27 September 2016

A Salty Gift?

The Gift release their third album, Why The Sea Is Salt, and I've been lucky enough to get an early listen courtesy of those nice Naughty Pachyderms...

Whilst some of Bad Elephant's roster are only marginally, if at all, prog, The Gift are old school prog rock front and centre and their new album is no exception. It unashamedly wears its influences proud for all to hear. From the beautiful piano intro by Gabriele Baldocci that immediately put me in mind of Barclay James Harvest to vocalist Mike Morton singing about salty dogs and giving off a definite Procol Harum vibe, the album is rooted in seventies prog but in a good way. This is further reinforced by guest spots by ex-Genesis types Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips, as well as Tiger Moth Peter Jones who often flies that way himself.

To be honest I'm not sure why Steve Hackett was even needed. Guitarist David Lloyd adds some wonderful textures and depth to the album with some beautiful playing that makes it more substantive and enjoyable to someone like me who grew up in the Neo era and is less inclined to the middle class England of mid-seventies prog.

Why The Sea Is Salt is a really good album and a hugely enjoyable listening experience that I recommend to any prog fan. Whilst I am sure it will do very well for the band, there is a little bit of me that can't help think if it had been released in 1973 it would be regarded as a classic... :-)

26 September 2016

STCBM061: Cover Versions Special II

Tonight’s Sounds That Can Be Made playlist:

Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Welcome to Machine (Pink Floyd cover)
Cut_ - Space Oddity (David Bowie cover)
Redemption - Love Reign O’er Me (The Who cover)
Tesla the Band - Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic cover)
RUSH - Shape of Things (Yardbirds cover)
The Reasoning - The Chauffeur (Duran Duran cover)
Sonata Arctica - World in My Eyes (Depeche Mode cover)
Opeth - Soldier of Fortune (Deep Purple cover)
Ray Wilson - Biko (Peter Gabriel cover)
Foo Fighters - Have a Cigar (Pink Floyd cover)
Pat Benatar - Don’t Let it Show (Alan Parsons Project cover)
Jordan Rudess - Dance on a Volcano (Genesis cover)
Disturbed - Land of Confusion (Genesis cover)
The Eighties at 8:
Voivod - Astronomy Domine (Pink Floyd cover)
Iron Maiden - King of Twilight (Nektar cover)
Grey DeLisle - Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover)
Dream Theater - Larks Tongues In Aspic Pt.2 (King Crimson cover)
GWAR - Carry On My Wayward Son (Kansas cover)

25 September 2016

Who Stole The Pineapple Thief?

This is a whinge I admit, but a justified one I think. The Pineapple Thief recently announced their Your Wilderness tour that will be happening in the New Year. Now I am a big fan of The Pineapple Thief, as you will see from the blog tags they get played a lot on my internet radio show and I certainly do not begrudge Bruce Soord any of the deserved success that is long overdue, but let's talk tour dates, more importantly gig locations.

The Pineapple Thief, Bristol, December 2014

Unlike previous tours Great Britain is getting just three dates, Glasgow, Manchester and London. The venues aren't massive but for a band born in the south-west of England, there appears a gaping geographical hole in the itinerary (well two if we are being fair).

No doubt someone, somewhere thought the London gig will cover the south and the Manchester one the midlands and north. Clearly someone who doesn't appreciate a non-Londoners dislike to the big, confusing, noisy alien capital, the cost of public transport or just how long it would take fans in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset (and South Wales) to get to London with its congestion charges, strange parking restrictions and maze of roads.

It's not just this tour, the south-west is increasing getting the short straw by many prog bands (though oddly not prog metal bands) and for many they seem to draw a line from Manchester to London and ignore everything to the west of that line.

Yes this is a whinge but is it really too much to suggest bands do a minimum of five dates in Britain, one south-east, one south-west/Wales, one north-west/midlands, one north-east/midlands and one Scotland (we all have suitable venues)? I'm sure someone will mumble that you'd make the effort if you really wanted to go or the cost to the bands, but that's lazy arguing. Other, similar sized artists manage to do it and it is not always practical to be getting home at 3am on a work night (and London? Ugh!)

Yep, that still means some traveling but as Bruce knows getting anywhere from Yeovil is a pain in the arse, making that anywhere the other side of the country (and back) shows limited consideration of fans in the south west (and north east).

23 September 2016

Pass the Kool-aid

Well the much hyped and much leaked 18th studio album by Marillion, F.E.A.R. (Fuck Everyone and Run), has been released to a much expected level of frothing* by some uber-fans and music journalists. "The best thing since Brave", "Their best ever!" they exclaim (including a review in a Fleet Street broadsheet). Well it isn't...

I've been a Marillion fan since 1983, I like most of the band's releases and, in my opinion, think there are some classics in there. Will F.E.A.R. be amongst them? Well come back in a few years and let's see, it is ridiculous to rush to make such conclusions in the short space of time it has been available (even if we count the time it has been around illegally).

This time we have an edgy political "concept" album, in the same edgy vein as Gaza off the last album. In fact in many respects it is almost Gaza the album. The subject matter might be closer to home, but it has that vibe. Indeed it feels like the band have identified the best bits off the last few albums, tweaked them a bit and released them on the public. This does not mean it is a bad album, but the sound is very familiar, Hogarth's singing styles are similar to those he has used on the last couple of releases (a mix of whispering to an occasional full on H).

Overall I like the album, but I am not loving it. There is no stand out track like Neverland or even When I Meet God and it certainly is not on a par with Misplaced Childhood or Brave. Where does it rank? I don't know and to be honest I don't care. The proof in the pudding will be whether it is a "go to" album in six months time or be largely forgotten (Marillion.com I'm looking at you).

*and to an extent the naysayers who think everything Marillion does is boring and have to say so...

19 September 2016

STCBM060: Keelhauled!

Tonight’s Sounds That Can Be Made playlist:

Alestorm - Keelhauled (from Black Sails At Midnight)
The Mute Gods - Last Man on Earth (from Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me)
Ben Craven - The Remarkable Man (from Last Chance To Hear)
The Enid - The Demon King (from In The Region Of The Summer Stars)
Gary Numan - Love Hurt Bleed (from Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind))
Galahad - Sleepers (from Sleepers)
The Butterfly Effect - In A Memory (from Imago)
Plini- Every Piece Matters (from Handmade Cities)
John Wesley - Once A Warrior (from Disconnect)
The Pineapple Thief - Take Your Shot (from Your Wilderness)

The Eighties at 8: 

Pink Floyd - Not Now John (single version) (from The Final Cut)
Genesis - Tonight, Tonight, Tonight (from Invisible Touch)

Damian Wilson & Adam Wakeman - God Be My Judge (from Weir Keeper's Tale)
HEADSPACE - Road to Supremacy (from All That You Fear is Gone)
Damian Wilson - Battlelines (from Built for Fighting)
Devin Townsend Project - Secret Sciences (from Transcendence)

12 September 2016

STCBM059: Everlasting

Tonight’s Sounds That Can Be Made playlist:

Dec Burke - Everlasting (from Book of Secrets)
Jadis  - Please Open Your Eyes (from Photoplay)
Riverside - Found (The Unexpected Flaw Of Searching) (from Love, Fear And The Time Machine)
Cailyn - Pale Blue Dot (form Voyager)
Comedy Of Errors - Remembrance (form Fanfare & Fantasy)
Casino - Crap Game (from Casino)
Egdon Heath - No Second Faust (from The Killing Silence)
Bruce Soord - Born in Delusion (from Bruce Soord)
Magenta - Raw (from Chameleon)
M83 - Unrecorded (from Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts)
IO Earth - Mountains Start to Fall (from IO Earth)
Captain Horizon - The Light (from The Lights of Distorted Silence)
It Bites - Map of the Past (from Map of the Past)

The Eighties at 8:

Hazel O’Connor - Will You? (from Breaking Glass)
IQ - The Wake (from The Wake)

Mauricio Ibáñez - Sepia Leaves (from Shades of Light & Darkness)
Verbal Delirium - Words (from The Imprisoned Words of Fear)
Anubis - This Final Resting Place (from A Tower of Silence)

5 September 2016

STCBM058: The City of My Dreams

Tonight’s Sounds That Can Be Made playlist:

Mike Kershaw - The City Of My Dreams (from What Lies Beneath)
Knifeworld - Secret Words (from Bottled Out of Eden)
Birdeatsbaby - Scars (from Tanta Furia)
Threshold - Clear (from Extinct Instinct)
League of Lights - Cover Me Now (from League of Lights)
Solar - In A Dark Place (from Dark Places)
Arena - Smoke and Mirrors (from Pepper’s Ghost)
Massive Attack - Teardrop (from Mezzanine)
Archive - Bullets (from Controlling Crowds (Parts I-III))
Public Service Broadcasting - The Other Side (from The Race For Space)
Cairo - Searching (from Say)
Porcupine Tree - Nine Cats (from On The Sunday Of Life…)

The Eighties at 8:
Marillion - Fugazi (from Fugazi)
Peter Gabriel - Red Rain (from So)

Rush - Seven Cities Of Gold (from Clockwork Angels)
Maschine - Venga (from Rubidium)
Saul Blease - Hollow (from Hollow)