Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 40

Still plenty to review here on Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 40.  One week away from the last Saturday of 2023, and we seem to be trapped in this progressive paradox lately.  There were just so many albums in the vast genre being released, and all of them magical and worthy of review.  So, we start off with a progressive jazz fusion jam band that’s getting quite the grease from the “Squeaky” release (yeah I’m a poet of sorts).  Then, we stay in the lane but it turns very dark and ominous, and our headlights are not what they should be, so we’re sort of edging our seat, our ears to a pending fear we both are responsible for — and is out of our control (you’ll follow me eventually — or maybe not).  And, because it seems to be the year of the Polish stoner rock fuzz or doom bands, we couldn’t help but give a review on a funny named band and their disgruntled one word title stoner/fuzz album that made it in under the wire!  So, before it becomes 2024, let us get right into this week’s Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 40 picks, so you can go and listen to them!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Where Host Mark Kuligowski adds three (3) more cool reviews]

Squeaky FeetCause For Alarm

It’s true what they say (I’m not going to say it) about the importance of a name.  Squeaky Feet, conceived at Berklee College of Music, is the example of skillful, mindful, and technical musicianship in the hands of extremely creative and improvisational craftspeople that completely understand their audience’s persistence for continued greatness for surprises and shifts in music.  We love epic instrumentals with mind-blowing pace and frictional changes that come from out of nowhere from any instrument of choice.  Hell, you add in a sound that shouldn’t be there and make it the front runner, and we’re suckers no matter where you take it.  This is Cause For Alarm and the stellar style of a jam band gone completely off the prog-rails!  They even know exactly when to bring in some lyric and vocal without putting the album off its pace or pattern, and toward the end of the record when another prog-style enters their audio arena techniques.

There’s not a solitary song on this one hour and nineteen minute juggernaut jazz to rock progressively produced that won’t surprise your ears or make you feel like moving to it’s style varieties.  There’s something in the modern world and from the past.  It has lovely pace, electronica, and balls to the wall progressive plateaus and crescendos that are worthy of the praise and attention they are currently receiving across the music multiverse.  The guitar work is mesmerizing at times, solo ridiculous in spots, and rhythm carrying throughout, which you will really come to understand and appreciate once you get to the epic, ‘Premonition,’ as to how it all really is remarkably well conceived and made.  Just truly an all-encompassing jam record, maybe in the talk of in the greats of all time.  And, this is a debut album, music multiverse listeners!  But, you be the judge!  Get Cause for Alarm on your stereo or in your earbuds, so you can see what the Squeaky Feet are getting the ‘grease’ (oh, yeah, I said it, oops).

The Band

  • Colin Shore – Guitar, Vocals
  • Greg King – Guitar
  • Jimmy Finnegan – Bass, Vocals
  • Kevin D’Angelo – Drums, Percussion, Programming
  • Brian Keller – Keyboards, Synthesizer, Vocals, Vocoder, Saxophone, Flute
  • Additional Musicians
    • Eliot Kershner – Piano
    • Mark Lettieri – Guitar

Cause For Alarm Tracklisting

  1. Pantomine
  2. Change to Grow
  3. Little Bit Further
  4. Generica
  5. Progress
  6. Tunnel Vision (with Mark Lettieri)
  7. Shovelware
  8. Pull the Lever
  9. Premonition
  10. Cause For Alarm

 

 

 

Mariusz DudaAFR AI D

Are you afraid?  You know the artist, so you’re probably expecting you should be.  It appears that despite the menacing qualities of all that Mariusz Duda touches (Riverside and Lunatic Soul, and production on the latest from Green Lung), the Polish multi-instrumentalist, progressive singer-songwriter god might find another avenue in his solo universe.  Well, when you do something so damn well, why mess with it, right?  AFR AI D is no exception to the music realm and compositions that have made Mariusz Duda the captain at the throne of progressive industrial rock, if you will.  While I was entranced by the recent Riverside album, considering it in the best albums of 2023, I was really more intrigued and beguiled by AFR AI D!  Maybe because I am not as familiar with the legacy of his recent solo albums, but I am definitely an all-in fan now!

Did you ever wonder what Depeche Mode would sound like if they were nearly completely instrumental, wondering how the kind of moody delivery might wind up in the hands of a progressive, sly-ambient, and industrial glaze?  Well hear what Duda has cooking!  The melody and dark moody instrumentation and mix here is carefully haunting, perplexing, and even unsettling.  The keyboard and piano phantom-like space play of ‘I Love To Chat With You’ is both lovely and dystopian at the same time with a realization of that simple timing, too.  He does the same thing with the drums in ‘Why So Serious, Cassandra’ and brings back the lovely and menacing keyboard and piano, messing with it deeper.

Is it effortless?  It does seem so, when you listen to this for the third and fourth time, and realize the overall precision of it all.  While I have no fear that AI was used in the making of this darkly gorgeous recording, after all, in comparison Duda is a Reznor, utilizing the instruments and technology to raise his game.  I am always, daily, worried by the seemingly thoughtlessness to the value of talented musicians.  If you don’t have talent, the creativity and the dedication necessary to make a compelling enough case to be a musical artist — than it should not be called music, album or single, and there would be no pending doomy feel toward copyright — or whether something is truly music.  This album is truly music, and it makes a strong heavy case in industrial progressive rock.  It’s creativity at the helm of a true musician, a craftsman, is showcased in every inch, even when ‘Embracing the Unknown,’  like us all — uncertain and maybe — afraid.

AFR AI D Tracklisting

  1. Taming Nightmares
  2. Good Morning Fearmongering
  3. Fake Me Deep, Murf
  4. Bots’ Party
  5. I Love To Chat With You
  6. Why So Serious, Cassandra?
  7. Mid Journey To Freedom
  8. Embracing The Unknown

 

 

 

Taxi CavemanUgh!

Poland!  What’s up!  It’s been a fabulous year with all kinds of fantastic material coming out of a country near and dear to my heritage, so why not keep it going with — Captain Caveman!  I’m sorry, when I first heard of this and listened to it, it was the first thing that comes to my mind, and listening to the album — in some places — still leads me there!  But, it’s not Captain Caveman, is it!  Taxi Caveman comes to us from Warsaw Poland, and they come at us, like a stoner, hard rock group on a mission to riff you in half!  Hell yeah!  Put us in the Polish-pit and let’s mosh it out beyotches!  The vocal, the guitars, the drums and all come crashing in without need for tempo building track, so Ugh! is off!  Well, the really don’t have time to be that way do they, considering this release comes to us on December 15th of 2023, and they’ve got to get your undivided attention, y’know!

The band does everything under the sun to grab that attention, including a very hard drivin’ Foo Fighters like gripper called ‘Sexy Caveman,’ where you realize three songs in that you are kind-of really starting to dig it all!  Now, you’re not going to be overpowered by the vocalist at this point (probably), but you are going to be later on (wait for it).  You are going to notice the length of repetition of the riff and rhythm guitars in each particular song, but that too will have some change (wait for it).  That being said, that’s the intention that comes with this hard rock driven style they’re not only emulating, but actually making their own in particular fashion, especially in the gorilla-warfare-like temp and pace.  I even love the thundering growl in the title track!  Well placed my Polish metal friends!  And, it’s the perfect end that leads us into ‘Funeral Kingdom’ which really sealed the deal for me that this had the musical thrash and heaviness of a certain early 90s Skid Row record (Slave to the Grind).  And, here’s where the wait for it moment comes, ‘What A Day.’  The vocalist gets a easy rock riff opportunity, and the band slides into a nearly radio friendly delivery, which is a neat little accompaniment to the record (while it probably does take away from the flow — I know).  Don’t worry, the next two tracks bring you back, potentially with a hint more doom in ‘Wait Outside,’ but the vocal you’re starting to realize more so.  Perhaps, the issue, is where in the production it is, but I can certainly understand why.  They want to bring the heavy, and they’re hanging their hat there very well, and mixing it up, too!

There’s a lot more here in more listens, so don’t think one time through you got this figured.  This is a fun heavy stoner record with testaments to what this band could have on their horizon, especially among the love and support of what Poland seems to be producing, and the attention being given by record labels we’re familiar with.  They have the talent and a sound that’s bursting at the seams!  Ugh! is a sound in a moment, and they capture it fun, wildly, and with a determination that makes me think (Captain Caveman!) — no not that!  Taxi Caveman has the time warp vehicle to do whatever they want!  And, they can pick us up here, at Beyond Your Radio, any time, as we thoroughly enjoyed the ride!

The Band

  • Bartosz Nauman – bass, vocals
  • Piotr Rutkowski – guitar, vocals
  • Vincent Grabb [Bartosz Gamracy] – drums, vocals

Ugh! Tracklisting

  1. Duke Nukem
  2. Black Magic Hole
  3. Sexy Caveman
  4. Ugh!
  5. Funeral Kingdom
  6. What A Day
  7. Wait Outside
  8. Don’t Blame Me

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 39

This time of year my ear wants to slow down.  I use music to get into a finalization of the year and the start of a new one for work and projects that pertain to the jobs I have.  That’s right, as you probably realized Beyond Your Radio is a hobby, and these Album Review Saturdays 2023 are completely done out of love for all things albums and music, as well as trying get other people excited about the art form that sometimes feels like it’s close to being abandoned.  As much as I want to “slow down” in my listening, there are still late albums coming out, and those a few weeks back that remain on my heavy “got to listen to” for Album Review Saturdays 2023 before the year ends!  In this week, wow #39, the genre is a completely mixed bag, but all of these records were completely worthy of being reviewed for one music moment or another.  So, whatever your listening fancy, get your earbuds, your record player (I love saying that), or your car stereo ready for these three very different albums from the music multiverse.

 

YouTube Channel Version Link
[These articles with 3 additional album reviews]

 

Ambrose AkinmusireOwl Song

Is there not a more iconic sound in jazz than the trumpet?  Okay, I can probably start a show or an argument on that, so let’s just table that to “it’s a very iconic piece of the jazz sound world,” and there have been some incredibly prolific entertainers that mastered the wind instrument to the point of making some of the most recognizable music across generations ever!  Ambrose Akinmusire with his newest album, Owl Song, is approaching that status.  The intimacy and the careful way in which his trumpeting skills are utilized throughout the eight compositions in 42 minutes, not only reminds us of the greats, but showcases the emotional ear fortitude that he commands to the sway and call of the music accompaniment.  And, with Bill Frisell and Herlin Riley surrounding, embracing, and sometimes baiting Ambrose, you know the company wouldn’t keep if the greatness wasn’t true.  I even love that two songs are titled after the two legendary gentlemen that have made this such an amazing recording.

Owl Song is one of the best Jazz records of the year.  Why?  First off, it is using the simplest of formats of jazz.  While other records, and they are very good and triumphantly entertaining and worthy of best of 2023, utilize guest vocalizations/speeches or technological warfare (which is cool and modern), Ambrose and his guests utilize the soft, the sounds, tempos and tones only, stretching the ear’s ability to feel the moment and create either imagery or stories in the mind, emotionally tethering us to the music track by track, appreciating every sound and waiting in anticipation for the next.  Some albums there is too much, or that can be shaky moments that break that connection, but not on Owl Song.  You can feel the wise old owl, whether you feel the musicians being that, or it’s what the owl sees in all its quiet, watching and listening glory.

I believe, since it is a late entry, there will be a lot of reviewers and people like myself that will find they will go back to this record and truly feel that this was beyond worthy of being on an elite list of records in 2023 overall, as well as in the jazz world.  Owl Song goes by at a lovely pace, and it will continue to be a record of choice even in the holiday season as I try that “slow down” I was talking about in the opening.  We all need it, now and again.  “Who” that man that brings this to us, Ambrose Akinmusire, that’s “who.”

The Band

  • Ambrose Akinmusire – Trumpet
  • Bill Frisell – Guitar
  • Herlin Riley – Drums

Owl Song Tracklisting

  1. Owl Song
  2. Weighted Corners
  3. Flux Feelings
  4. Owl Song 2
  5. Grace
  6. Mr. Frisell
  7. Mr. Riley
  8. Henya

 

 

 

Duster – Remote Echoes

Duster, if you don’t know the history of, is an American indie rock band from San Jose, California formed back in 1996 kind of noted for that growing slowcore and space rock revival movements during that time.  Now, you have to know that this band had a large hiatus that took its toll on timing, but they managed to return last year with and album called Together.  While predominantly instrumentalist in the band since conception you would sort of be surprised by their history of albums and the attention to the lo-fi fuzz feel of bad recordings, but they are intentionally done from what I can hear, which makes them feel nostalgic at moments, fresh in others, and back club indie rock-ish.  Cool right?  And, I don’t know who singing, but it’s really more so done on the same channel as the band’s instruments (not really leading the way but providing a bit of context for tracks).  Just as a fun side note:  No, that’s not someone calling in on your phone — when the music suddenly pause-stops, it’s the intentional break at end of certain songs.

So, where does that leave us with Remote Echoes?  Well, if you’re a fan of this band, their style and delivery concepts, you are going to really like this one!  They took old, unreleased cassette tracks (from what I gather, as I had to gain some context) and found a way to engineer them into these 14 fuzzy songs with all kinds of little clever nuggets thrown into the music (now I’m not saying they were not there before, but how am I to know, considering my lack of knowledge of the band).  ‘Moon In Aries’ is a prime example, and kind of the reason for going over this album, as it has a hint of “Jingle Bells” in it!  That’s right!  T’is the season for a little lo-fi fuzz indie rock with some slight of instrumental hand to brighten up the track.  There are lots of these kinds of echoes, if you will, even in the overall production quality and how the tracks come back around, as if the melody or instrumental play is echoing itself.  And, you have some echoes of even further into the past with a hint of psychedelia, too.  However, I will say there are odd ends to the tracks, and the brevity is probably going to agitate some listeners.  The oddities that come up, too, are either going to be a hit, like ‘Testphase’ and ‘Lost Time’ or a filler like feel in ‘Cigarettes and Coffee.’

If you want to place this in or out of wheelhouse think it might the background of Marcy’s Playground against Pinback and Coedine, I guess? Ah, just take a listen and see if Remote Echoes lost songs collection for Duster does the job for you — it might just be something you didn’t expect.

The Band (most of which are multi-instrumentalists)

  • Clay Parton – instruments, production (1996-2001, 2018–present)
  • Canaan Dove Amber – instruments, production (1996-2001, 2018–present)
  • Jason Albertini – drums, production (1998-2001, 2018–2022)
  • Krag Likins

Remote Echoes Tracklisting

  1. Before the Veil
  2. Cigarettes and Coffee
  3. The Weed Supreme
  4. Untitled 59
  5. I Know I Won’t
  6. Moon in Aries
  7. Glue
  8. Testphase
  9. Lost Time
  10. Strange
  11. The Mood
  12. Country Heather
  13. Untitled 84
  14. Darby

 

Kadabra – Umbra

This is my first ever listen of Spokane, Washington’s Kadabra.  The heavy psych-sludge rock world has certainly been ablaze with great material this year!  Our Twitter feed is always scrolling from lists to lists, month to month, and when Umbra released, it wasn’t long before we saw it in best lists for that month (October I believe it was).  And now, with the year’s end lists coming out, we have definitely seen a few trusted sites and officiantos put this band either on the list or in the honorable mentions.  So, when the slate was clean for a listen, I jumped in!

Heavy Psych Sounds Records has apparently found themselves a real technical darling here with all kinds of additional uncommon tricks up it’s dark sleeves!  The commitment to the sound and the heavy riff and organ darkness is genuine and somewhat of a higher calling attention for your ears because of the bombastic controlled nature of it.  Their page kind of speaks the truth, I think, when they say a band born in dark times.  Hell, yeah, 2020.  Jesus (I’m sure he’s abandoned this band already, ha ha)!  How do you even become a band at that time, survive, and on the same side of that — deliver like this?!  It’s a testament to the fever that burns within these talented men of the heavy psychedelic rock cult side.  They didn’t need any “abra” — they obviously were not searching for that kind of genie!  They got a dark genie at their musical whim that you will not want to put back in the bottle!  I can’t even imagine a live set — but I’m definitely going to be at a show as soon as possible (get thee to a nunnery)!

What to expect?!  Expect a devilish pursuit of riffing you ears off, while organ grinds your soul, the drum keeps the groove-line to the blood letting featuring the perfect modern stoner vocals to tantalize your lust for dark knowledge.  Are you off to the church of no affiliation?  Are you down with the depths of modern-sabbathism at the altar of thunderous long pursuits to a reckoning you’re not quite certain of?  Yes, I did feel that some of the songs went a little far, and the payoffs didn’t reach the crescendo I was expecting, but then I realize where these songs start, so how the hell can you finish them darker or heavier?  I think Kadabra could find a way.  Umbra is a heavy stoner-rocker’s record that will pull you immediately in, ensnare you like a ‘Serpent’ and either squeeze you into pulp, or thrash you around madly after leaving you catatonic from its venom.  Either way — it’s a fabulous way to serve your ears a forty-seven minute treat that will…reach out and grab ya (sorry, I had to — regretting it now — no I’m not)!

The Band

  • Garrett Zanol Guitars / Vocals
  • Ian Nelson Bass
  • Chase Howard Drums
  • Blake Braley Organs/Keys

Umbra Tracklisting

  1. White Willows
  2. High Priestess
  3. Midnight Hour
  4. The Serpent
  5. The Devil
  6. Battle Of Avalon
  7. Mountain Tamer
  8. The Serpent II

 

 

 

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 38

Somehow we have blasted nearly through another year!  It’s astounding in both time and audio, and on this Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 38 that trend continues!  These albums today while completely different in their genre, design and delivery, are worthy of their reviews, as well as your music multiverse ears.  We waited twenty years for the latest from this progressive solo artist, and not only has he delivered, he couldn’t make up his mind on the mixes – so like me on my lists sometimes – he chose to include them both!  We have a long standing Canadian alternative rock band that had been on a little bit shorter hiatus then our progger, and their album slipped criminally past everyone it seems, but we got, we heard it, and you’re going to dig their return!  Our third band hails from America, but that’s not what their band name suggests, which might throw people.  And on top of that, their latest album further confuses the title for region and the very special musical instrument that uniquely defines this albums indie sound.  Without further mixes and confusions, let’s get Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 38 to you!

 

YouTube Channel Version Link
[Album Reviews w/special guest + 3 more album reviews]

 

Peter GabrielI/O

Where does one start with record such as this (wow, nice start right — let’s use a cliche)?  Peter Gabriel had been basically dropping a single per month since the start of 2023 showcasing the music while staying relevant, when he had been missing from the new material scene for 20 years!  I didn’t partake.  I did not want to listen to a single from Peter Gabriel.  I want to have the album experience, especially when it took this amount of time to get to an album of new material.  Therefore, I waited until the actual release date so I could digest the album in full.  I feel sorry for everyone who did not, as I feel it does/did warp your sense of the entire recording.  Turkey on Thanksgiving is best in the format of all that accompanies it for the time and hours and the company you keep (to go back a few weeks).  It’s just not that moving in solitary dish, maybe alone, or coming at you on Monday afternoon, popping it from a TV Dinner package (okay, I just dated myself there).  Go back if you did this to yourself.  Don’t knock the single(s)!  Digest the album, as I don’t think there is any other way to put into perspective the enormous dedication put to this solitary album.

The bright side and dark side are not a money grabbing attempt.  I truly believe the two different mixes leave a genuinely different impression of the material in each and every song.  The textures, the background, the keyboard tones and fluctuations within are escalated and de-escalated as if they were touched by the ear of God (yeah, I can’t explain it any other way).  I’m not going to get into the audio experience between the two.  I am merely here to state that they are necessary to the profound, touching, and deep interpretation for the listener.  This is not a self indulgent effort from one of the best solo progressive artists to grace the planet.  This is a legendary progressive experience that he has been building toward his entire career.  And, yes, that does make it sound like I am exalting this record above all others (even So my music multiverse listeners).  There are familiar chords and tones that harken back to songs, and create an attachment to the past — sort of the “I” for “in” if you will, which ultimately effected the “O” or “output.”  And, Gabriel acknowledges this fact in the actual album.

The songs are uniquely brilliant parts of the whole, and they stretch in many musical directions from songs to song, and even with the songs themselves, which is the mark of the musician and writer that he is.  He could have done anything, and it would have done well.  He could have released songs that fit in the wheelhouse of his prior successes.  He could have settled for relevance based on his past with Genesis, as well as his record sales success, or even the rennounded concerts that he has put together (Secret World was amazing, but I’m hearing even greater things from this recent tour).  Instead, Peter Gabriel looked down the ‘Four Kinds of Horses’ as in the song and decided he was not going to claim to be different — he was going to execute it with all his musical might, and of course all the musicians he could to bring it all to life!

‘The Court‘ is in.  It should be unanimous that I/O is work to be reckoned with for 2023 and years to come.  There are masterpieces of songwriting within it from start to finish, and their two brilliant mixes for you to interpret from.  Enjoy one of the best works of 2023 my music multiverse listeners!  Peter Gabriel knew you deserved it!

The Band [so you understand the scope of the work]

Principal musicians

  • Peter Gabriel – lead vocals, backing vocals, treated vocals (on “And Still”) keyboards, piano (on “The Court”, “So Much”, “Olive Tree”, “Love Can Heal”, “And Still” and “Live and Let Live”), synths, programming (on “Panopticom”, “The Court”, “I/O”, “Road to Joy”, “Olive Tree”, “This Is Home”, “And Still” and “Live and Let Live”), percussion (on “Four Kinds of Horses”, “Love Can Heal”,”And Still” and “Live and Let Live”), manipulated charango (on “Road to Joy”), glass harp (on “And Still”)
  • David Rhodes – guitars (except on “Playing for Time”), acoustic guitar (on “Olive Tree”), acoustic 12 string guitar (on “So Much” and “Olive Tree”), backing vocals
  • Tony Levin – basses
  • Manu Katché – drums (except on “Four Kinds of Horses”, “So Much”,”Love Can Heal” and “And Still”)
  • Ged Lynch – percussion (on “Olive Tree” and “Love Can Heal”)
  • Tom Cawley – piano (on “Playing for Time”)
  • Evan Smith – saxophone (on “Olive Tree”)
  • Josh Shpak – trumpet (on “Road to Joy” and “Olive Tree”)
  • Melanie Gabriel – backing vocals (on “The Court”, “Four Kinds of Horses”, “So Much”, “Love Can Heal” and “Live and Let Live)
  • Ríoghnach Connolly – backing vocals (on “Panopticom”, “Love Can Heal” and “This Is Home”)
  • Jennie Abrahamson – backing vocals (on “Love Can Heal”)
  • Linnea Olsson – cello (on “Love Can Heal”), backing vocals (on “Love Can Heal”)
  • Angie Pollock – synths (on “Love Can Heal”)
  • Brian Eno – synths (on “Panopticom”, “The Court”, “This Is Home” and “Live and Let Live”), bells (on “Panopticom”), percussion (on “The Court”), rhythm programming and progressing (on “Four Kinds of Horses” and “Road to Joy”), electric worms and additional synths (on “Four Kinds of Horses”), manipulated guitar and ukulele (on “Road to Joy”), rhythm programming (on “Live and Let Live”)
  • Oli Jacobs – synths (on “Panopticom”, “Playing for Time”, “I/O” and “This Is Home”), programming (on “Panopticom”, “The Court”, “I/O”, “This Is Home” and “Live and Let Live”), piano (on “Four Kinds of Horses”), tambourine (on “This is Home”)
  • Don-E – bass synth (on “Road to Joy”)
  • Katie May – acoustic guitar (on “Panopticom” and “I/O”), percussion (on “The Court”, “This Is Home” and “Live and Let Live”), Rickenbacker guitar (on “I/O”), synths (on “I/O”), rhythm programming (on “Four Kinds of Horses”), guitar effects (on “Love Can Heal”)
  • Richard Evans – D whistle (on “I/O”), mandolin (on “Olive Tree”)
  • Richard Chappell – programming (on “Panopticom”, “The Court”, “I/O”, “Olive Tree”, “And Still” and “Live and Let Live”)
  • Richard Russell – filtered percussion (on “Four Kinds of Horses”)
  • Hans-Martin Buff – additional percussion and synths (on “Road to Joy”)
  • Ron Aslan – additional synths (on “Road to Joy”)
  • Oli Middleton – percussion (on “This Is Home”)
  • Paolo Fresu – trumpet (on “Live and Let Live”)Steve Gadd – brush loop (on “Live and Let Live”)

Orchestral and choral musicians

  • Violins: Everton Nelson, Ian Humphries, Louisa Fuller, Charles Mutter, Cathy Thompson, Natalia Bonner, Richard George, Marianne Haynes, Martin Burgess, Clare Hayes, Debbie Widdup, Odile Ollagnon
  • Violas: Bruce White, Fiona Bonds, Peter Lale, Rachel Roberts
  • Cellos: Ian Burdge (including solo cello on “And Still”), Chris Worsey, Caroline Dale, William Schofield, Tony Woollard, Chris Allan
  • Double basses: Chris Laurence, Stacey Watton, Lucy Shaw
  • Trumpet: Andrew Crowley
  • Tenor trombone/Euphonium: Andy Wood
  • Tenor trombone: Tracy Holloway
  • Bass trombone: Richard Henry
  • Tuba: David Powell
  • French horn: David Pyatt, Richard Bissill
  • Flute: Eliza Marshall
  • Orchestra conductor: John Metcalfe
  • Orchestra leader: Everton Nelson
  • Orchestral arrangements: John Metcalfe, Peter Gabriel (on “The Court”, “So Much”, “Olive Tree”, “And Still” and “Live and Let Live”) and Ed Shearmur (on “Playing for Time”)
  • The Soweto Gospel Choir: (on “I/O”, “Road to Joy” and “Live and Let Live”)[65]
  • Soprano: Linda Sambo, Nobuhle Dhlamini, Phello Jiyane, Victoria Sithole
  • Alto: Maserame Ndindwa, Phumla Nkhumeleni, Zanele Ngwenya, Duduzile Ngomane
  • Tenor: George Kaudi, Vusimuzi Shabalala, Xolani Ntombela, Victor Makhathini
  • Bass: Thabang Mkhwanazi, Goodwill Modawu, Warren Mahlangu, Fanizile Nzuza
  • Soloists: Phello Jiyane (Soprano), Duduzile Ngomane (Alto), Vusimuzi Shabalala (Tenor), Fanizile Nzuza (Bass), Victor Makhathini (Male voice Zulu improvisations), Phumla Nkhumeleni (Female ululating and chanting) (on “Live and Let Live”)
  • First tenors: Per Bergeå Af Geijerstam, Lukas Gavelin, Stefan Grudén, Lionel Guy, Samuel Göranzon, Björn Hagland, Peter Hagland, Henrik Hallingbäck, Magnus Hjerpe, Oskar Johansson, Lars Plahn, Carl Risinger, Alexander Rosenström, Pär Sandberg, Magnus Sjögren, Magnus Store, Stefan Strålsjö, Henrik Sundqvist, Staffan Sundström, Jon Svedin, Olle Terenius, Maki Yamada
  • Second tenors: Johan Berglund, Kristian Cardell, Jens Carlander, Jun Young Chung, Joakim Ekedahl, Olle Englund, Nils Frykman, Anton Grönberg, Johan Hedlund, Daniel Hjerpe, Fredrik Kjellröier, Kristofer Klerfalk, Nils Klöfver, Mattias Lundblad, Per-Henning Olsson, Peter Stockhaus, Peter Stureson, Anders Sundin, Erik Sylvén, Clas Tegerstrand, Magnus Törnerud, Sebastian Ullmark, Oskar Wetterqvist, Erik Östblom
  • First basses: Jonas Andersson, Filip Backström, Nils Bergel, Rickard Carlsson, Daniel Dahlborg, Oloph Demker, Nils Edlund, Erik Hartman, Lars Johansson Brissman, Elis Jörpeland, Jan Magnusson, Johan Morén, Tobias Neil, David Nogerius, Stein Norheim, Jacob Risberg, Stefan Simon, Henrik Stolare, Tor Thomsson, Håkan Tribell, Gunnar Wall, Fredrik Wetterqvist, Kristofer Zetterqvist, Samuel Åhman
  • Second basses: Gustav Alberius, Lars Annernäs, Emil Bengtsson, Anders Bergendahl, Peter Bladh, Max Block, Ludwig Engblom Strucke, Stefan Ernlund, Fredrik Hoffmann, Boris Klanger, Adam Liifw, Andreas Lundquist, Marcus Lundwall, Joakim Lücke, Johan Muskala, Björn Niklasson, Mattias Nilsson, Elias Norrby, Ola Olén, Carl Sandberg, Magnus Schultzberg, Anand Sharma, Isak Sköld, David Stålhane, Stefan Wesslegård, Gustav Åström
  • Choir conductor: Cecilia Rydinger [sv]

I/O Tracklisting  [Bright Mix and Dark Mix Albums]  Song placements vary on vinyl

  1. Panopticom
  2. Playing For Time
  3. The Court
  4. Four Kinds Of Horses
  5. i/o
  6. Love Can Heal
  7. Road To Joy
  8. So Much
  9. Olive Tree
  10. This Is Home
  11. And Still
  12. Live And Let Live

 

Econoline CrushWhen the Devil Drives

Canadian alternative bands were a plenty back in the hay-day of the Canadian Invasion, as we call it back here in Upstate New York, as we felt the full brunt of it, and we sucked up every minute, every album, and every concert we were afforded.  Econoline Crush was definitely a mid-comer to the invasion, coming in with a little piss and vim and vigor and a signature sound that added a unique industrial edge, setting them slightly apart from the common core of radio, which got them noticed immediately.  Radio noticed and followed immediately thereafter.  The lead singer is the other trick up the sleeve.  Trevor Hurst is a front man for sure!  He carries the heavy lyrical weight and effortlessly sculpts it to meet his alt-rock-industrial pop-chops.  When the Devil Drives, so many many years later, and you’re still driven by Hurst (whether he’s the devil or not), like a Hutchence re-incarnation through a fantastic new set of songs returning us to that feeling we had so many years ago but with a more pop-rock centric feel.

That’s right, I said it.  This feels like a stronger INXS record, and that instantly makes me genuinely happy!  While the industrial hint is still there, the heavy sway is the great heavier rock-pop riff and the genuine swagger of Hurst’s vocals that truly give the record its feel,  Sure we recognize the early signature from the first two tracks, but songs like ‘Smashing Optimism’ gives us all the feel that the groove and rock-pop riff have noticeably won out, or maybe they’ve found a clever way to utilize industrial patterns to shape the audio into a heavy pop-groove?  Either way, I’m so excited that their 15 year hiatus is over, despite the fact the Mr. Hurst has a full time job that’s not in the music wheelhouse (I truly respect him).  While this album has been hardly reviewed throughout the music multiverse it is definitely a welcomed album of 2023 in the house of Beyond Your Radio and our love of Canadian rock!  Mr. Hurst can drive our car and radio anytime!

The Band

  • Trevor Hurst – vocals
  • Dayvid Swart – drums
  • Troy Zak – bass
  • Dan Garrison – guitar

When the Devil Drives Tracklisting

  1. Invincible
  2. No Quitter
  3. Stars Don’t Shine
  4. Only
  5. Locked In Your Stone
  6. Going Under
  7. Smashing Optimism
  8. Salvation / Sensation
  9. Whisper

 

 

BeirutHadsel

No, they’re not from Beirut (but some of you already knew this).  The American indie band took a break at the request of Zachary Condon in the midst of a tour, and somehow he winds up on the  Norwegian island of Hadsel, where he developed laryngitis.  He rented a cabin and was permitted to use the Hadsel Church’s organ, which is when he formulated the album at the fingertips of it.  All during 2020, where we know things were not exactly going well in most of the world.  There’s no question that while there is sadness and hesitation in the mood and tone of the recording, Condon must have found some light within his surrounding, which were probably somewhat fleeting considering the minimalism in the recording as well as the available light in that area of the world (when you think about it).

Now that we’ve stated this, you are probably realizing why the record sounds like it does in comparison to the usual Beirut indie sound.  Condon’s situation (alone without bandmates) and instrument of choice is an interesting moment in recording history in my ears.  This is a artist stricken with issues (one of which is being able to actually sing) but he’s also stricken with a powerful beauty and a stunning instrument unknown at his whim.  Despite the final additions to finalize the album in studio listed below (and still solo as Beirut) this is sparse interpretation, raw, but emotional, which means, to me, that we’re not really going to appreciate the reality the created it.  But, we can appreciate our own interpretation, opening our ears to the music as it lays out the landscape, situation, trials, tribulations, and the glint of hope scuttling around in the music.

The Band

  • Zach Condon – percussion (tracks 1–4, 6–12), trumpet (1–4, 6, 7, 9, 12), modular synthesizer (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 10), French horn (1, 3, 4, 7, 9), church organ (1, 9, 11), pump organ (2–5, 7, 10, 12), glockenspiel (2, 3, 7, 10), Moog Voyager (2, 8, 9, 11, 12), baritone ukulele (3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12), Rhythm Ace drum machine (3, 8, 11), piano (3, 12); tenor ukulele, electric organ (3); continuo organ, tape delay, accordion (6); Roland RS-505 (8, 11), Roland Jupiter (9); bells, field recording (10); Auto-Orchestra drum machine (12)

Hadsel Tracklisting

  1. Hadsel
  2. Arctic Forest (Instrumental)
  3. Baion
  4. So Many Plans
  5. Melbu (Instrumental)
  6. Stokmarknes
  7. Island Life
  8. Spillhaugen
  9. January 18th
  10. Süddeutsches Ton-Bild-Studio
  11. The Tern
  12. Regulatory

Liz Longley On Unknown Sundays 2023

Liz Longley, Berklee College of Music graduate, referred to the song creation of her record, Weightless, as though she had freed the songs from the walls of her apartment.  I think it is a visual and mindful image of the self-torturing nature of that creative process, but also the beauty that the finished product can exhale. Weightless and Liz Longley deserve a deep breath in, and a long listen, as there is a lot there between her apartment walls.

In 2011, the album, Hot Loose Wire, drew my attention because of the solitary singer-songwriter’s balance.  The opening track ‘When You’ve Got Trouble’ might have been one of the best written and thematic recordings of 2011 for female and/or male. Fast forward, and this new recording has given her the comfort and ability to expand her musical reach, which truly is worthy of the space. It is always the true mark of talent to be able to perform genuinely on a solitary stage.

She has drawn comparisons, and rightfully so on this new record to Paula Cole. You’ll know it when you hear it, but if you go back over her recordings you will realize how she is not a copycat, but a scholar to sound, a truthful sound, captured either in the raw–or in the careful ensemble production of a studio, which righteously preserved the singer-songwriter’s vocal touch and tone that truly connects with each song.

She has the sensibility of a country artist, the vocal range that slides beautifully between folk and adult contemporary, and the gift of lyric that gives her the freedom to roll seamlessly beyond the confines of categories. It is also a gift–a talent–to creatively adapt classic covers as she has woven into her recordings (ie: Moondance, River).

Liz maybe has not reached that musical moment on the air waves, but if you’re searching beyond the radio, like we are always here, you’ll find a wonderful, very keen musician and songwriter.  I would imagine that this new album will breath incredible life into live session, making her a sought-after act. Her entire catalog is worth a weekend’s spin on the digital turntable of your chosen music service.  Now, if we could just get those records stores around these parts to stock up on that back catalog, I could get her into already crowded “L” section.

 

SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

Merchandise Albums in my collection:  Weightless (2016), Liz Longley (2015),  Hot Loose Wire (2010)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on January 23rd, 2017.  Liz’s last album, 202o’s Funeral for My Past, was a very nice showcase of vocal beauty featuring gospel emotion, unabashed singing and wavering with hints of contemporary adult athems and Americana, but mostly a definitive look back and ending like feel that was absolutely genuine and heartfelt.  In that time since (which was around the time of parting of record label ways, which was probably self-evident) she gave a little Christmas EP with 17 minutes, which for me as a hater of Christmas albums was just right in time and balance, and she made an acoustic version of the aforementioned record as well.  Looking back on my discovery of her, it was the raw unpredictability of the vocal and the ability to skip in and out of different arrangements, making her voice something different from powerful to storytelling Americana.  It’s still there, and worth your exploration in the music multiverse.  While there’s contemporary for that radio record-company sale bullshit, the real gems are in the rambas, the passionate folk-rock swagger surprises, ballad Americana, and the crunching gospel blues boutes.  The Nashville based singer-songwriter who started this professional music journey back in 2007 with Take You Down is still a stunning vocalist, smart, and definitively connected to her music and the creation and delivery of it.  She has a new EP coming out in 2024, It’s Me Again, which apparently means the funeral of her past she didn’t attend.  Good for her!  

She’s going to be closest to us, here at Beyond Your Radio, in Syracuse at 443 Listening Room on March 17th, a Sunday, which feels like one of those great intimate showcases.  Weather permitting and a long weekend maybe we will see you there, as we’ve not had the pleasure of witnessing her music in the flesh. – Mark Kuligowski  [December 3rd, 2023]

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 37

Lots to choose from, and on this Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 37 we hit a blistering hard rock blues album that doesn’t mind delivering longer old-school spaceaous tracks with harsh and familiar solos to drive you bluesy bananas!  Our Canadian inclusion, which I hinted at on Episode 7 of Albums from “the Leaf,” shares the same love of rock, but their 30 plus years of experience have led them to two amazing recordings that carefully balance their signature sound with new variety, vigor, and technical progression.  And then – a very sharp turn away from rock – into the solo piano works of a talented French pianist this channel has talked about already this year!  In fact, a band she’s involved in could make the Best 23 Albums of 2023!  So, we couldn’t deny her latest solo project, as we knew there would be no way it would be disappointing!  So, you’re ready for another Album Review Saturdays 2023, right?!  There’s not many left (although considering the over 800 releases, we could keep doing them into the year 2025)!

 

YouTube Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 37
[Complete with additional panelist review and thee (3) additional albums]

 

Ritual KingThe Infinite Mirror

When I saw the cover, and I had not partaken of their 2020 self-titled debut (oh yeah, it’s in my spreadsheet from that year, but completely blank…filling that in now), I had this space rock thought with probably some fantastic doom-like riffing that probably went a little hard at it.  Well, I wasn’t totally wrong, but by the end of the album, I’ve forsake all of that cover art and fallen in love with this hard doomy blues tapestry created by The Infinite Mirror.  Let’s start off with the fact that these boys might be the best hard rock stoner blues band this year!  Incredible competency in understanding the space required to structure and deliver a beast of this proportion.  Why am I saying this?  They are incorporating the riff of stoner rock, but they’re actually performing magical old-school guitar solos that have miles on them, carefully constructing 45 minutes meeting all kinds of standards and paces that make this album a magical flowing work of hard blues stoner rock with a progressive doom attitude — but careful not to take it, too far.

The title even reflects this.  It’s like they’re careful to see their own reaction to their playing, knowing when to bring it back to simple riff, slide, grooves or bluesy lick, which is so important and brilliant to the song, “Tethered” and it’s eleven minute technique-romp and doomish slow-roll.  They see the tempo and embrace it, but they realize it needs to breath some, as they know further into the mirror’s reflection there’s a crescendo coming that will be infinitely memorable if it has the chance to surface, surprise and engulf.  The lyrics and vocal are subtle statements, well thought out, and positioned to not take away from the musicianship that is slaughtering every minute of this 45’er!  The final crescendo lets the vocals reach and drive home the title track, and while I’m ear-motionally spent from the air-guitaring and rhythmic head droppin’ — I’m at it again!  Sonnovabitch let’s do that again!

Fuckin’ a to Ripple Music, who have taken 2023 and set it ablaze with consistently cool, engaging, and professional recordings!  Ritual King‘s The Infinite Mirror is a knock-out.  This album gets better as it moves forward, too, which isn’t usual in the music multiverse.  The guitar playing gets tighter, self-aware — better.  The vocals rise and reach — better.  The drumming intrigues and grooves — better.  The only knock I can see to this — is the genre and what it does to a band (in my novice opinion), it’s hard to develop a “signature sound,” but the more I’m listening to it, I’m certain the Manchester men know what they’re after!  And, if you could skip across the pond, and visit Rochester, NY and play with King Buffalo, we’d pay a King’s ransom to be tethered to a venue nearest there!

The Band

  • Jordan Leppitt – vocals, guitars
  • Dan Godwin – bass
  • Gareth Hodges – drums, vocals

The Infinite Mirror Tracklisting

  1. Flow State
  2. Words Divide
  3. Landmass
  4. Tethered
  5. The Infinite Mirror

 

 

Big Wreck – Pages (with forward by the album, 7.3)

I’m not a sucker for EP(s) that often.  Don’t get me wrong, if the band is assuring me that they’re not going to have these songs show up on their latest album, then I’m totally in, but if not… (I’m a collector and you’re costing me duplication, and I don’t appreciate it).  Of course, to be fair, EP(s) used to be shorter.  In the case of the latest album/EP(s) from Big Wreck this year, they’re sprawling compared to what an EP is traditionally!  Not only that, they’re sprawling in sound, creativity, and as always — in clear signatured delivery!  This is just to give you some context when I talk about 7.3, which is actually the third set of EP(s) to make one giant robot (sorry, strayed there for a minute), their seventh studio album, 7.  The last of the seven (I know you’re expecting a western reference, I’ll pass).  What 7.3 is, is five songs and 28 minutes, and it was released this year back in March, and there are (again) 5 strong alternative rock and even progressive rock songs which start with their signature tweaked opening riff and Ian Thornley’s commanding vocal, transporting us instantly to the feel of the In Loving Memory and Pleasure and the Greed.  But, as we know from these EP years of the band (COVID and recording industry induced I’m sure) they’re exploring things like slower alt-doom, ‘Fall Over,’ as well as loop and pop sensibilities within vocal and lyrical creativity.  Truly Sting and Gabriel-ish if you’re listening careful, eliminating the pulsing alternative sound in a refreshing breath or two, which we have heard in the past, and we all know how well that carries with that vocal.  I encourage anyone to seek out the entire set to complete, and that leads us to part two of this review — Pages.

Technically we’re just over the EP time here at 33 minutes, so I’m slightly thinking they’ve gone Weezer on me.  No.  When I see six songs, I realize were in the same wheelhouse of time and song construct, but what I didn’t know — they’re moving to some proggy elements here that quite possibly have been spawned in the aftermath of what was happening through the sevens (oh jeez, another potential western movie thing there – ha).  The gigantic ‘In Fair Light’ just hit me so hard with Tom Cochrane and Red Rider vibes that it had my attention from clever bridges, bass and echoing.  This was definitely miles above where they’ve been, but still hedging the power of Thornley’s vocal, but allowing more breath and instrumentalism — actually some dynamic, smart solos.  I’m grinning ear to ear, as I love it when bands step off a ledge and embrace something a little different.  And, they keep up that, pulling in a shift to a heavier alt position on ‘Bail Out’ maintaining his vocal signature, but stretching it to a rap/throaty approach while the guitars press.  Cool!  Further on we get a glammy pop-rock liner, ‘Summerlong’ (no not a cover of Emm Gryner – although you never know what Ian might do during live song breaks), we get a slower-groove, ‘Weightless’ and hip drum drops and harmony grooving Soundgarden-ian style, ‘White Lies’ that comes complete with some great lyrics.  We finish with what you think might be a Van Halen meets Huey Lewis & the News, but turns itself inside out into a ballad called ‘Bird of Paradise’ which finds that progressive side again, epically rocking it up back with the synths and his vocal, wrapping it up — for now.  What?!  Yep, this is another set of EP(s).

Okay, so — definitely worth the 33 minutes, and whatever’s to come is going to be just as worth it and probably then some!  However, boys — Mr. Thornley — we’re never going to be able to get you in the top albums of the year — if you keep doing albums this way!  Hello?  Mr Thornley?  He doesn’t care.  And they shouldn’t.  As a huge fan of what they’ve done throughout their career(s) for this band name, they’re currently at the top of their game with a killer catalog.  And, if they chose to add to it every year or nine to ten months — I’m so freakin’ cool with that!  BUT — I’m not buying the final product until it’s completed.  Sound fair?!  Mr. Thornley, “Yes, Mark, that sounds very fair.  We’ll even send you a signed copy.”   Cool! Wait!  Mr. Thornley?  Damnit!  I wanted to ask him what the hell they’re going to call the forthcoming albums if this was Pages.  (My marketing mind at work — ‘More Pages’  — ‘Additional Pages’ — ‘Pages II’ — ‘Pages III’ — ‘Jimmy Pages’ — ‘Ellen Pages’ — ‘Steven Pages’ — wait I see the “1” now — oh man is that a little light or what — ya got me there).

The Band

  • Ian Thornley – vocals, guitars, keyboards
  • Dave McMillan – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Chris Caddell – guitar, backing vocals
  • Sekou Lumumba – drums, percussion

Pages Tracklisting

  1. In Fair Light
  2. Bail Out
  3. Summerlong
  4. Weightless
  5. White Lies
  6. Bird of Paradise

 

Christine Ott – Eclats (Piano Works)

A mistress of the keys, French composer, violinist, ondist and pianist (along with violin as well), Christine Ott, is captain of her ship, seated comfortably behind the grande instrument that has ruled the world in intimate, passionate, and evocative sound since it’s conception.  And the minute Eclats begins, you are aware of all of that audio finger movement beauty.  You know not where it comes from, but she does.  Eclats by definition is with brilliant display or effect.  Well, nail – head on all twelve strictly piano driven works that seem to intertwine pieces of past (both in homage to scoreful, visual compositions of soundtrack nature, but also within her own material).  These connections give us familiarity that bridges us from technical aspect to more of a journey on full hopeful and empathetic display.

Eclats‘ offering comes at the skillful dexterity and weighted brilliance of the maestro’s compression and decompression touch.  When you have the tones of ‘Veritgo’ and ‘Rachel’ tickling, dancing in thrilling composition, but then move to the heavy and demanding ‘Die Jagd Nach dem Glück’ one is very aware of the controlled passion surging effortlessly from Ott’s visual mind to the digits positions and muscle contractions soundfully portraying it all.  As has been said in many a blog, regarding this album, it’s absolutely gorgeous from start to finish without a solitary note spared across the ivories or the time table represented.  Ms. Ott continues to wow at the helm in any kind of audio sea, electronic or acoustic, trouble or calm, mind and fingers at the ready — all ahead full.

Please also check out her band and album, The Cry, too as it is another stunning achievement his year in music!  You can check out our “What’s In Your Ear – Episode 6” where I talk about it.

The band

  • Christine Ott – Composer, Piano(s)

Eclats (Piano Works) Tracklisting

  1. Pluie d’arbres
  2. Etreintes
  3. Lunes Orientales
  4. Golden Valley
  5. Vertigo
  6. Rachel
  7. Die Jagd Nach dem Glück
  8. Vulcano
  9. Beautiful Sadness
  10. Melancolia
  11. Clouds of Dreams
  12. Amours étoilés