Sue’s Sweet Sixteen of 2019

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My 2019 Sweet Sixteen “best of” studio albums list includes a reissue with new tracks added, because….

This was a great year for music, here are some albums that made an impression with me upon my first listen. Not definitive by any means!

Utopia Strong – ST (electro-rock)

no – man – love you to bits (art rock) My review here.

Charlie Cawood – Blurring Into Motion (modern classical) My review here.

Crows Labyrinth – All Will Perish (ambient/solo bass guitar)

Beck – Hyperspace (art rock)

Thom York – Anima (electronic experimental)

Bass Communion – Dronework 2019 (ambient/drone)

Angel Olsen – All Mirrors (rock)

Mark Ronson – Late Night Feelings (dance pop)

MONO – Nowhere Now Here (post rock) My review here.

Lost Crowns – Every Night Something Happens (art/prog rock) My review here.

Tim Bowness – Flowers At The Scene (art rock) My review here.

Telefon Tel Aviv – Dreams Are Not Enough (electronic)

Giancarlo Erra – Ends (modern classical)

Art Ensemble of Chicago – We Are On The Edge (jazz/spoken word)

Opeth – In Cauda Venenum (prog metal) Rob’s review here.

Thank you for reading. Here’s to an amazing 2020.

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David Kollar “Sculpting in Time”

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David Kollar is a guitarist/multi-instrumentalist from Slovakia. While his name might not be one you know, if you have listened to Steven Wilson’s song Detonation or no-man’s tune Love You To Bits (Bit 4), you have heard his amazing guitar work.

Mr. Kollar has his own wonderful music to present to the world. His latest album is called Sculpting in Time, where the energy of those guitar solos is focused into music of a more jazzy or modern classical nature but isn’t restricted to those labels.

This album opens with the track Tendre Lundi, a flowing guitar/trumpet interplay. The first steps of the journey begin here.

The Path gives the listener a bit of dubby bass and effects paint the music. A rest stop on the journey, offering a different view of the sounds.

A bit of poetry leads off the tune Prisoner of Time, and it carries the listener into intense guitar tonality – a challenge on this audio trip that ultimately arrives to a peaceful expanse of keyboards.

The closing track, Balada for Jozef, features intercommunication between guitar and horn, a fond remembrance of what has been.

In our world, everything is connected. We may not see the threads, but they are there. Many people view music from other parts of the world as different. The bedrock is the same, all musicians just add their unique fingerprints to it.

Music is a universal that brings us together.

Mr. Kollar’s work here will capture your ears and carry them along.

Give Sculpting In Time a listen..

Rating: 10/10

Tracklist:
1. Tendre Lundi
2. At Dusk
3. A.T.
4. Episode 1.
5. Sick Doll’s Dream
6. Episode 2. (Johan)
7. Deeper to the Fog
8. The Path
9. Episode 3.
10. Reflections
11. Sunlight
12. Prisoner of Time
13. B. 639
14. Balada for Jozef

The Players:

David Kollar – El. guitars, Ronroco, Guitalele, Electronics, Synth, Sound Processing, Bass, Vocal 12
Erik Truffaz – Trumpet 1, 2, 12,14
Arve Henriksen – Trumpet 5,10,12
Pat Mastelotto – Poetry reading 12
Christian Fennesz – guitar, synth, electronics 11

Bandcamp: davidkollar.bandcamp.com/album/sculpting-in-time
Website: www.davidkollar.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/davidkollarofficial
Instagram: www.instagram.com/david.kollar

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Nektar announce new album and tour!

Nektar have long been a favorite band of mine and when frontman Roye Albrighton passed away in 2016, I assumed that would be the last of the band. However, three original members reconvened and enlisted two other former members plus a new member to begin a new chapter for Nektar! Here’s the press release with info on the new album and tour to support it!


 

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NEKTAR The Legendary Rock Band is touring the world in 2020. NEKTAR have released first single ‘SkyWriter’ this Fall from their forthcoming new album ‘The Other Side’ which is officially coming in January 2020. Under the guidance of Leonardo Pavkovic from MoonJune Music and the original band member and bassist Derek Moore (now also the band’s manager), NEKTAR is celebrating 5 decades of rock-n-nektar-n-roll in the best way possible – going on the road! The band features three original members, two former members and one new member, and will commemorate the sadly missed Roye Albrighton, the original guitar player and vocalist, who passed in 2016. The regenerated band show their full power at the recent ProgStock Festival in Rahway, NJ on October 13 this year, and confirmed and announced 2020 shows are:
JANUARY 8 – Sellersville, PA (Sellersville Theater)
JANUARY 9 – Kennett Square, PA (Kennett Flash)
JANUARY 10 – Dunellen, NJ (NJ ProgHouse @ Roxy & Dukes)
JANUARY 11 – Baltimore, MD (Orion Studio)
JANUARY 12 – Baltimore, MD (Orion Studio)
JANUARY 14 – New York, NY (The Iridium)
JANUARY 15 – New York, NY (The Iridium)
JANUARY 16 – New York, NY (The Iridium, 2 shows)
FEBRUARY 8 – Manchester, NH (The Rex Theater)
FEBRUARY 9 – South Burlington, VT (Higher Ground)
FEBRUARY 10 – Boston, MA (The Middle East Upstairs)
FEBRUARY 11 – Northampton, MA (The Iron Horse)
FEBRUARY 12 – Pawling, NY (Daryl’s House)
FEBRUARY 20 – Albany, NY (Linda WAMC Arts Center)
FEBRUARY 21 – Auburn, NY (Auburn Public Theater)
FEBRUARY 22 – Hamburg, NY (Hamburg Palace Theater)
FEBRUARY 23 – Toronto, ON (Garrison)
FEBRUARY 25 – Westland, Detroit, MI (The Token Lounge)
FEBRUARY 26 – Cleveland, OH (Beachland Ballroom)
FEBRUARY 28 – Cincinnati, OH (The Ludlow Garage)
FEBRUARY 29 – Indianapolis, IN (Irving Theater)
MARCH 01 – Chicago, IL (Reggie’s)
MARCH 02 – Milwaukee, WI (Shank Hall)
MARCH 03 – Minneapolis, MN (Granada Theater)
MARCH 04 – Kansas City, MO (recordBar)
MARCH 05 – Edwardsville, IL (Wildey Theater) SOLD OUT!!
MARCH 07- Edwardsville, IL (Wildey Theater, 2 shows) SOLD OUT!!
MARCH 08 – Fayettsville, AR (George’s Majestic Lounge)
otherside
NEKTAR
Derek “Mo” Moore – bass, vocals
Ron Howden – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Ryche Chlanda – guitars, lead vocals
Randy Dembo – bass, bass pedals, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Kendall Scott – keyboards
Mick Brockett – special effects, lights and lyrics
Maryann Castello – back vocals
Maureen McIntyre – back vocals
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Intronaut reveals details for new album, “Fluid Existential Inversions”

Here’s the press release from Metal Blade Records:


On February 28th, Intronaut will release their sixth full-length, Fluid Existential Inversions, via Metal Blade Records – which features some of the most dramatic and epic sounds of their career. “We pushed ourselves to be bigger and better, musically speaking, and to me that’s the essence of progressive music,” states guitarist/vocalist Sacha Dunable. “On this album, there are drums played in ways I’ve never heard before. There are synths used in contexts I’ve never heard before. Intronaut has the most unique bass player in all of heavy metal as far as I’m concerned, and I even practiced guitar to get myself out of my comfort zone. So I think we progressed and made the best album ever.”

For a preview of Fluid Existential Inversions, a video for the first single, “Cubensis”, can be viewed at: metalblade.com/intronaut – where the album can also be pre-ordered in the following formats:

– digipak-CD
– opaque evergreen vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 1000 copies)
– blue watercolor vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 500 copies)
– green watercolor vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 500 copies)
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– light blue vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– mint green vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– red / blue marbled vinyl (EU Shop exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
* exclusive bundles with shirts, plus digital options are also available!

It’s been a five-year gap since 2015’s The Direction Of Last Things, the longest between any two Intronaut records, but with good reason. “Some of this music was written within a week of the last record being released, and we originally wanted to get into the studio to make this album back in early 2017, but I think the band was kind of burnt out, and I personally was definitely burnt out, and we decided to take a year off before committing to a new album and the touring stuff that comes with it. After a little time off, I kept writing on my own and I realized I love making this music whether we’re an active band or not.” A change in the unit’s ranks set things back another year, but soon enough, they were back on track. The addition of drummer Alex Rudinger (The Faceless, Whitechapel) to the Intronaut lineup definitely played a key part in how the record came together, Dunable praising his obsessive work ethic and a “dedication to his craft like I’ve never seen before.” With all the players in place, it was a case of getting down to work and creating the ultimate Intronaut album – which features keyboards for the first time in the band’s history.

When it came time to record Fluid Existential Inversions, Intronaut once again teamed up with producer Josh Newell and spent a month locked in the studio with him. They invited previous collaborator Ben Sharp – aka Cloudkicker – to be a part of the process, penning one of the main riffs of closer “Sour Everythings” and playing some guitar on both that track and “The Cull”. When it came to mixing the record, the band reached out to Kurt Ballou (Converge, High On Fire), resulting in a unique finished product that stands apart from their catalogue.


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Fluid Existential Inversions track-listing
1. Procurement of the Victuals
2. Cubensis
3. The Cull
4. Contrapasso
5. Speaking of Orbs
6. Tripolar
7. Check Your Misfortune
8. Pangloss
9. Sour Everythings

Intronaut online:
https://www.facebook.com/Intronaut
https://www.instagram.com/intronaut_band

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Rank ‘Em: Kansas studio albums

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these columns. Hell, I haven’t written anything in a while! So it was time. And it was time to focus on one of my favorite bands, Kansas. The band have 15 studio albums. So here we go!

 

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15. Drastic Measures
This is easily my least favorite album by Kansas. It just doesn’t sound like them. Kerry Livgren was clearly out of ideas. John Elefante was running the show and the songs were crappy 80s lite-metal.

 

14. Freaks of Nature
13. Always Never the Same
The two mid-90s albums are essentially even for me. I suppose the orchestra gives “Always Never the Same” the nod but really neither sound inspired. Steve Walsh sounds pretty rough in general.

 

12. Audio-Visions
11. Vinyl Confessions
Kansas was and then Kansas is now. Another pair of albums that are basically even for me. “Audio-Visions” was split because Walsh and Livgren had two different ideas for the band’s direction. “Vinyl Confessions” suffers from losing Walsh, though Elefante does a decent job on this album. “Play the Game Tonight” is still one of my favorite Kansas songs, but the rest of the album isn’t quite on par with that song.

 

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10. The Prelude Implicit
The band’s last album with new vocalist Ronnie Platt. Platt doesn’t really sing the old material as well as Walsh (who would??) but he sounds solid on the songs on this album. And even without Livgren, the songs are all fairly strong and consistent. I can’t say there are any real classics. I like the album more than I did but this one could slide down on my list but not upward.

 

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9. In the Spirit of Things
I love both albums with Steve Morse. This one COULD have been amazing but the record company fucked with the band. There are 3 songs by outside writers that were clearly designed to get hits. None are bad but they don’t fit the rest of the album at all. This was basically a concept album…with 3 unrelated tracks. Great otherwise.

 

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8. Monolith
A very underrated album! I did a review for it on this site and stand by what I said. Sure, it’s not perfect or as great as the ones prior to it but it’s still excellent. It’s a lock at this spot.

 

7. Kansas
6. Masque
5. Song for America
The first 3 albums are all amazing and interchangeable in these slots. For me they are all equal. Each have a mild clunker or two but otherwise they are perfect. All are essential.

 

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4. Somewhere to Elsewhere
The return of Kerry Livgren and what a return. Walsh got what he could out of his voice and did a great job. Other than “Disappearing Skin Tight Blues,” it’s a perfect album. “Myriad” is one of my favorite Kansas songs.

 

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3. Power
I LOVE THIS ALBUM! And yes that includes “All I Wanted”! “Three Pretenders” is a vastly overlooked song and Walsh’s vocal on “Can’t Cry Anymore” gives me chills every time. This can slide one slot and even be as high as #1 for me. Depends on my mood.

 

2. Point of Know Return
1. Leftoverture
The two classics. I really can’t pick. To be fair, I do like “Power” about as much as these two. Still, I will give a SLIGHT edge to “Leftoverture” but if I wrote this tomorrow I might go the other way. Why? “Miracles Out of Nowhere” is my favorite Kansas song. Plus, you have “The Wall.” Can’t really go wrong with either album!

So there’s my list. What do you all think? Give me your list and tell me why I am wrong!

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