of them basically said, “I haven’t heard the track since we recorded it” or a version of such. This disappointed me at the time because I thought ‘they’re treating this like a job not as something to be celebrated’. How often do you listen to old NAO and Sand stuff? If it isn’t as much as a reader would expect, is it because you’re too close to it and at what point do you go, ‘I think I’ll play Grappling Hooks’…?

Very seldom, though not never. By the final stages of making ‘thing X’, I’m itching to start ‘thing X+1’, to the point where it takes much self-corralling to finish ‘thing X’. I’ve never ever listened to an old album of mine from start to finish. I’ll sometimes accidentally hear an individual song, think either “hmmm, that’s actually not as bad as I remember” or “wow, that’s considerably worse than I remember”, and then get back to work.

What was inspiration for calling the album Grind Show?

It’s in the lyrics of the final track, Fernweh.

Yes, I’m aware of that even if people reading this aren’t, and I’m aware that previous titles have appeared in lyrics – is this as simple as it is? You call an album whatever you really like from the written lyrics?

The title always comes dead last. But it tends to come easily.

I expected to hear some kind of farmyard animal making an appearance, but instead there’s a blast of something distinctly 1920s flapper in there. This isn’t really a question, just a heads up that I hear your madness…

The turkeys unionised and got too expensive, so I hired a chorus line instead.

Sam Healy - photo by John NeedWhat was the thought process behind the bonus track?

Wait… There’s a bonus track? It’s a fragment from an abandoned song that couldn’t stand up on its own, but sounded about right as a mangled remnant.

On the track listing of the version you sent me it’s down as track 99, which suggested to me it was going to be hidden away at the end of the CD. I thought kcenrebbuR was simply just an unfinished piece played backwards, but it’s not as simple as that (having now played it backwards), neither is the beginning of Sirens, which explains why you would find it so difficult to tour this album without a small studio of cassette players.

Yes, the two elements are connected. There are always solutions to playing complicated studio material live. If we need to, we’ll hire a troupe of bonobo chimpanzees to play the cassette players at the crucial moment, in exchange for fermented durian juice.

I noticed a real attempt at different vocal styles, especially on Downriver, which seems to use variation through your vocals rather than through instruments; are you trying to do something different with your voice?

I suppose so. I get very frustrated with the limitations of my voice, and typically go through a process of trying various options, realising they sound even worse, and reverting to type. Maybe this time I left some of the botched experiments on show…

As someone who has forged a career in music since the digital revolution, would you say you write a lot of your music for the iPhone generation? I noticed an almost lack of bass on this album – I know it’s there, but (my wife) likens your music to being written for people who don’t know what a proper record player is – that isn’t a criticism as such; she, like me, is of a generation that grew up with organic music, whereas much of modern music relies too heavily on studio trickery, for things such as drums, horns or orchestral bits. I also see this as possibly the reasoning behind not taking it on tour, because even with the best musicians you won’t be able to replicate much of it without tapes and loops, etc.

By bass do you mean bass guitar? There’s plenty of low-end on the album, but yes, it’s largely synthesised. I listen to most music on headphones, and I do write from that perspective: music as a solitary, intense, meditative experience, not a communal one. Our live shows have always been as much machine as man – technology is capable of making art cold and impersonal, but only when overdone. There’s a Goldilocks zone between the analogue and the digital where magical things happen. Think Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, OK Computer, Wendy Carlos, Duncan Jones’ first film Moon, Terrence Malick’s umpteenth film The Tree of Life. None of which would be possible without the tech so blithely decried. In any case, how something makes you feel is blind to how it was made.

Are there any major influences at play with Grind Show? I’m presuming it isn’t a ‘concept’ album, although I did pick up some oblique political references in the lyrics?

They’re there, but they’re oblique. They must have slipped in when I wasn’t looking. It’s not surprising I suppose. The era of being able to legitimately ‘opt out’ of politics is long behind us. The world is so polarised now that to have no stance is to have a craven, lazy and callous stance.

Sam Healy - photo by John NeedWhat are the things that bother you about the music industry? I appreciate you are very much a lone person in a massive landscape of artists and styles, but you strike me, from our conversations, as someone who is in touch with an era you probably weren’t born in, as believing in the art of the album, in bands/artists having distinguishable catalogues?

A few years back I was angry about the usual things unsuccessful musicians get angry about. Spotify, piracy, autotune, godawful pop, the debasing of ingenuity in musical democratisation’s skanky wake. Now I struggle to feel much about the music industry at all. Some of the doomsaying turned out to be hysteria: the loudness wars appear to be over, a passionate fifth column still – mirabile dictu – pay for music, and there are teenagers in existence right now who love Nirvana, or Cardiacs, or Kate Bush, or John Coltrane. It’s a pretty rare event for me these days to find a Good New Album, but it does happen: Moses Sumney and Mitski Miyawaki, from the west and east coast of America respectively, have released excellent music in the past two years.

What are your folks and siblings into musically? I ask this because, if you’ve read the review I contested the Press Release’s suggestions of rock, pop, folk and electronic because I’ve always seen NAO as being exactly that. Always that rather than prog; for me NAO have always been progressive never prog…

I’ve never seen NAO as prog either. I knew next to nothing about the genre at all until our bass player Chris introduced me to early Yes and Genesis. We’re associated with it because Kscope is associated with it, but that’s as far as it goes. The closest brush I had as a nipper was my parents’ vinyl copy of Meddle by Pink Floyd. I remember being entranced by the groove and menace of One of These Days, and Echoes is a hell of a suite too. But I didn’t even know the word ‘prog’ back then. I knew ‘frog’, which is quite close.

What next? Apart from making cheesy memes and asking weirdly existential questions?

Combining the two into a new art form known as the pondergram.

The Blade thing you did at Leith Theatre – why? What was the reasoning behind it and was it just for there? Tell us more!?

It was a venue-specific one-off show commissioned by the Edinburgh International Film Festival. I was in charge of the digital side (projections, devices, games, live visuals). Here’s an overview of the components (click HERE).

Just out of interest, I heard your name associated with something called ‘Zeppo’ the other day?

It’s a band I was in back in the seventeenth century, in Dublin. We knocked out bangin’ madrigals on the latest Lautenwercks.

I’ve actually not asked what you do for a living when you’re not recording. I don’t know, do you?


Sam Healy - photo by John NeedYou love dogs, don’t you?

Without condition or end.

If there was a last question what would you like it to be?

“What would you do in a hypothetical situation?”

Okay then, what is the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked (in an interview, obvs)? And what would you do?

I have a vague memory of an interview with some trendy culture magazine, back in 2010 when people thought we were a real band. You know, with haircuts and opinions and so forth. It was a question about brands of shoes. I had no answer. It was awkward.

What would I do in a hypothetical situation? Draw a map that requires more than four colours to ensure that no two adjacent territories are the same colour.

And with that Sam disappeared into the fog settling over Edinburgh (or it might have been a bonfire) and left me with loads of words and an urge to go and listen to Moses Sumney…

[All photos by John Need and used with kind permission. You can read Phil Hall‘s review of Grind Show HERE.]

North Atlantic Oscillation – Website | Facebook | Twitter

Edition 130 of THE PROG MILL – first broadcast on Progzilla Radio on Sunday 4th November 2018, is now available to listen to anytime or download as a mp3 file.

Two hours of superb melodic and symphonic progressive rock including another CD Giveaway.

Here’s the playlist for this week…

1 Oak – We, The Drowned (False Memory Archive)
2 Sisare – Shattered (Leaving the Land)
3 Albion – Does Anybody Count (You’ll Be Mine)
4 Matthew Browning – Underneath The Willow Tree (Love and Grief)
5 Arena – Poisoned (Double Vision)
6 Huis – The Last Journey (Despite Guardian Angels)
7 Different Light – In Love and War… War (The Burden of Paradise)
8 Karcius – Something (The Fold)
9 Hats Off Gentlemen Its Adequate – Defiance (Out of Mind)
10 It Bites – Kiss Like Judas (Once Around The World)
11 Apostles of Chaos – Drifter (Single)
12 Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso – Moby Dick (I Piu Grandi Successi)
13 Projekt Gemineye – To Hope.. To Dream (Man of Science.. Man of Dreams)
14 Mystery – The Inner Journey Part 2 (Theatre of the Mind 2018)
15 Gryphon – Ashes (Reinvention)
16 Black River Union – Senseless Survival (Among The Faceless)
17 Genesis – Squonk (A Trick of the Tail)

If you missed the show – the podcast will be online shortly with links right here. You can also hear The Prog Mill every week at these times on Progzilla Radio ( + via the tune in radio app + internet radios)

Sundays 10pm – Midnight UK (2200UTC) – MAIN BROADCAST
Tuesdays 3-5am UK (0300UTC) – for North America (Mon 7pm Pacific and 10pm Eastern)
Tuesdays 11pm-1am UK (2300 UTC)
Saturdays 6-8pm UK (1800UTC) an nice easy time to listen during Saturday teatime

Back next Sunday from 10pm UK with another brand new Prog Mill full of melodic and symphonic progressive music and all being well yet ANOTHER CD Giveaway!

This news story was originally published here:

Pontardawe Arts Centre
Friday, 26th October 2018

At ‘Progressive Aspect Palace’ we like Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) – we like them a lot! This is our third PSB gig review within 12 months so perhaps we won’t go into our usual detail and just give some impressions on yet another impressive live performance for this unique band.

Their most recent album, Every Valley, was based on the history of the South Wales coal industry and those who worked so hard in the pits. They recorded in South Wales and used the Wales Miners Library in Swansea to help their research. The success of Every Valley has seen PSB reaching the point that they are able to hold a show at The Royal Albert Hall, and as a warm up to that prestigious gig, PSB chose to thank the communities of Wales, as they had been so helpful and welcoming during their research, with a series of small-scale gigs in towns across the principality, mainly in the mining areas of South Wales. It seems entirely appropriate that Every Valley has returned to its roots with a packed and sold out gig at the lovely venue of the Pontardawe Arts Centre where there is a special atmosphere.

PSB - photo by Leo Trimming

Every Valley is well represented in the show, commencing with the lyrical Welsh tones of Donald Houston (from the 1957 documentary of the same name), and Richard Burton’s rich voice speaking of the ‘arrogant strut of the Lords of the Coal face’. This quickly segues into a muscular performance of The Pit, with Wrigglesworth pounding out a powerful rhythm. Alongside him J.Wilgoose Esq handles guitars, banjo and synths with aplomb. Multi-instrumentalist JF Abraham on bass, keyboards, guitars and occasional horn skilfully completes the main trio for the evening. This very tight threesome produce an impressive array of sounds, with occasional appearances from an energetic horn section.

PSB - photo by Leo Trimming

Go to the Road, Progress, They Gave Me A Lamp and Mother of the Village from Every Valley provide an interesting and often powerful narrative in the middle of the show, touching on different aspects of the coal mining story, including the role of women in those communities. PSB’s use of sound clips and film footage has been described as ‘gimmicky’ in some quarters, but they are absolutely inseparable and fascinating, especially in a live context. Their show artfully marries sounds and images in captivating testimonies to the real people remembered in those visual and audio archives.

Whilst PSB clearly respect the material and human stories upon which they draw their inspirations they also crucially remember that they also need to entertain with their music, exemplified in fun numbers such as Theme from PSB and the popular and thrilling Spitfire, complete with the distinctive opening sounds of those stirring Merlin engines. New song White Star Liner, based on the story of the Titanic and written for the BBC ‘Biggest Weekend’ event in Belfast earlier this year, yet again shows PSB’s acumen at dealing with history in an entertaining and yet respectful manner – letting the real words tell the story against a subtle musical backdrop.

PSB - photo by Leo Trimming

The Race for Space album is amply represented with five songs (if EP song Korolev is considered to be from the same sessions) and really shows the range of the band’s music and the varying perspectives they take on a fascinating subject. The Other Side filled the room with expectancy and tension as Apollo 8 astronauts historically went round the ‘back side of the moon’ in 1968, followed by the celebratory clamour of Go! based on the moon landing in 1969, with the whole crowd repeatedly crying out ‘Go!’ The cosmic space funk of Gagarin, so memorably added to by the energetic horn trio and dancing astronauts, is a real fun way to encore the show. Rittipo, Street and Philpott seem equally adept at adding brio with their horn instruments, but are also able to add some pathos and feeling at other times.

Orgreave ManThe final Every Valley song of the evening is aptly titled All Out which chimes out with real power and anger, remembering the bitterness and conflict associated with the miners strike of 1984 to 1985. One concert goer, Ryan, had come all the way from Stoke proudly wearing his ‘Orgreave’ t-shirt especially to hear that powerful song and it clearly meant a lot to him, as it did to many others in the crowd in an area which was badly affected by that rather dreadful episode in modern British history.

Compared to their main tour shows this was a more modest affair, clearly somewhat restricted in terms of staging, effects and additional musicians by the smaller stage – however, it was still a special gig for Public Service Broadcasting, demonstrating and confirming their special relationship with Wales. J.Willgoose Esq indicates that whilst they are from South London they feel a real connection with South Wales, as evidenced by these specially arranged shows. PSB are developing into a truly special band, whom continue to mine rich seams of history. Their music and images imaginatively and sensitively tell the stories of real people at the centre of those events… and such a connection should indeed be valued and celebrated as it clearly was in Pontardawe on a memorable night.

  • PSB 8 - photo by Leo Trimming
  • PSB 7 - photo by Leo Trimming
  • PSB 6 - photo by Leo Trimming
  • PSB 6 - photo by Andy Langran
  • PSB 5 - photo by Leo Trimming
  • PSB 5 - photo by Andy Langran
  • PSB 4 - photo by Leo Trimming
  • PSB 4 - photo by Andy Langran
  • PSB 3 - photo by Leo Trimming
  • PSB 3 - photo by Andy Langran
  • PSB 2 - photo by Leo Trimming
  • PSB 9 - photo by Leo Trimming
  • PSB 2 - photo by Andy Langran
  • PSB 1 - photo by Leo Trimming
  • PSB 1 - photo by Andy Langran
  • Psb 8 - Photo By Leo Trimming
  • Psb 7 - Photo By Leo Trimming
  • Psb 6 - Photo By Leo Trimming
  • Psb 6 - Photo By Andy Langran
  • Psb 5 - Photo By Leo Trimming
  • Psb 5 - Photo By Andy Langran
  • Psb 4 - Photo By Leo Trimming
  • Psb 4 - Photo By Andy Langran
  • Psb 3 - Photo By Leo Trimming
  • Psb 3 - Photo By Andy Langran
  • Psb 2 - Photo By Leo Trimming
  • Psb 9 - Photo By Leo Trimming
  • Psb 2 - Photo By Andy Langran
  • Psb 1 - Photo By Leo Trimming
  • Psb 1 - Photo By Andy Langran

[All photographs by Leo Trimming and Andy Langran, used with kind permission.]

01. Every Valley (intro) – The Pit
02. People Will Always Need Coal
03. Theme From PSB
04. Night Mail
05. Sputnik
06. Korolev
07. Go to the Road
08. Progress
09. They Gave Me a Lamp
10. Mother of the Village
11. White Star Liner
12. Spitfire
13. The Other Side
14. Go!
~ Encore:
15. All Out
16. Gagarin
17. Everest

J.Willgoose Esq. – Guitars, Synths, Banjo, Samples
Wrigglesworth – Drums & Percussion
JF Abraham – Bass Guitar, Guitar, Keyboards, Flugelhorn, Additional Percussion
~ With:
Johngy Rittipo Moore – Sax, Bass Clarinet
Toby Street – Trumpet
Barnaby Philpott – Trombone
Mr. B – Visuals

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