Music Blog

All the music-related posts gathered together in one place.

Listening to “Lovehunter” and “Ready an’ Willing”, I’d forgotten just how crass some 80s Whitesnake lyrics were. Probably the only thing that saved Whitesnake from Robin Thicke-style student disco bans was that the worst stuff was never put out as singles.

Posted on by Tim Hall | 3 Comments

Neal Morse – Songs for November

Songs for NovemberSince leaving Spock’s Beard to “pursue a more spiritual path”, Neal Morse has released a string of albums combining over-the-top progressive rock with Evangelical Christian lyrics so heavy-handed than even many Christians find them hard to stomach.

This record is neither of those things.

This is quite explicitly a singer-songwriter record, with straightforward songs rather than multi-part prog epics, every song clocking in at around four minutes of so. A few of the big soaring melodies wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a mid-period Spock’s Beard record, and “Spock’s Beard Lite”, wouldn’t be a bad description for much of the album. Lyrically the “God stuff” isn’t entirely absent, but it’s not in-your-face either; the songs are more about life in all its richness.

Neal plays the guitars, keys and bass, with a variety of guest musicians contributing percussion, brass, strings and backing vocals. Even though the songs themselves are simple, quite a few are still embellished with some rich arrangements. There’s a big brassy riff on opener “Whatever Days”, gospel-style harmonies on “Heaven Smiles” and some very evocative solo violin from Chris Carmichael on “My Time of Dying”. More than one track has a summary west coast feel, ironic given the album title.

The one fall from grace is the overly saccharine “Daddy’s Daughter” which falls deep into pass-the-sick-bag territory. That one track aside, this is an enjoyable album that does what it says on the tin. As a singer-songwriter album by a progressive rock frontman it bears comparison with Alan Reed’s excellent “First in a Field of One”. Certainly there are plenty of tunes that get stuck in your head after a few listens.

Spock’s Beard fans ought to find a lot of like about this record, especially those who find the overt religiosity of his other solo work a bit too much.

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Cambridge Rock Festival 2014 – Part Two

Olivia Sparnenn of Mostly Autumn at the 2014 Cambridge Rock Festival

For those who’s tastes run towards progressive rock and metal, Sunday was always going to be the day to be looked forward to the most. Continue reading

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Hawkwind featuring Brian Blessed – Sonic Attack

Hawkwind have re-recorded the classic “Sonic Attack” featuring the legendary Brian Blessed.

Sorry, I’ll say that again….

HAWKWIND HAVE RE-RECORDED THE CLASSIC “SONIC ATTACK” FEATURING THE LEGENDARY BRIAN BLESSED.

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Cambridge Rock Festival 2014 – Part One

Chantel McGregor at the 2014 Cambridge Rock Festival

The Cambridge Rock Festival is a four-day event on the first weekend of August, with a focus on blues, classic rock and progressive rock. 2014 is the festival’s eleventh year, and the sixth to be held at the current location just outside the city. Continue reading

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No, Geoff Tate. Firing you is not ‘career suicide’ for Queensrÿche. It may be different in other genres, but in the world of rock and metal, career suicide is releasing a string of substandard records, not getting rid of a prima donna once the band have long since jumped the shark.

Posted on by Tim Hall | Leave a comment

Purson – Danse Macabre

A teaser from Purson’s forthcoming second album, recorded using genuine prog trousers.

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Threshold – Watchtower on the Moon

Official video for Threshold’s new single, taken from the forthcoming album “For The Journey”.

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Jump – Down Three Times

One of Jump’s best songs. The story of John Henry, one of Jump frontman John Dexter Jones’ ancestors. A merchant seaman during World War One, he survived three sinkings, but never recovered from the trauma. He ended up as a beachcomber, haunted by memories.

Jump get labelled as prog, but despite John Dexter Jones having something in common with Fish in terms of vocal delivery, they’re not really a prog band. Despite being an electric rock band, they’ve got more in common with folk, especially the storytelling lyrical style.

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Alt-Fest – The collapse of a Kickstarted festival?

We’ve already seen kickstarter-funded board games fail to deliver. Now it looks like the same has happened to a festival.

As reported by Metal Hammer:

The inaugural event in Kettering, Northampton, was to take place in just over two weeks – on the weekend of August 15-17. Headliners included Fields Of The Nephilim, Marilyn Manson and The Cult. Also lined up were Gary Numan, Killing Joke and over 170 others.

Manson tonight updated the gig listings on his official website and on Facebook, with Alt-Fest now marked as “cancelled”. Other acts due to play, including Cradle Of Filth, have also reported that they have been told the event is off.

While there has been no confirmation by the organisers, this slow-motion collapse seems very reminiscent of Memories of Woodstock back in 2009, when an over-ambitious promoter bit off more than he could chew, booked a lot of big-name bands and then failed to sell enough tickets to cover their fees.

With the way news is leaking out via the bands while the organisers have merely promised some sort of announcement on Monday, I’m seeing a lot of recriminations flying online. It’s very difficult to imagine the festival actually taking place.

In retrospect, the whole thing looks ridiculously over-ambitious, with 170 bands across seven stages in an already saturated UK festival scene.

Update: Altfest have posted on Facebook confirming the festival is cancelled. As suspected, lack of ticket sales is the reason, and reading between the lines it looks as though poor financial planning played a part. It does look as though the organisers lacked the necessary experience to put on a festival of that size.

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