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Showing posts from March, 2019

Eraserland by Strand Of Oaks - Album Review

A new album from Tim Showalter which, barring a final misstep, hits all the Americana, (and more), marks. This album is heartfelt, sleazy, uplifting, classic and referential all at the same time whilst still pointing forwards.

The beginning is inauspicious. "Weird Ways" starts out like a standard Ryan Adams ballad, but takes off halfway through in a way that reveals the pedigree of the other musicians on the album. After hearing this track I thought it sounded like the aforementioned Mr Adams playing with My Morning Jacket(MMJ). The reverb drenched sound kept rearing its head and a little research revealed that, minus main man Jim James, they were the backing musicians on the album . No wonder I kept hearing them! As a band who has produced much that I like this was a good thing. 

After "Weird Ways" heads for the stars we stay there with "Hyperspace Blues" which is one for fans of Jason Pierce's Spiritualized, and sounds just as a song with that title s…

New Music Review: "Future Shade" by Black Mountain

A new discovery for me, Canadian rockers Black Mountain and their new single from upcoming album "Destroyer".

I stumbled across this on a new music playlist, and it immediately stood out for the unique sound the band were creating. The riffs and rhythms said 1980s metal, but the tone sound and vocal style said alternative rock. Equal parts Dinosaur Jr. and NWOBHM, I love this combination, something I've not heard done effectively as here. 

From the way the sound opens up into the chorus, to the keyboard lead lines, to the full Iron Maiden style dual lead around the 3 minute mark this instantly shot onto my list of the best new music I'd heard in a while. Looking forward to the new album after this. 

"Drown in the future shade, ain't no-one going to save you tonight..."




R.E.M. At The BBC Review

I received this 9 disc package at the end of 2018, but due to its voluminous content I needed sufficient time to digest it properly to avoid critical indigestion!

In addition to being stacked with content, this box set is a fascinating document, (pardon the pun), of the evolution of one of the greatest bands in rock music. Focusing on the live recordings as opposed to the BBC sessions, things start with in 1984 with the then still very much underground R.E.M. and an urgent performance at Rock City in Nottingham. The jangle and mumble of the early band is very much present. A band who know how to play and what they want to project but without the big hits that would take them skyward in later years. A certain hesitancy and sense of testing the water is evident here.

I have to confess to not being in the 'cool' crowd and preferring the Warner to IRS years. As a result the jump forward 9 years to a huge open air gig at the Milton Keynes Bowl in 1995 is much more to my taste. Whilst…

Distance Over Time by Dream Theater - Album Review

The fourteenth studio album from the world's premier purveyors of progressive metal, (for those unfamiliar with the genre imagine equal parts Yes and Metallica), arrives 3 years after their double concept album "The Astonishing". 

This time the band went back to basics, setting up, playing and writing as a band in a room. If this is the result, more please. Tight and focused, with a return to punch-the-air riffs like "Outcry" from 2011's "A Dramatic Turn Of Events" or "The Looking Glass" from their eponymous 2013 album.



Things kick off on a high with lead single "Untethered Angel", a brief moody intro before it erupts with a riff that says buckle in for the ride.
Given that these are some of the finest practitioners  in the world on their respective instruments what you get is the standard, for Dream Theater, impeccable musicianship with jaw-dropping feats of virtuosity. Gone is the bloat of "The Astonishing",  and in it…