Music Blog

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

Gleb Kolyadin announces crowdfunded solo album

glebPianist Gleb Kolyadin, the instrumental half of Iamthemorning, has announced a solo albun crowdfunded on Indiegogo.

As he says on the crowdfunding page:

An incredible luck and honour, it gave me hope that I might spark your interest with something different – an instrumental album. With several years in the making, this project became the essence of everything I enjoy as a musician. Classical piano, ethnic influences, electronic oddness, minimalism, art-rock and fusion – all blend together.

I put together a group of amazingly talented musicians to help bring this all to life, and I am sure the names will get you excited. To keep things interesting, I asked them all to unleash their creative freedom, so be prepared for unique and wild. Also, for all you audiophiles out there, I’m preparing a special high resolution treat.

The project is well on its way, and the piano recording is already scheduled at the same amazing Moscow studio that brought you piano of the Lighthouse.

And on Twitter Gleb is promising it will be epic,

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How Good It Is

After the Coro94 Chsistmas concert in December, I remarked that my next concert, Black Sabbath at the 02 Arena, was just about about the complete opposite.

But the world of music has other ideas.

Black Sabbath lead guitarist Tony Iommi worked with his friend Catherine Ogle, the Dean of Birmingham, on this five-minute arrangement, which celebrates peace, harmony and the Cathedral’s role in the heart of the city. The Birmingham rock legend said he wanted to ‘give something back’ to his home city. The words are inspired by Psalm 133, and it’s sung by the boys and men of Birmingham Cathedral Choir.

It’s as if the musical universe is trying to mess with my mind.

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A Depressing Quote

This quote from Radio One’s Clara Anfo, taken from a Guardian feature in which various pundits and tastemakers were asked their predictions for 2017, is profoundly depressing.

In pop music, you can have guys and girls who all look amazing and they might have brilliant songs, but if they can’t bring it to life, if they haven’t got the spunk to bring what they’re supposedly trying to sell to interviews, or on the radio or online, I’m not going to be interested.

In her world, there is apparently no room for anyone for whom the most interesting thing about them is the music they make, even if those are the very people who ultimately make the best music. No, it’s all about being the right sort of media celebrity. It doesn’t matter how good your songs are if you don’t have the right back story.

I could say “I must be getting old” at this point, except that this nonsense is nothing new. In 2017, just like every other year, the best music will fly completely under the radar of the media tastemakers and gatekeepers. The “mainstream” has always been clogged up with ephemeral celebrity fluff.

The job of the rest of us is to signal-boost the good stuff so that it can find an audience.

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Cygański: Transition

cyganski-transitionComing Soon!

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Touchstone and The Heather Findlay Band at The Borderline

Aggie of Touchstone

Touchstone came to London’s Borderline for the second night of their short Christmas tour. These three dates were the band’s first live appearances since the 2015 farewell gigs for Kim Seviour and Rob Cottingham, and gave audience the first opportunity to see the band’s new lineup featuring Aggie Figurska on lead vocals and Liam Holmes on keys.

Support was an acoustic version of The Heather Findlay band. Billed as a trio with guitarist Martin Ledger and harpist Sarah Dean, they were augmented with Touchstone’s Henry Rogers alternating between cajon and keys. Beginning with “Eyes of the Forest”, they delivered a beautiful set with Sarah Dean’s harp given a lot of prominence.

Most of the set came from the newly-released “I Am Snow”, the exceptions being the dreamy “Lake Sunday” from “The Illusion’s Reckoning”, and a stunning cover of Steeleye Span’s version of the medieval carol “Gaudete” with all the band contributing to the multi-part harmony. The two brand new songs, “I Am Snow” itself, and “Dark Eyes” came over strongly, as did the cover of Sandy Denny’s “Winter Winds”. The medley of “Winter is King” and “Day 13″ was another highlight. 2016 does seem to be the year Heather Findlay came into her own as a solo artist; there’s a new-found confidence about her performances this year.

Touchstone hit the stage with metal guitar barrage of “Flux” and proceeded to play a very hard-rocking set with a greater emphasis on shorter, punchier songs than some of their epic-laden sets of the recent past. They drew heavily from the riffy “Oceans of Time” as well including all three songs from the new EP, although they did find room for a few longer songs from earlier albums. “Half-Moon Meadow” from “The City Sleeps” turned into an extended wig-out of guitar and keyboard soloing.

Aggie’s voice has the range and power to hit all the right notes, even if she hasn’t quite got inside the songs and made them hers yet. Her stagecraft still needs work; there was very little interaction with the audience and much of the set proceeded without announcements. Much like Karnataka’s Hayley Griffiths, she comes from a background in musical theatre rather than rock, and needs time to grow into the role of rock frontwoman.

The main set ended with bombastic versions of Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” and Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas”, before the band encored with the epic “Wintercoast” with that distinctive machine-gun bass riff, and Moo and Aggie singing Rob Cottingham’s former male lead parts in harmony. Then came the soaring title track of the new EP “Lights from the Sky” to bring the high energy set to a conclusion.

This short tour represents a new beginning for Touchstone. It’s never easy to replace a much-loved lead singer, especially when Kim Seviour’s sometimes fragile vocals and quirky stage persona were a big part of their appeal. With just three new songs from the EP, Aggie is still singing a set made up largely of older songs written for a different singer, and to some extent the new-look band is still a work in progress. Like Karnataka (twice!) and Mostly Autumn, a new lineup with a new lead singer often comes into its own once they have a substantial amount of new material to perform live. With a new album “Dangerous Days” due in 2017 the best of the new Touchstone is surely yet to come.

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RIP Rick Parfitt

rick-parfittBeen off-line over Christmas, so didn’t have the chance at the time to mark the passing of Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt, who died on Christmas Eve. And that in turn was overshadowed by the passing of a far bigger figure from the world of pop just a few days later.

People took the piss out of Status Quo; they only knew three chords, all their songs sounded the same; they endlessly riffed on “Roadhouse Blues” by The Doors. But that missed the point. They were one of those bands who did one thing but did it very, very well, rock’n'roll stripped back to its primal essence in the same spirit as Motörhead or The Ramones. Almost everyone I’ve met who’s ever seen The Quo on stage affirms that they were an awesome live band.

Read Michael Hann’s excellent tribute in The Guardian, who puts it better than I ever could.

2016 has been a dreadful year for musicians, actors and writers dying at a seemingly ever-increasing frequency. Part of it just because the heroes of our generation are growing old. But another factor has to be the explosion of popular culture in the 1960s and onwards. There are far more high profile musicians and actors from the generation now reaching their 70s than their equivalents from previous generations. The passing of music hall stars from the 1930s in the 1970s never had quite the same impact.

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Orange Goblin Announce Benefit Show For Team Rock Staff

orange-goblinHaving raised nearly £60,000 in less than two days for the 73 former employees of music publisher, Team Rock, British metallers Orange Goblin have announced an intimate fundraising gig at The Black Heart in Camden, London for Thursday January 5th, 2017.

Ben Ward has said this regarding the show:

“A few days ago when I heard the news that my good friends at Team Rock were being made redundant with no pay during Christmas week I just felt that I had to do something. That night my girlfriend and I set up the Just Giving page and within 2 days we had raised almost £60,000 and we were blown away by the response and generosity of people all over the world. To help raise even more funds, Orange Goblin will play a very special show at the Black Heart in Camden on January 5th.

This will be a minimum £10 donation to get in and admission will be on a first come, first served basis as the venue only holds 120 people! All proceeds for the night will go to the Just Giving page in hope that we can give something back to the journalists that have supported our band and our scene for many, many years.”

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Threshold name new album and announce tour

threshold-2017-tour

British progressive metal veterans Threshold have revealed the name of their eleventh album, which the band are currently recording at Thin Ice studios. It’s “Legends of the Shires”, and will be released in 2017.  More details will be revealed in the new year.

The band also announce a tour with dates across Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and The Netherlands, ending at London’s O2 Academy on 10th December 2017

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Filling the Hole

As an independent blogger, I was sometimes annoyed that so many prog bands sent their press releases announcing new records, tours or even new lineups exclusively to Prog Magazine, who would frequently announce things before they appeared on the band’s own websites. But I understand why the bands all did it; Prog has a reach no independent blogger could match, and if exclusively was their price, it was a price worth paying as far as the bands were concerned.

Prog’s sudden and unexpected demise leaves a huge hole.

Independent bloggers can’t hope to fill a hole that big, but we’ll try to do whatever we can. I try ro curate the news section of this site rather than copy-pasting every single press release that shows up in my email. But it goes without saying that any of the bands who feature on this site regularly (You know who you are, and so do our readers) won’t be ignored.

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Karnataka announce 2017 tour

Karnataka announce a 2017 European tour taking in many of the usual venues, in which they will be playing the albums “The Gathering Light” and “Secrets of Angels” in full.

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