Music News Blog

What’s happening in the world of prog and other related scenes. News about gigs, record releases, new videos and band changes.

Foss Patterson leaves Fish

Fish at HRH Prog 2

Fish announced today that keyboard player Foss Patterson, who has been part of his band for many years, is leaving. He made his last appearances with Fish at a couple of festival appearances in Wales and Mexico in March and April this year.

His replacement will be Mike Varty, best known as the keyboard player for Credo, and ironically also depping for Fish’s one-time Marillion colleague Mark Kelly in DeeExpus. He makes his live debut with Fish on the UK tour in May.

Credo at the 2011 Cambridge Rock Festival

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Knifeworld – Don’t Land on Me

A taster from Knifeword’s forthcoming album “The Unravelling”, due in the Summer. You want bonkers psychedelic rock from an eight-piece band with a brass section and a bassoon? Of course you do!

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Arch Enemy – War Eternal

Something a bit metal – the new single from Arch Enemy

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What Killed Last.fm?

lastfmWith the news that last.fm is shutting down their streaming online radio, I’m wondering exactly what changes in the music environment have forced them to rip the heart out of their service.

Are the majors demanding too much in licencing fees for the thing to be viable? Remember that it’s not stream-on-demand in the style of Spotify, so it should not cost as much. Or, more cynically, did last.fm’s major label owner deliberately decide to kill what had once been a useful music discovery tool because they don’t like people discovering independent music?

Or maybe last.fm has just had its day? Back in the days before their radio went behind a subscription paywall I used to listen quite a bit, and it played a lot by independent bands. That fed into a lot of CD purchases, and I spent a lot of time curating the wiki entries for bands. But nowadays a combination of social media and sites like Reverbnation and Bandcamp seems to be filling that role. The social side of Last.fm has more or less faded away as Twitter and Facebook have grown, and they never did resolve the artist disambiguation issue in their database.

All last.fm really does now is scrobbling and statistics collecting, and I’m not convinced that has much value unless it’s feeding into some sort of music recommendation that last.fm itself no longer provides. Yes, I know they’re still got a web-based music player, but all that does is play YouTube videos, and is not fit for purpose in it’s present form; too many of the videos are abysmal-quality fan-uploaded mobile phone footage from gigs, or worse, bedroom karaoke performances that don’t feature the actual artist at all.

Does last.fm’s scrobbling data still have any value for independent artists now, or is it time to stick a fork in the site?

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Alex Cromarty joins Mostly Autumn

The Heather Findlay Band at The Brook, Southampton

Latest News from Mostly Autumn:

Mr Alex Cromerty has now become a permanent member of Mostly Autumn. We are all very excited about this, his drumming and percussion has proven to work extremely well with the band, drummers like Alex and Gavin are a rare thing to come by, the quality is first class. We would also, on this note, like to wish Gavin all the success for the future, it’s been a real pleasure my friend.

Alex had been playing drums with Mostly Autumn as a stand-in for much of 2013 while Gavin Griffiths had extensive recording and touring commitments with Fish, and Alex’ playing showed the drums were in safe hands. With Fish announcing further tour plans across Europe in 2014, it’s not a total surprise that Alex is joining the Mostly Autumn on a longer-term basis.

Mostly Autumn had already had more drummers than Spinal Tap back in 2007, and now they can add a further name to the list.

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Asia – Valkyrie

Asia are back with a new album “Gravitas”, with the trio of John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes joined by guitarist Sam Coulson. The single “Valkyrie” suggests that even after more than thirty years they still have something to say.

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Happy Birthday Chantel McGregor

Chantel McGregor at The Flowerpot Derby in December 2012

A very happy birthday to award-winning guitarist and vocalist Chantel McGregor.

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HAS-Returned News

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Some news from Howard Sinclair, who’s not only been playing keys for Also Eden but, like many of the best prog musos, has also been working on another project.

HAS-Retuned, the new electro-acoustic band fronted by singer-songwriter Howard Sinclair, are excited to introduce their final complete line-up: with Patrick “Patch” Sanders taking up lead guitar, alongside Becky Baldwin on bass and Jenn Haneef on drums.

Patch has been playing guitar for 15 years and studied Professional Musicianship at Bristol Institute of Modern Music (BIMM). He is currently active in several projects, including female-fronted Melodic Rock band “Control the Storm” and Heavy Metal tribute band “Metalhead”. Playing electric lead guitar, Patch will incorporate his interest in Blues and Soft Rock as part of the approach that Retuned are taking with their new album.

Patch says: “I was keen to join HAS-Retuned to expand my range beyond Metal and into a more acoustic driven genre. Since I already know Becky from other projects we have worked on, we knew we would work well, and we seem to have come together quickly as a whole band. I’m looking forward to getting into the studio now and laying down the tracks we’ve been working on these past few weeks”.

Now that everyone is in place, the band is due to start work on their new album “The Light Broke In” throughout March, and the studio has been booked ready to begin recording in Bristol this coming weekend.

“Having Patch on board, it really does feel like we now have the right people in the right places” Howard says; “I was already extremely pleased to have had Becky and Jenn come in and immediately make their mark on the evolving music, and now Patch is adding his stamp and it’s simply sounding ‘right’ – so we’re ready to jump in feet first and get recording some of the magic that we’ve been finding in the studio together”.

HAS-Retuned is a band that offers fresh, original material with wide ranging influences including Marillion, Nick Drake, Counting Crows and Panic Room, and the group intends to complement their upcoming album with a selection of Live gigs across the UK, featuring material from Howard’s previous solo album “The Delicious Company of Freaks” alongside the new songs.

More information on Howard Sinclair’s website at www.howardalansinclair.co.uk/

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Happy Birthday, Heather & Kim

The Heather Findlay Band at Bilston Robin 2. 19 Nov 2012Touchstone at The Garage in Islington

Many happy returns to two of the ladies whose music has featured a lot on this blog over many years, both of whom share a birthday, Heather Findlay and Kim Seviour.

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The Bridge from Matt Stevens “Lucid”

To quote Matt Stevens himself

This is the longest song on my new album and features Charlie Cawood on bass, Stuart Marshall on Drums and Chrissie Caulfield on the violin. They’re all amazing musicians. It’s a bit It’s A Wonderful Life themed. Spoken word by Nick Wyatt Duke from my so called friends Trojan Horse.

The album is released on Esoteric Records on March 31st.

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