Album Review Saturdays Episode 28

When it’s Album Review Saturdays, the preparation and decisions start way early for obvious reasons.  But this week, with the density of the records that have graced the release windows of September (which came and went so freakin’ fast) it became a puzzle as to how to accomplish getting in some of these records, as well as utilize three of them this week to showcase in our YouTube Channel version of this blog.  We definitely go Beyond Your Radio this week in the three chosen.  One artist has the strangest name but a musical journey that’s led him into a softer, islander adult contemporary that’s not exactly where he started.  The progressive fusion band we selected has the cover, the album and band name to give you all the impression they’re going to give your vinyl the spin beyond this world!  Then, you look at the incredible, diverse and endless superstars entered on the twelve track, one hour and eleven minute feast and you’re wondering how it could even come to be!  And, then– there’s a good fuzzy, stoner, psychedelic rock producing friends at Ripple Music who grace our pages again with a summoning vocalist fronting a very cool classic riffing band!  We didn’t stop there!  Our Album Review Saturdays Episode 28 on YouTube adds a glowing review of the one hour and nineteen minute avant-garde rock jazz blistering recording from one of the coolest and masteful Norwegian guitarists, as well as sludge record with outer-worldly vocals that will stun you!  Shall we!?

 

THE YOU TUBE VERSION LINK CLICK HERE
(Mark Kuligowski discusses these album and adds at two awesome surprise albums you need to hear — check it out)!

 

Bahamas – Bootcut

Did I mention I’m not into country?  I think I did.  So how is it I can review Canadian, Afie Jurvanen, otherwise known in the music capital of the world, Canada, (okay, I overstepped there)?  Well, I’ve been on a journey with Mr. Bahamas since I heard the Bahamas Is Afie record back in 2014, after he had been nominated for a Juno for the 2013 Barchords.  The beautiful vocal range in his adult alternative contemporary style was not only engaging and hypnotic to some degree, it had powerful lyrics that felt so genuine and real.  This unforced songwriting and well captured minimal instrument studio production really made him an instant favorite to see what he was doing next.  While his path has changed in genre from album to album, he still remains vocally genuine and very real in the songwriting style and delivery of the overall recordings.  Bootcut is probably the most excellent example in his entire catalog.

No, I didn’t realize it was going to be mostly a straight up alt-country record, although the title and imagery on the album cover should have been obvious.  However, I never judge a book or album by its cover (until after I’ve listened to it). This album has a unique country-island feel in the musicianship for several songs, and it does not remain complacent within the chosen country genre.  Afie bends things so modestly, but never repents on the song-writing.  That genuine feel and humanity is there from start to finish, even in the bothersome opening track (you’ll understand why once you listen to it, why I call it that).  There is a hint of his alternative, but it is more a ghost in this album, leaving the heart and cut of it to be steel guitar and emotions.  ‘Gone Girl Gone’ is a tremendous example of the alternative-country gathering more blues with addition of harmonica, where ‘Nothing Blows My Mind’ ends the record with the minimalistic steel pedal guitar and piano contemporary that has always drawn me to him.

For fans that might want a modernized, more ballad driven Jimmy Buffett, the feel of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson with maybe a hint of Jim White or John Paul White in lyricism.  Okay, you get the idea that it’s hard for me to give you a categorical nail down here.  It’s okay, don’t trust me.  Listen for yourself.  This is a very good record with all kinds of wonderful qualities, melodies, and even guest appearance from Vince Gill.  Don’t take my word for it, you can listen for yourself, or you can check out Rolling Stone as I think they seem to be smitten with it.  Go to the Bahamas – it will only cost you $11.69 on CD or @22.89 on Vinyl.

The Band

  • Afie Jurvanen – vocals, guitar
  • Vince Gill – guitar
  • Russ Pahl – pedal-steel maestro
  • Dave Roe – bass
  • Mickey Raphael – harmonica

Bootcut Tracklisting

  1. Girls Bugging Me
  2. Just A Song
  3. Working On My Guitar
  4. I’m Still
  5. Somebody Just Like Me
  6. Second Time Around
  7. Into The Unknown
  8. Sports Car
  9. The Only One
  10. Gone Girl Gone
  11. Nothing Blows My Mind

 

The Fusion Syndicate – A Speedway on Saturn’s Rings

I don’t know how it’s possible.  It’s ridiculous to have all these fabulously talented musicians in on one album.  It is beyond We Are the World in scope of artists gathered, considering the monumental scope of the progressive, space rock, jazz-rock fusionistas (not a word, but now it’s going to be), gathered to deliver this near one-of-a-kind undertaking.  When they meant fusion syndicate they were not joking (look the list of musicians in this mind-blowing syndicate).  Okay, now that you have the general scope of the talent in the room, I’m going to review the album in the next paragraph.

If Jazz, Funk, Rock and Progressive Rock met in space, at some swanky, gravity-bound speedway on a certain planet’s rings you have to assume that you are in for a barrage of musical genres, improvisational masterpiece that’s going to come track by track, artist by artist, intermingled with some extremely far-out symphonic tricks, keyboard wizardry, and brassy music balls worthy of Davis’ brewing.  Get yourself on this spaceship, buy the ticket to get there (thank God it doesn’t take 829.43 million miles to get to this bananza)!  There is only misplaced track on the entire record, and if you’re looking at the listing, you can probably get a feel for the one it might be.  Once you’ve dispensed with that, you’re in…one hell of a… “prog seat” (don’t sue me Pete Pardo, I don’t have any money anyway).  This is the ultimate fusion album, reminding you of what true fusion should encompass, and with the listing of the band members reaching from all spectrums of music (Genesis to Megadeth to Mahavishnu Orchestra to Public Image Limited to Yes to Porcupine Tree) they have more than accomplished the mission to Saturn’s rings!  There’s a lot to digest, and these brave fusion souls from all walks of instrumental life truly engage, trying almost impossibly to make sure each genre gets equal share, leaving the audience’s ear as the final music multiverse judge as to whether it did so.  I, for one, believe they have truly done so.  Mission accomplished.  See you for “Throwdown on Neptune’s Moons” (yeah, I want album credit for that title when you steal it — as if — no one’s reading this anyway).  Awesome, fun record!

The Band

  • Al Di Meola
  • Jah Wobble (Public Image LTD)
  • Chester Thompson (Genesis/Brand X)
  • Chris Poland (Megadeth)
  • Rick Wakeman (Yes)
  • Angelo Moore (Fishbone)
  • Bootsy Collins (Parliament)
  • Brian Jackson (Kool and the Gang, Les Nubians, Gil Scott-Heron)
  • Fernando Perdomo (Dreaming in Stereo)
  • Carmine Appice (Cactus, Blue Murder, King Cobra, Rod Stewart, Vanilla Fudge)
  • Jan Akkerman (Focus)
  • Didier Malherbe (Gong)
  • Steve Stevens (Billy Idol)
  • Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report)
  • Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra)
  • Nik Turner (Hawkwind)
  • Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets)
  • Jordan Rudess (Dream Theatre/Liquid Tension Experiment)
  • Mel Collins (King Crimson)
  • Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree)
  • Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra)
  • Jay Beckenstein (Spyro Gyro)
  • Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai)
  • Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree)
  • David Sancious (The E Street Band)
  • Larry Coryell (it’s our assumption that he was in on the early recordings of this record as he died in 2017)
  • Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion)
  • Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea Elecktric Band)

A Speedway On Saturn’s Rings Tracklisting

  1. A Speedway on Saturn’s Rings Feat. Al Di Meola, Jah Wobble (Public Image LTD.), Chester Thompson (Genesis / Brand X)
  2. Planet 15 Feat. Chris Poland (Megadeth)
  3. Io Feat. Rick Wakeman (Yes)
  4. Escape from the Black Hole Feat. Angelo Moore (Fishbone)
  5. The Bottle Feat. Bootsy Collins (Parliament), Brian Jackson (Gil Scott Heron), Fernando Perdomo, Carmine Appice (Cactus / Vanilla Fudge)
  6. Blasting Off Feat. Jan Akkerman (Focus)
  7. Lunar Rover on Mars Feat. Didier Malherbe (Gong)
  8. Coming Back Home Feat. Steve Stevens, Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report)
  9. Random Acts of Science Feat Rick Wakeman (Yes), Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Nik Turner (Hawkwind), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets / Alan Holdsworth)
  10. Stone Cold Infusion Feat. Steve Stevens, Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater/Liquid Tension Experiment), Mel Collins (King Crimson), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra)
  11. Molecular Breakdown Feat. Jay Beckenstein (Spyro Gyra), Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), David Sancious (The E Street Band)
  12. Particle Accelerations Feat. Larry Coryell, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater/Black Country Communion), Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea Elektric Band), Chester Thompson (Genesis/Brand X)

 

Dead Feathers – Full Circle

The Dead Feather’s waste no time in making sure that you know they’ve got the fuzz rock-n-roll down pat.  They’re guitars slay it, hinting at a little psychedelia and they can linger in a luscious riff to make sure you got the guitar groove down.  It is seasoned in a Jefferson Starship-like mojo thanks to the vocal styles of Marissa Allen.  It summons your attention, and I was immediately smitten that it was unique, loud, nearly teetering in an understudy from an opera.  Her note can hang, it jolt, and it can certainly deliver the lyrics above the crush and fuzz of her genuine bandmate’s playing feverishly with her.

When you get to ‘Daughters’ you’re going to realize the true reach and scope of this band.  They can be slow, moody, haunting (fingerpicking finale ‘Galapagos’), under-scored — yet blistering.  Whether it’s through the powerful vocals, which have my vote right now for best vocal of the year in rock, or it can come from the hard rock blues of the guitars and drums.  You will start to notice the waverings (wah-ness) in the background, the layers of rhythm, as you’re caught up in a song’s pace and how it relates to the overall album.  You will start to imagine how they’d be live, and you’ll be like me — searching the internet for the closest show (trust me you — you will).

If you miss Grace Slick, this is your in!  If you love good old-fashioned hard blues rock that teaters on the psych-edge and you like ebb-and-flow in your guitarists, Ripple Music has delivered Dead Feathers on a gorgeous silver plate for your indulgence!  This will be a record that will grow on you with each listen, and bring you back Full Circle to that hard rock seventies, rawness that set the music world on it’s fuzzy, psychedelic, stoner path, where today — so many talented bands are venting, re-inventing and crushing riff after riff in wild, vivacious variety!

The Band

  • Marissa Allen/Welu – Vocals
  • Joel Castanon – drums
  • Tim Snyder – guitars
  • Tony Wold – guitars
  • Rob Rodak – bass

Full Circle Tracklisting

  1. Full Circle
  2. Lightning
  3. Daughters
  4. One Year Before the Island
  5. The Swell
  6. Robbery
  7. Galapagos
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