Perhaps I should post about my radio show on here. I never do it and it’s a reasonably well liked show. 2 hours of prog and I love doing themes. Tomorrow’s theme is “home.” Tune in at 10am EDT, 3pm UK on www.metalworldradio.com
Gong has had a long stored history with many different variations of the band. Of course there’s the Daevid Allen classic Gong but there’s been Mother Gong, Planet Gong (now known as Here & Now) and Pierre Moerlen’s Gong. Now with the passing of Allen, “The Universe Also Collapses” is the second Gong album without him…or any member from the classic lineup(s). Does it really matter though?
“Rejoice! I’m Dead!” was a stunning album which I was ill prepared for. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. Honestly, the name of the band didn’t matter. It was great music! And the same can definitely be said for “The Universe Also Collapses.” It is just as incredible as the previous album and might very well be even better!
“The Universe Also Collapses” has 4 songs. The 20 minute psychedelic freak out “Forever Reocurring” start things off in jaw dropping fashion. There is a bit of a krautrock opening to it before things go full on prog in your face. “If Never I’m and Ever You” is the other end of the spectrum at two and half minutes. Yet Gong gets more done in that period of time than most prog bands do in 10 minutes.
“My Sawtooth Wake” is another big track. Amazing playing and Ian East is an absolute star on sax. The album closes with yet another great song, “The Elemental.” The playing on this is just flawless. That’s why THIS Gong is one of the best prog bands around today. Are they Gong? I don’t care what they call themselves because they are awesome. Should they be honored to be considered Gong? Gong fans are lucky to have these guys calling themselves Gong.
“The Universe Also Collapses” is a masterpiece. There are plenty of times I audibly said “wow!” What’s in a name? Well I guess that’s up to you. This is Gong. And no other Gong lineup could have achieved this album. I am not saying they are the best version of Gong. They are the version of Gong we need. We are lucky to have them and “The Universe Also Collapses.”
1. Forever Reoccuring
2. If Never I’m Ever You
3. My Sawtooth Wake
4. The Elemental
Release Date: May 10, 2019
I am looking forward to this album. Here’s the press release and all the important information.
What do you call an act who blends elements of dirty rock, folk, jazz, and explosions of esoterica into one mind-melding album?
The Aristocrats, of course.
The Aristocrats (guitarist Guthrie Govan, bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann) are perhaps the best known instrumental rock-fusion band on the circuit and have just recorded their most ambitious and exploratory album in their eight year history. You Know What…? is the fourth studio album from the trio and includes nine new tracks recorded at Brotheryn Studios, Ojai, CA.
In true Aristocratic tradition, each band member wrote and produced three songs which were brought to life in the studio thanks to the band’s instinctive chemistry and shared musical vocabulary. Having taken a little time away to work on other projects, the band were excited to be back together doing what they do best and producing a sound that’s at once fresh and new but unmistakably the work of The Aristocrats with their trademark blend of discipline and musical freedom. True to form, the album doesn’t hitch its wagon to any one genre. The only rules the trio live by are that the music must be pleasurable for the listener and it most definitely has to be fun to play.
A glance at the track listing for You Know What…? may cause some raised eyebrows from those unfamiliar with the band. For fans however, it’s a tantalizing glimpse of the stories behind the songs that the band will soon be sharing with audiences all over the world on their upcoming world tour, which begins in North America this summer. From the filthy, greasy rock of “D Grade F*ck Movie Jam” and “Terrible Lizard”, to the quirky anything-goes madness of “Spiritus Cactus” and “Spanish Eddie”, to the lavishly arranged “Burial At Sea” and “When We All Come Together”, and to the timeless melodies of “All Said And Done” and Last Orders”, You Know What…? is an album full of addictive grooves, high energy jamming and seemingly impossible musical twists and turns.The Aristocrats are undoubtedly back and ready to blow some minds.
The band are pretty pleased with how it turned out, commenting that: “On You Know What…?, we feel like we inspired each other as songwriters and musicians to do things we’ve never done before as a band. We know each other pretty well now, and we used that familiarity to really get after it in the studio and push the boundaries of what we can accomplish on a record. And still, it’s totally, completely an Aristocrats album. We think it’s the coolest thing we’ve done yet by far.”
You Know What…? will be available in both standard and deluxe CD packages, in addition to digital download and streaming versions. The deluxe edition includes a bonus DVD, filmed and edited by Jon Luini, featuring exclusive studio footage and interviews with the band – as well as a 12-page booklet comprising artwork to accompany each song, in which Graphic Artist Hajo Müller continues and expands the Aristocratic tradition of illustrated artwork with a decidedly childlike vision of each of the album’s nine tunes. You Know What…? will be released on June 28th 2019. Pre-sales will be available from early June.
The Aristocrats will begin a new world tour this year in support of You Know What…?, starting with their very own music camp “The Aristocamp” in upstate New York from June 18th to 21st before heading off for their most extensive tour yet of North America. Tour dates for other continents will be announced in the coming months.
Tour dates and ticket links can be found on The Aristocrats website at: http://the-aristocrats-band.com/shows/
All studio and live releases by The Aristocrats can be purchased at: https://www.hellomerch.com/collections/the-aristocrats
For more information on The Aristocrats, please visit:
Even with the internet, it still feels rather exotic that much of the music I’ve discovered in the last few years has come from parts of the world other than where I live. Many of these artists have been around for a while before I discovered them.
Brighteye Brison is no exception to this. I saw their name on social media, and then magically the boss offered me their upcoming album – their fifth! – to review.
If you are looking for a big, expansive, progressive rock album, this release will fit the bill.
Opening track The Crest of Quarrel sneaks up on you, all quiet at first, then the mysterious
sounds appear and the song opens up into a progression of music that hints at what might be hallmarks of an epic, keyboard-driven prog sound.
Second track V features vocal interplay within its alternative rhythms.
The closing song, The Magician Chronicles, clocks in at almost 37 minutes and is a continuation of a narrative from their previous work. This is another huge, monster of a track with amazing layers of sound. The vocals are especially incredible!
“I am who I am. I will never let go of my power.”
Warning: It’s quite the earworm! This album is wonderful for headphone listening.
Now, I need to check out their other albums so I can catch up on the mythology.
Available May 24, 2019
1. The Crest of Quarrel
3. The Magician Chronicles – Part II
Linus Kåse – keyboards/saxophone/vocals
Per Hallman – keyboards/vocals
Johan Öijen – guitars
Kristofer Eng – bass/vocals
Erik Hammarström – drums
I’ve been into Big Big Train since they were giving away mp3s on their website many years ago. I have a two track sampler (home made) from the “Bard” album. Yet despite all of that, I wouldn’t say that I LOVE them. I like them okay but a love for them has seemed to elude me for whatever reason. Yet album after album, I venture back to them to try some more.
There is no denying their talent and that is certainly the draw for me. The lineup is stellar and has grown and grown over the years. Adding ex-Spock’s Beard drummer Nick D’Virgilio and Gungfly/Beardfish mainman Rikard Sjöblom have been more reasons to keep me interested. I will say that each album has been better than the last, for me anyway. So here we are once again. Is “Grand Tour” the album that I have been waiting for? Yes!
So why did “Grand Tour” hit me so hard? The first single “Alive” is one of the tracks I really like. Most times in the past when BBT does a more “radio friendly” track, the song would seem very light weight and cheesy. “Make Some Noise” is an example. “Alive” is very catchy and uplifting, yet somehow avoids the watered down cheesiness of past efforts.
Another factor is the epics on “Grand Tour” are all exceptional songs. “Roman Stone,” “Ariel” and especially “Voyager” are well structured and build really well. They all sound natural and organic and not overly pastoral like past epics. Another winner is the NDV written instrumental “Pantheon” which just kicks ass. Something BBT needed! “Homesong” makes for a nice closer with it starting folky before taking flight.
“Grand Tour” is an album that is great all the way through. The song writing of singer David Longdon and bassist/founder Greg Spawton are in top form and the addition of drummer Nick D’Virgilio to the songwriting has just made BBT that much stronger. It’s a shame that Rikard Sjöblom didn’t add any songs to the mix but perhaps the next outing. For now, “Grand Tour” has me more excited in Big Big Train than I have ever been and I’ll probably go back through the catalog for another look.
1. Novum Organum
3. The Florentine
4. Roman Stone
6. Theodora in Green and Gold
Label: English Electric
Release Date: 17 May 2019