31 August 2010

The Watch tours Genesis - 'The Blue Show'

Fri 22 October - Hamilton, Ontario - Canada
The Studio at Hamilton Place - tel: 905-546-3100

Sat 23 October - Quebec - Canada
Le Centre d'art la Chapelle - tel: 418-686-5032

Sun 24 October - Philadelphia, PA - USA
North Star Bar - tel: (215)-787-0488

Tue 26 October - Montreal - Canada
Cafe' Chaos - tel: 514-844-0738

Wed 27 October - New York, NY - USA
B.B. King Blues Club - tel: 212-997-4144

Thu 28 October - Washington, DC - USA
venue info on www.dc-soar.org

Fri 29 October - Niagara Falls, NY - USA
The Rapids Theatre - tel: 716-205-8925

Sat 30 October - Atlanta, GA - USA
Eyedrum - www.eyedrum.org

Sun 31 October - Brighton, MA - USA
The Magic Room Gallery - tel: 617-775-4009

(NB: Yr. Obd't Blogger will be attending the Philadelphia show at the North Star Bar, also featuring Shadow Circus and Brett Kull. If any of you in my area want to meet up, let me know and I'll be on the look out at the venue!)

Cuneiform Records new release spotlight 1: Univers Zero - Heresie (reissue)

How does a group follow up an auspicious and unique debut recording? A recording that is so completely out of step with everything that is currently in fashion in popular and even in experimental music that nearly 35 years later, it still is able to surprise people hearing it for the first time. How? Well, if you were Univers Zero, you did it by moving even more to the extremes of your music. While the influences from 20th Century classical music (Stravinsky, Bartok, Huybrechts) mixed with aspects of progressive rock (the angularity of King Crimson added to the unique Zeuhl sound of Magma) remain, they are stripped down and presented in the starkest and darkest way possible. Guitarist Roger Trigaux still plays some amazing licks, but for much of the album, he is hunched over the harmonium (a 19th century pump organ), which gives the music an eerie, gothic sound - a gothic sound matched by the other front line instruments of violin/viola and oboe/bassoon. Meanwhile the rhythm section is completely electric, with heavy Magma-influenced bass and with Daniel Denis' fantastic drumming propelling everything forward.

Originally released in 1979, Heresie has long been considered a high-water mark of new music composition, performance, and dark, sinister intensity for over 30 years and has never been out of print. This reissue transforms and updates Univers Zero’s most infamous work with a new cover that uses bits of the original packaging, as well as many new elements. It also has a striking and clear new remix from the 1979 multi-track tapes that defines and clarifies all the instruments in a way that is much more focused than previous editions. Never have Daniel's cymbals so clearly sizzled with such menace or has Guy's bass gone so low into the underworld. The reissue is accompanied by a 16-page booklet containing a history of the band’s years during the Heresie period and illustrated with archival photos. Lastly, there is a 12 minute, revelatory bonus track from very early in the group's life added; a track that later was cannibalized by its composer, into bits that would eventually find their way into "Ersatz" on Le Poison Qui Rend Fou and "The Limping Little Girl" and "Ceux D'En Bas (Suite)" on N°6 by Roger's post UZ group, Present. One of the most significant avant-progressive rock albums of the very late 1970s just got even more significant!

Due out for September.

Original Track Listing:
1. "La Faulx" (Daniel Denis)
2. "Jack the Ripper" (Daniel Denis, Roger Trigaux)
3. "Vous le saurez en temps voulu" (Roger Trigaux)

Roger Trigaux: guitar, piano, organ, harmonium
Guy Segers: bass, voice
Michel Berckmans: oboe, bassoon
Patrick Hanappier: violin, viola
Daniel Denis: drums, percussion

Mahogany Frog live in Montreal 9 September

ProgMontreal and Unicorn Digital are proud to present Mahogany Frog at the Club Lambi (4465 Saint-Laurent Boulevard, Montréal • 514-250-5917) on Thursday, September 9 2010, at 8:30 PM. Admission will be $15 at the door.

Mahogany Frog is an eclectic instrumental progressive/alt-rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba. The music draws influence from an array of genres: electronica, progressive rock, jazz, late 50's "ultra" lounge, ambient/experimentalism. With the use of a plethora of keyboards (both analogue & digital), feedback-ridden guitars, fuzz-bass and walls of electronic samples, the group creates a tube-saturated, highly overdriven jazz-rock with an enormous amount of energy. Live, the songs all flow together, creating a steady bombardment of highly progressive, exciting music that explores countless moods and ideas.

The group is composed of four highly talented multi-instrumentalists: Jesse Warkentin on guitars and keyboards, Graham Epp on guitars, keyboards and trumpet, Scott Ellenberger on bass and trumpet and Andy Rudolph, on drums/percussion and electronics. Mahogany Frog released their critically acclaimed fifth studio album entitled Do5 in 2008 as their complex and eclectic approach to music reaches new height. Check their MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/mahoganyfrog for a few great audio excerpts and full tracks.

THE TANGENT: new album and gig news

Quite a few Tangent goings on at the moment. Firstly, to thank everyone who has bought "A Place On The Shelf", and to let everyone who hasn't got round to buying know that…

A Place On the Shelf is STILL available from our website www.thetangent.org - a whole album of previously unreleased pieces including our version of a large Stravinsky piece, plus a whole new 20 minute long epic, described by some as the best track we ever did. Reviews of this have been few, but highly enthusiastic, and thanks to anyone who wrote one of them…


Yes, we're recording again, heavily into the composition at the moment. Our next album is currently called "COMM" and is shaping up nicely for release in early 2011 we hope. We're agreed to work once again with Ed Unitsky on the sleeve for this one, after 2 albums with other artists, and that's something you may want to look forward to. We don't deliberately make CONCEPT albums as you may know, but we do have themes in our records, and it looks like the theme of this one is all about communications (and lack of them)…


The Tangent now have a few gigs coming up, mostly in the UK. We've recently had a very successful trip to Italy where we headlined a festival in Parma - the first review of which states that the audience were "blown away by their enthusiasm". There's some photos at the website and the facebook site of course.

weekend of Fri/Sat 22nd 23rd October.

Yup, these two Insideout bands will play together, firstly in London at the LUMINAIRE on FRI Oct 22. Then on the Saturday it's up to the CRS at the WESLEY CENTRE in Maltby, Rotherham, Yorkshire. This is a "No headline, No support" equal billing set of shows. Unitopia will OPEN proceedings in London, The Tangent will OPEN in Rotherham

THE TANGENT at the PEEL. Saturday November 13. The "House Of Progression" at the Peel in Kingston, LONDON, is now London's only dedicated progressive rock music venue and we are delighted to be playing our first gig there. This will be a full length set (around 2 hours we hope)…

THE TANGENT in BELGIUM. Sunday November 14 at the SPIRIT OF 66 at Verviers. The band return to a favourite haunt for a brief foray into Europe.

NEXT YEAR we are planning on returning more to Europe, and hopefully cracking that elusive American Festival date. Anyone who can help us with these goals, please get in touch, and - well until the next time, thanks for listening.

(More than) 10 questions with...Robert James Pashman of 3RDegree

Living in New Jersey has more than its share of perks as a prog fan.

For one, you’re smack dab in the middle of the main hotbed for progressive rock in the US. Historically speaking, prog bands did incredibly well along a corridor that ran from Washington Dc up through to Boston…New Jersey happens to be right in line. You’ve got Philly to the southwest (from where I am, at least), NYC to the east, and all the venues each city offers up. There’s (today at least) the NJ Proghouse series of concerts. NEARfest in Bethlehem PA, ROSfest in central PA, Marprog in Connecticut, and dozens of smaller one off shows all over the place.

To add to all of this, there’s a slew of great bands, both new and old, that call the area home. The 1970’s gave us Fireballet and Mirthrandir. Advent calls the state home. And so does 3RDegree. Formed in 1990, the band has, like so many prog bands, had its share of ups and downs, but they came back with a vengeance at the end of 2005. A series of reunion concerts (2 of which are available on DVD), a highly regarded reunion album (Narrow-Caster), and the first ever independent band BluRay video release are just the tip of the iceberg for this New Jersey band, now finding themselves in the studio beginning work on their next full length release.

I caught up recently with founder member Robert James Pashman, who kindly agreed to sit down and discuss the band’s history as well as what the future holds for 3RDegree. We touch on a bunch of other subjects as well, including that famous BluRay release, the trials and travails of surviving as an independent band in a time when music has become more of a commodity than ever, and much more.

1) Tell me a little bit about how you first got interested in music?

RJP: My parents always had music playing when I'd be on the floor playing with toys. Probably mostly off 8-tracks would be music by The Beatles, Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Billy Joel and other "hits of the 70's". Nothing too strange. It would be a car trip with my uncle where he played some Rush that would really be my gateway drug into progressive rock. I had viewed them as a heavy metal band when I saw their MTV video for "Tom Sawyer" and I wasn't buying what all my friends were loving but my uncle played "The Spirit Of Radio" and "Freewill" and I just didn't know who it was but was blown away by the musicianship. When he told me who it was I thought "but I really don't like them"-basing my decision on what I had seen and probably wasn't listening to.

2) What bands or musicians were among your first influences?

RJP: Well just before Rush I was really into Pat Benatar, Billy Squire, Asia and other big albums of 1980-82. I was starting to like my own music, buying LPs and selling all my toys in a garage sale-Star Wars figures-should have held on to them! After Rush opened my ears, I delved into Genesis, Yes and other well-known prog bands. I was also into other 80's bands like Tears For Fears. With the prog, I got the well-known albums and then would move on into more obscure stuff. So I might have heard Yes's FRAGILE when I was 12 but RELAYER when I was 19! I started taking piano lessons at 14 and would then adapt that knowledge to the bass when I was 17. I played a lot of Billy Joel but it was probably Rush's foray into a more keyboard heavy sound that got me into keyboards. I then formed a band called Unreal right after senior year of high school with my two best friends. It was a power trio where I played bass, keys and lead vocals.

3) Are your influences today any different? Are there any newer bands or musicians you look to for inspiration?

RJP: Today I'm a bit insulated where I'm not really up to date on "the hits of the day" and I don't peruse all that much prog because I'd like to keep my approach in 3RDegree uninfluenced by our peers. That said, our guitarist Pat is a voracious consumer of new and interesting music and has turned me onto some of it. I did have a phase throughout the 90's where I was into mostly female singer-songwriters like Sarah McLachlan and Jonatha Brooke then some trip-hop like Portishead, Bjork and Esthero.

4) How did 3RDegree first come together?

RJP: My former band Unreal ended in the fall of 1990 and I found a guitarist soon after to continue with. In December of 1990 I found a drummer named Rob Durham. Since Rob stayed with the band up until December of 2008 this was the actual beginning of 3RDegree. Pat Kliesch would join as our guitarist in the summer of 1991. Leading up to our first album I had 4 songs left over from my previous band, I then wrote 3 songs before Pat and then Pat worked on the remaining tracks with Rob and I.

5) What things led to the band adding a lead vocalist (and changing the line-up so much) in 1995?

RJP: It was just a matter of improving the band in two ways. Our producer and all of us in the band thought we would definitely benefit from a really great singer. Singing is one of the things you can improve upon but only to a certain degree. It's not like I was singing off-key. We just needed someone really world class and I think a good singer automatically brings the entirety of a band's sound up a whole lot. Many people listen to bands and just cannot get past listening when a singer is not particularly good. I think George can stand toe to toe with any pro singers out there let alone prog ones. The other thing that improved was that he played bass when I played keyboards and I played bass when he played keyboards so the live sound filled out quite a bit. I was also a former lead vocalist now singing backup and I was quite happy about it. I really don't miss singing lead. We used to use a sequencer for the keyboards with my drummer playing to a click track in his headphones. When we got George and stopped doing that, it freed us up and we got a much better groove going live.

6) How are things different for 3RDegree now versus the first period of active service?

RJP: When we broke up in 1997 it was from frustration with the lack of a scene and support for original music in NJ and the NYC area. We really weren't aware of anything going on in prog except for Echolyn getting signed to Sony in ‘95, which really surprised us. Besides Progression Magazine we didn't know there was any community or any festivals going on. It was then that I tried to round up prog bands to play "prog themed" evenings that I would present to club owners as a bundle. We played in NYC and NJ with Curious Works, Braindance, Love & Death (later Emotive) and You Were Spiraling (later Spiraling). The only thing I really got from these shows was a great friendship with Tom Brislin of Spiraling, Yes's 2001 Symphonic Tour, Renaissance and others. We also tried playing with a Rush tribute band but we went on stage well before anyone was showing up so this really led to a lot of battles within the band over what we should be doing. We had no reliable fan base to speak of and you could look at our website to see all the places we played at. It wasn't like we weren't putting ourselves out there.

We had left a bunch of what were probably our best songs undone when we broke up. After rummaging through my box of tapes I found all the recordings and put them on CD and sent the mp3's to Pat (guitarist). We then thought why not record them at our leisure? In December of 2005 (15 years almost to the day that I first met with Rob) we asked Rob if he would join us to record the songs we didn't finish. He told us to find George and through a mutual friend and a little internet searching we found him in the summer of '06. What's different now? In a word: the internet. We are now totally aware of the festivals and the discussion boards and the cliques of prog lovers out there. While it seemed that we weren't "prog enough" for the 90's proggers who we saw from time to time, we are now embraced by many and not chastised for not having very long songs and some of the other conventions of the genre.

7) 3RDegree is, I think, the first independent band to release a BluRay concert DVD. How did you guys decide to do that? Has it been a successful release for you?

RJP: To be frightfully honest. Umm, no it hasn't been a "successful release" per se. I think the amount of people we can get to support us with a purchase of a studio album dwindles a bit too much once it's a question of a live album or live concert DVD. We wanted to do eco-wallets again like we did with Narrow-Caster-even though they're DVD/Blu-rays. I think with downloading and everything, people have gotten less precious with a DVD having to be in the big Amray (standard black) case. So that was a bit of cost in addition to the camera rentals and other costs although I did a lot myself. I find it fun to edit video so it was fun to do but what we thought was the pinnacle of our live concert career (it was) didn't translate into sales. I think it will over time but it didn't catch fire right away. Even I tell people if there's one thing they should get it's the new studio album. Once you really like us, then you get videos. But a lot of people just don't buy concert videos. I don't really either BUT I do for bands that don't play in the USA like Level 42, Marillion and others. I've stressed to the half of our fanbase that reside in Europe that chances are we will never ever play in Europe and that they should check out the DVDs. As for Blu-rays, I'm a bit of a video nerd and love them. It is astronomically expensive to make "real/replicated" Blu-rays but I have the ability to burn them and print on them quite nicely as I need them. We've sold more than you would think. The quality is night and day and only $4 more.

8) It's been 2 years since the release of Narrow-Caster. How has the band grown or changed since that release?

RJP: Well, right as we were getting the most attention and our fan base probably quadrupled, our drummer informed me that he was just too busy to carry on with the band. When you think of what we were doing pre-Narrow-Caster it kind of makes sense. I'm not sure he signed on for what happened to us. We were recording at our leisure, did two live concerts in 2 days (as featured on our DVD/Blu-ray THE REUNION CONCERTS) at NJ Proghouse electrically and at my house acoustically and then finished the album and started making them ourselves as CDRs albeit nicely printed upon. We then got an email from Germany and they wanted 100 but they had to be "real/replicated" CDs. I had a decision to make whether I wanted to take it to the next level and do this CD the right way. I did and I'm glad because it sort of legitimized our album as not being just a carefree hobby. We weren't so sure how serious Rob was about leaving the band so we didn't look for a replacement right away. But then 5 months later ProgDay called! This evented in us needing a new drummer and a live guitarist as well although Pat played ProgDay. We've now added Aaron Nobel on drums and Eric Pseja on guitar. Eric will play on the studio material as well. He and Pat are old friends and will work out who plays what between them with some production input from George and I.

9) What would you say has been the biggest moment for 3RDegree, either before or since the reformation?

RJP: I cannot think what our biggest moment was from the 90's. I guess adding George and actually recording and manufacturing our 1996 CD HUMAN INTEREST STORY. As for now, I suppose the overall well received Narrow-Caster experience which led to the ultimate stamp of approval in my eyes and that was getting to play ProgDay. We did set the goal of getting on a festival after the album and it was achieved.

10) The band is currently preparing to start recording sessions for their fourth album. Can you offer any clues about what the new material may offer?

RJP: Well we did two days of drum recording just 3 days ago-which is the start of a new album in the way we record and most bands for that matter. We got down 8 songs so it probably represents 2/3rds of the next albums songs. We do a lot of homework and don't meet to rehearse as much as we would like to due to "life" just standing in the way of our ability to be more prolific. There are a few songs where we all write a part of the song but most songs have been written separately and then shared and refined. George and Pat got writing right after Narrow-Caster while I was dealing with the business of the band. I've only starting writing lately although I'm always leaving "notes to self" for song ideas, song titles, etc. There will be 3 songs that are longer than any song we've ever done so there's been a bit of embracing our audience there! But I think it will be around 13 songs so it should be much longer than Narrow-Caster's 47 minute total time but not as long as the zany HUMAN INTEREST STORY length of 72 minutes! I can also tell you it will sound (audio quality-wise) even better than the last album.

11) How did the band hook up with new drummer Aaron Nobel, and how is he working out for you so far?

RJP: He's working out fine. The only downside is that he is far away from the rest of us up in Connecticut. So we never have casual rehearsals anymore. They are planned well in advance and are full days so as to make the most of his presence. He was referred to me by Tom Brislin. I think he and I both tried out for Spiraling back in the day! I wanted Tom to produce our new album but then he upped and moved to Nashville!

11) What do you think the future holds for the independent progressive rock band?

RJP: It holds a lot of frustration if you're not on the internet joining in the conversation and getting your music to reviewers and getting a buzz going. Ultimately just make a great album that you're happy with. If you do not want to do any interaction and promotion I suggest trying to get a prog record deal and they can do some of that for you providing they like your album.

12) How much would you say illegal downloading has hurt your band?

RJP: It's impossible to know. No one is going to come to me and say "I downloaded your album illegally but now I'd like to buy your t-shirt or the CD". If everyone who really likes what they heard from an illegal download eventually buys a shirt or CD then OK. I myself have borrowed/taken music from someone because they thought I'd like it. If I do I often end up buying the next CD or the one I got from a friend. This happens to many of us I think. Industry people say give away your music for free and people will come and see your band and buy a shirt. Problem with us is, we rarely play live and when we do, it's the CD I'm going to actually make money from. Shirts are much more expensive to make. So basically for us to continue to keep even keel monetarily and to keep in the good graces of our significant others, we need to sell CDs and DVDs. Simple as that. I actually define that as success sadly. If you have an original band and you're not losing money, I'm patting you on the back.

13) What would you like to see 3RDegree doing in the future?

RJP: Doing the laundry. I kid. If we can continue to make good music and bring it to stages from time to time with audiences that enjoy it and the numbers of people interested continuing to grow, that would be great. It is very challenging to write music that sounds interesting and possibly even a bit adventurous but still continuing with the accessibility I think we're known for. That's something I'd like to see us doing.

14) Do you have any final words for our readers today?

RJP: Well, if you've read this far I assume you like the music 3RDegree makes. We really appreciate that you're listening to what we're doing. We would love you to come to a show some time and say "hi" in person. Thanks Bill!

Find out more about 3RDegree at:


30 August 2010

Marprog reminder (new lower ticket price)

An update/reminder about Marprog, coming up in about a month. Please note the new ticket prices below. So many great bands here (3RDegree, Edensong, Holding Pattern, and more!)...if you're in the area, there's no reason not to go!

Marred Productions is once again proud to present Connecticut's only progressive rock and art music festival MARPROG 010 Saturday October 2, 2010. Doors open at 12:00 and music starts 12:30. This year's event has been shifted to the newly renovated and much more pleasurable venue Nomads Adventure Quest located at 100 Bidwell Rd., South Windsor, Connecticut. Nomads is a full service family entertainment facility that features 16,000 square feet of fun as well as a full service cafe and bar. It is very easily accessed from I-91 and parking is not an issue at all. Our audience will have plenty to keep themselves occupied between sets as the day goes by. It is a beautiful facility and the staff immediately embraced the idea of presenting the show. Hampton Inns has agreed to give us group rates so decent accomodations are available at a reasonable price. Simply mention Marprog when making reservations.

This year the lineup includes the return of Holding Pattern as well as Toy Masheen. Both bands put on impressive displays last year and are very enthusiastic about their return engagements. I'm excited to see what they have been up to since we've last seen them. Newcomers consist of very local South Windsor band The Enemy Concept who I find to have an excellent edge with their clever fusion of psychedelic rock and hip hop. It's an interesting concept and feels very fresh. Opening the show will be New Jersey based band 3RDegree. I found their CD Narrow-Caster to be one of the shining stars amongst the many submissions I have received for consideration over the past year and I thought I'd like to see the live version. Another local performer we'll be featuring is Frank Varela. Frank is considered by many to be one of the finest guitarists in Connecticut. He will be joined by Bob Laramie, equally considered by many to be among the best bass players in Connecticut. With a combination like that, you can't lose. Rounding out our musical montage this year will be none other than Edensong riding the wave of their new release Echoes of Edensong into the midst of the Marprog. I must admit to having not reviewed the it as of yet but if it's anything like The Fruit Fallen I seriously doubt any of us will be disappointed.

So there you have it, a full day of the finest prog rock to be found anywhere near Connecticut at any time and you are all invited to join us. Please see the website at www.marprog.com for further details, schedule, directions and contact information. Advance tickets this year are $40. They are available directly through the website and payable by Paypal. Tickets are $45 at the door.

Marillion: supporting Deep Purple in Germany

Marillion will be appearing as a special guest of Deep Purple on the following German tour dates:

13 Nov Sat Trier Germany Arena Trier
14 Nov Sun Frieburg Germany Rothaus Arena
16 Nov Tues Mannheim Germany Mannheim SAP Arena
18 Nov Thurs Memmingen Germany Eissporthalle Memmingen
19 Nov Fri Munchen Germany Olympiahalle München
20 Nov Sat Nurnberg Germany Arena Nürnberger Versicherung
22 Nov Mon Berlin Germany Max-Schmeling-Halle
23 Nov Tues Rostock Germany Stadthalle Rostock
24 Nov Weds Braunschweig Germany Volkswagen Halle Braunschweig
26 Nov Fri Oldenburg Germany Weser-Ems Halle
27 Nov Sat Hamburg Germany Sporthalle Hamburg
28 Nov Sun Essen Germany Grugahalle
30 Nov Tues Stuttgart Germany Stuttgart Schleyerhalle

The band will be playing a 1 hour set at all shows.

For more information, including ticketing info:


G. Calvin Weston's Treasures of the Spirit plays Mahavishnu this weekend

G. Calvin Weston's Treasures of the Spirit
Friday, September 3rd - 10:00 PM
1507 South St.
Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Price: $7

G. Calvin Weston--Drums
Benjamin Karp--Guitar
Cyndee Lee Rule--Violin
David Dzubinski--Keyboards
Elliot Garland--Bass

At 17, Calvin joined Ornette Coleman's Prime Time Band, with bass player Jamalaadean Tacuma, his close friend from Philly, which toured extensively in North America and Europe. After recording four albums with Prime Time, Calvin went on to play and record with guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer, until he joined John Luries Lounge Lizards in 1990.

During the late '90s Calvin recorded and toured with Billy Martin of Medeski Martin and Wood, Tricky, Eyvind Kang, Derek Baily, Mark Ribot, and James Carter. He also played on several movie soundtracks including Get Shorty. For his latest project, Calvin Weston's Big Tree, Calvin explores the many musical influences of his career as bandleader and composer.

He also has a new band with world guitarist, Vernon Reid and bass player, Jamalaadean Tacuma and formed the group freeformfunkyfreqs and their new CD Urban Mythology Volume 1. He also plays with Jean-Paul Bourelly and Melvin Gibbs in the band called Gypsys Reloaded, which toured in March of 2008 and recorded a live CD at the Bimhuis. G. Calvin Weston has played on many recordings including Asmodeus: Book Of Angels Volume 7 with Marc Ribot, Trevor Dunn, and John Zorn.

From.UZ: Inside Seventh Story DVD available to order

I can finally announce all the rest of the goodness about this one!

10T Records is excited to announce the release of the live concert DVD Inside Seventh Story by Uzbekistan-based prog-fusion rockers, From.uz. Inside Seventh Story captures these master musicians performing an expanded version of their latest, critically acclaimed release live before an appreciative hometown crowd at the Youth Theater of Uzbekistan, in Tashkent. This is the same venue that was featured in the band’s live debut CD/DVD, Audio Diplomacy.

Featuring founding members Vitaly Popeloff (guitars) and Albert Khalmurzaev (keyboards), the blistering performances captured on Inside Seventh Story also include the other musicians from the original CD release, Igor Elizov (grand piano & keyboards), Ali Izmailov (percussion) and Sur’at Kasimov (bass).

In their inimitable way, From.uz first worked out the music that would become Seventh Story for live performance before entering the studio. This DVD represents the culmination of that process, filmed with multiple cameras over 2 nights. The DVD also includes footage of the band rehearsing and preparing for their stage performance, as well as an interview with the band, and their producer, Igor Iosis.

“Those who have been fortunate enough to see From.uz perform live, either in person or on DVD, know that it is onstage that the band is at their absolute best,” says 10T Records president, Steve Carroll. “Everyone who enjoyed the band’s last studio release will want to seek out Inside Seventh Story to experience this material anew, now expanded and taken to a whole new level of energy and passion.”

Like all of the previous From.uz releases, Inside Seventh Story features artwork by renowned illustrator Ken Westphal, and is available for immediate shipping through the 10T Records website.

Video samples can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/user/artguyken

(NB: My review of the DVD is forthcoming soon!)

Magma Monday 9

Welcome to Just Another Magma Monday. Once a week, your obd’t narrator and occasional blogger will trawl the expanses of his Magma collection to discuss something of Zeuhl-ish importance. Whether it’s the studio albums, the best of the AKT archive releases, one of the sundry live DVDs, or a choice artifact from his ‘unofficial’ collection, one thing is for sure…for this writer, Magma iss de hundin!

This week, sit back and relax as we take a look at something special and a little unique…I won’t reveal it in these opening paragraphs, so please read on to find out what our focus is this week.

So, I admit that I can get out of the loop somewhat.

Case in point:

You may or may not know that above and beyond having a large collection of albums and CDs, I was once a collector of what are known in the trade as RoIO’s…Recordings of Indeterminate Origin. Lots of people call these pirate recordings, which is a misnomer as they aren’t copied from anything that was officially released. Some people call them bootlegs, which I tend to feel still refers to the same thing…a bootleg copy of an official release. In any event, these are concert recordings, often stealth taped, though in some cases bands will either allow board feeds, or a board tape will leak due to a less than honourable person working the recording or mixing desk. Currently sitting on one of the hard drives in my PC are 72 separate Magma concert recordings, dating back to 1970 and all the way up through 2008 or so. Not a large collection, by any stretch of the imagination, but a decent one.

What does this have to do with being out of the loop?

Well, read on.

Last night I was reading through the Kohntarkosz blog (I’ll post a link at the bottom)…something I’ve not had much chance to do recently. As I read back, unto June posts, I came across something that caused my eyes to bug out just a touch. The headline read as follows:

Now on (website name redacted) - Magma - The KA Rehearsals – 1973

*insert picture of Yr. Obd’t Blogger’s eyes bugging out*

Now, I knew that the KA material dated back that far…it was, after all, intended as the first movement in Magma’s second trilogy, leading into Köhntarkösz and finally into Ëmëhntëhtt-Rê. And while I am not surprised that excerpts from the demos and studio sessions exist (after all the same exists for Wurdah Itah and Mekanik Destruktiw Kommanndoh), I’d not necessarily heard of them existing. So finding out that they do, and are now out and about in the wild, was enough of a surprise to me to merit a little bit of sleepless night until I could get them…ahem…acquired.

The fact that I am writing about them here obviously should infer that I do have a copy now.

There’s a lot of music here that will sound incredibly familiar. Tracks 1 and 3 feature a good bit of the opening sections of the first movement of KA, and the melodies, rhythms and vocal arrangements already sound very well formed, to the point that sections that featured solo male vocals do so here too. The biggest difference, I think, is the use of organ versus just piano or Fender Rhodes. As pointed out elsewhere, Magma stopped using organ sometime in 1973, but it was still part of their current battery of instruments. I don’t know that I’d ever really accept organ in Magma just because it is such an alien instrument to the sound I am familiar with, but it does add a fullness and richness that might have otherwise been somewhat missing. We then shift into about a minute of the opening to the second movement, and here the organ makes far more sense. This is massive sounding, dark and eerie and almost evil. There’s a presence in this piece that the final studio release simply cannot match. We get 2 takes of this section, the longest lasting just under 90 seconds, but again, all the familiar elements are here.

‘Les Musiciens du Bord du Monde’ follows, excerpted from the second movement of KA as well. This is the longer vocal section with piano backing. Again I am amazed at how much of this was already formed and ready 37 years ago. I do wonder why we couldn’t have seen it released then…

It seems an odd point, this, to have a break in things. But we’re moving into a second section of the set of demos, and it makes sense. For the first 7 tracks (5 musical, 2 studio chatter), bass was handled by a gentleman named JP Lambert. By the time we get to ‘Om Zanka,’ a more familiar name took over the bass chair in Magma…a guy named Jannick Top. While I can’t complain whatsoever about Lambert’s bass playing, the difference between him and Top is like that of night and day.

‘Om Zanka’ opens the third movement of KA. Rhodes chimes away, and Top’s bass flows from the speakers like some slithering primordial beast. This is a brilliant sounding excerpt (a version of this piece would appear on Magma’s Inedits album from 1977 with Bernard Paganotti on bass) with great Vander drumming and quiet vocals. Again, melodies are in place, arrangements are already pieced together, and really, it seems to have only been a matter of time before the whole piece could have been assembled. Much like KA I and the intro to KA II, we get two takes of this track, showing slight differences in positioning of cymbals, differences in how bass parts were played, et cetera, around the finalised structure.

The next major excerpt on this set of demos is ‘Gamma Anteria + Alleluia,’ nearly 8 minutes of the third movement of KA leading toward the end of the suite. The organ parts are an interesting addition as they have been throughout this set of demos, and again we are seeing a piece that is so very close to what Vander finally did when releasing KA in 2004. The vocal lines are markedly different, yet retain enough familiarity to see where they were eventually going to lead. Much like ‘Om Zanka,’ a version of ‘Gamma Anteria’ was released long before the whole suite was finished; it too was included in 1977’s Inedits album, this time with JP Lambert playing bass. This is one of the more enlightening pieces on this set, simply because of the differences wrapped around the familiar core. Like most of the recordings here with Top on bass, sound quality is very, very good.

The set is closed out with 2 takes on the ‘Alleluia’ section of Movement III, totaling just under 2:30. This is followed by a 12-minute take on Movement II, made up of ‘KA II’ and ‘Les Musiciens du Bord du Monde.’ This is perhaps the most telling section of this set of demos, as we have what is essentially a complete movement here to compare to the final studio version. I love the stately manner and grace of the 2004 rendition, while being unable to deny the sheer energy and power of this 30+ year earlier version.

For someone like me, a fairly new (in the grand scheme of things) Magma fan, things like this are amazing for the insight they give into the creation of this music. They also make me a little sad, knowing how close we came to seeing this album out over 30 years previous. Would it have impressed as much then? It’s so hard to say. I’d like to think it would have, but at the same time, part of the power of KA is the fact that it was ‘new’ Magma released 20 years after their previous studio album. New material or not, it was proof positive that the band remained vital and desiring of new success, and that’s something we’d never have gotten had the album been finished in 1973. A bit of a catch-22, really…

You’ll notice that I’ve redacted the name of the website these are on. It’s easy enough to find, as I’ve provided all the clues you need to find them yourself. I won’t entertain requests for them; I have said that this blog will not have downloads or share out music, and I won’t be starting here. However, they are out there, and as such I feel they are fair game to discuss. Find them at your own discretion.

KA (1973) - 01 - KA I (9:16)
KA (1973) - 02 - Discussion (2:12)
KA (1973) - 03 - KA I (9:23)
KA (1973) - 04 - KA II (Intro) (1:03)
KA (1973) - 05 - Discussion (0:55)
KA (1973) - 06 - KA II (Intro) (1:28)
KA (1973) - 07 - Les Musiciens du Bord du Monde (8:36)
KA (1973) - 08 - Om Zanka (3:27)
KA (1973) - 09 - Transition (0:17)
KA (1973) - 10 - Om Zanka (2:45)
KA (1973) - 11 - Transition (1:39)
KA (1973) - 12 - Gamma Anteria + Alleluia (7:49)
KA (1973) - 13 - Discussion (0:05)
KA (1973) - 14 - Alleluia (0:29)
KA (1973) - 15 - Alleluia (1:57)
KA (1973) - 16 - KA II (6:31)
KA (1973) - 17 - Les Musiciens du Bord du Monde (6:04)

Total : 1:03:56

Kohntarkosz is, for me, the best English language source for Magma and Zeuhl info. If you’ve got me bookmarked or subscribed to, you should do the same for Marc’s blog! Find it here:


29 August 2010

Therion news bits

Therion is one of my favourite metal bands ever...progressive in their own right, gothic, symphonic, and occasionally very very heavy. Lots of stuff happening in their camp right now as they gear up for their first new studio album in a few years. Let's get right to it:

Snowy Shaw back in Therion:

After just having left THERION, singer and legend Snowy Shaw apparently missed Christofer Johnsson and co. faster than expected! "We are very happy to announce that Snowy has rejoined THERION. We welcomed him back with open arms, and we will now be making a mix between the new show we had planned, and the last one which involved Snowy. We think the merger between the two concepts will be incredible, and we look forward to taking the bands' live performance to the next level," says Christofer Johnsson.

Touring news and cancellations:

The tour schedule has changed: The shows in Caracas (Venezuela), Chihuahua and Puebla (both Mexico) have to be cancelled and the show in Santiago de Chile has moved to the Teatro Caupolican. In Europe there will be an additional show - on the 11th of December Therion will play in Istanbul, at Refresh the Venue (which is really named like that).

The following message is from Christofer: "We are very sad to announce that the shows in Chihuahua and Puebla in Mexico have been cancelled. The situation with the drug cartels is becoming worse and worse in the north and the local authorities strongly advise against playing concerts in Chihuahua (and of course Monterray which also has been rumoured we would be playing), so the national promoter in Mexico has decided to cancel Chihuahua as the safety of the band, crew and fans cannot be guaranteed at this point. The Puebla festival has also been cancelled due to some sort of drug cartel related civil unrest problems. There seems to be no risk for the remaining shows in Mexico and the band hope that there will be other shows to replace the cancelled ones in other parts of the country.

Seems like the world is going crazy at the moment, as the Caracas show in Venezuela will be cancelled as well. Local promoter is having economic problems and didn't want to risk fucking everything up from what I've heard. So better to cancel and try to replace it with another show in some other country than to risk standing there with thousands of fans buying tickets and maybe making a long journey from another city just to end up with no show happening. We hope we will be able to do Venezuela some time in the future, we were really looking forward to playing there."

Track Listing for new album

Therion's new album Sitra Ahra has the following track listing:

1. "Introduction/Sitra Ahra"
2. "Kings of Edom"
3. "Unguentum Sabbati"
4. "Land of Canaan"
5. "Hellequin"
6. "2012"
7. "Cú Chulainn"
8. "Kali Yuga Part 3"
9. "The Shells Are Open"
10. "Din"
11. "Children of the Stone: After the Inquisition"

It is due for release on 17 September 2010 on Nuclear Blast Records.

For more information:

Eddie Jobson/UZ Live album tracklisting

Some good sounding tracks here:

Disk U

1 Alaska
2 Presto Vivace
3 In the dead of night
4 Starless
5 Zero 1 (Ric)
6 Book of Saturday
7 Zero 2 (Marco)
8 One more Red Nightmare
9 Ceasar's Palace Blues
10 Sahara of snow part 2

Disk Z

1 Zero 3 (Tony)
2 Red
3 Zero
4 (Trey) 4 Awakening
5 Zero 5 (Eddie)
6 Carrying no Cross
7 The only thing she needs
8 Nevermore (ending) 

28 August 2010

KAMELOT Record Release Party Confirmed At NYC Date Of Headlining Tour

KAMELOT will embark on its first North American tour in two years, headlining the Pandemonium Over North America Tour, which kicks off September 8th in support of the band's upcoming ninth studio album Poetry for the Poisoned. Support on the trek will come from Leaves' Eyes and Blackguard.

As part of the tour, the New York City date at premiere concert and events venue NOKIA Theatre Times Square had been dubbed as the official release party for the album. To celebrate the release, the band and venue will present fans with special first time previews of the new album, a commemorative Poetry for the Poisoned shot glass, and more special events to mark the occasion of their amazing new album.

KAMELOT North American Fall 2010 Tour:
9/08/2010 House Of Blues - Lake Buena Vista, FL
9/10/2010 Progpower USA Festival - Atlanta, GA
9/11/2010 Jaxx Nightclub - Springfield, VA
9/14/2010 The Trocadero - Philadelphia, PA
9/15/2010 Nokia Theatre - New York, NY - RECORD RELEASE SHOW
9/17/2010 The Palladium - Worcester, MA
9/18/2010 Club Soda - Montreal, QC
9/19/2010 The Opera House - Toronto, ON
9/21/2010 Peabody's - Cleveland, OH
9/22/2010 The Rave - Milwaukee, WI
9/24/2010 Logan Square Auditorium - Chicago, IL
9/25/2010 First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN
9/27/2010 Bluebird Theatre - Denver, CO
9/29/2010 Slim's - San Francisco, CA
10/01/2010 House of Blues - West Hollywood, CA
10/02/2010 House of Blues - San Diego, CA

One of metal's most unique, influential and prestigious current acts, KAMELOT are set to release their most insightful and ambitious project to date, Poetry for the Poisoned on September 14th, 2010. On their ninth studio album, founding guitarist Thomas Youngblood and vocalist Roy Khan are joined by drummer Casey Grillo, keyboardist Oliver Palotai, and new bassist Sean Tibbetts to blend the trademark KAMELOT sound with new elements making it the band’s most diverse release to date.


James Labrie: new album cover art, tracklisting, more

Dream Theater’s JAMES LABRIE is easily one of the defining, elite and naturally talented vocalists the world has to offer and after selling over a million albums worldwide he further challenges himself with an aggressive and dynamic new solo effort. The much anticipated new full-length offering, Static Impulse, also marks LABRIE’s first solo effort in over five years and is sure to please his legion of diehard fans, as well as win over many new devotees in the process. Be sure to stay tuned to www.jameslabrie.com for new information.

Static Impulse also features the immensely talented longtime songwriting partner and keyboardist Matt Guillory. Another notable performance is Peter Wildoer from metal titans DARKANE on drums and screaming vocals. The group is rounded out by Marco Sfogli on guitars and Ray Riendeau on bass. Static Impulse is set for a September 27th release on InsideOutMusic and was mixed and mastered by the renowned Jens Borgen (Opeth, Katatonia).

LABRIE states: “Hi everyone. The release of Static Impulse is one that the whole band is psyched about. This is modern Metal and as heavy and relevant as any other band out there going in a similar musical direction. There are riffs that will blow your head off and melodies both musically and vocally that are hypnotic. Get in the driver’s seat and let the ears bleed. Enjoy and see you out there with a tour to follow up and support this release.”

Guillory further comments: “One year and two months in the making and we're finally done. I'm really pleased with the way this record came out. James sounds fantastic, as well as the rest of the guys. Without a doubt, it's our heaviest record thus far yet at the same time, it's also our most melodic. I can't wait for everyone to hear it.”

In addition to Dream Theater's numerous studio and live releases, LABRIE has also appeared on releases by Fates Warning, Redemption, Trent Gardner's Explorer's Club, Leonardo The Absolute Man, Frameshift, Ayreon's The Human Equation, as well as tribute albums to Rush, Emerson Lake & Palmer and Queen.

JAMES LABRIE “Static Impulse”
Europe release: September 27th 2010
InsideOut Music | EMI

01. One More Time
02. Jekyll Or Hyde
03. Mislead
04. Euphoric
05. Over The Edge
06. I Need You
07. Who You Think I Am
08. I Tried
09. Just Watch Me
10. This Is War
11. Superstar
12. Coming Home

Static Impulse Line-Up:

James LaBrie - Lead Vocals

Matt Guillory - Keyboards, Background Vocals

Marco Sfogli - Guitars

Ray Riendeau - Bass
Peter Wildoer - Drums, Screams

James LaBrie Websites:


Pain of Salvation on the road for Road Salt One

The Swedish innovative and never resting band PAIN OF SALVATION are now announcing the first tour dates of the successfully released album Road Salt One which scored overwhelming international press including cover stories like in Fuzz Mag (Sweden), Norway Rock Mag, etc.

The band comments:
"Although time hardly permits, we have decided to take Road Salt One where it truly belongs; out on the road. The first stretch of this dusty and grainy road is taking shape right now, and will mainly lead us through an October Europe. As usual, with Pain of Salvation it is all about redefining and reinventing, and our shows and tours have lived lives of their own and shapeshifted just as our albums. This tour will be no exception in that respect. So whatever you do, don’t let it be the one your friend went to see and never stops talking about."

The first batch of dates on the Road Salt tour:
01.10.2010 FIN – Oulu @ Teatria, Metalheim Festival
02.10.2010 FIN – Helsinki @ Nosturi, Metalheim Festival
07.10.2010 SE – Eskilstuna @ Stålfors, Världens Barn-galan

ROCK HARD, ECLIPSED & Dragon Productions present:
15.10.2010 DE – Hamburg @ Markthalle
16.10.2010 DE – Bochum @ Zeche
17.10.2010 NL – Uden @ De Pul
18.10.2010 DE – Aschaffenburg @ Colos-Saal
20.10.2010 FR – Paris @ La Scene Bastille
21.10.2010 CH – Pratteln @ Z7
22.10.2010 IT – Milan @ Magazzini
24.10.2010 HU – Budapest @ Ship A38
25.10.2010 SVK – Bratislava @ Majestic
26.10.2010 CZ – Prague @ Futurum
28.10.2010 NL – Zoetermeer @ De Boerderij
29.10.2010 BE – Louvain-La-Neuve @ La ferme du Biereau
30.10.2010 DE – Andernach @ JUZ Live Club

More shows will be added in the coming month.


The State of the Blog, 28 August 2010

Saturday, here on the blog, I think it was the…28th of August?

No, that doesn’t flow. At all.

Anyway. Carrying on.

It’s State of the Blog day, and for a change I actually have a few things of import to impart to you. Much of this will be dealing with posting schedules the coming week, but there’s some other odds and sods tossed in for good measure as well. Buckle in…while I won’t promise that there’ll be no turbulence, I will do my best to make the ride as smooth as possible.

First, and most important in this case…posting schedules. Next weekend is Labour Day weekend here in the States, and I will be away starting Friday and running through the Monday following. While there’ll be no impact on the regular week posting coming up, there’ll actually be no Saturday posts next week (I can hear that sigh of relief out there), and there is a possibility that Magma Monday will either be extremely late, or postponed in its entirety, depending on when I return from a weekend away. I am hopeful that the worst case scenario is another photo gallery, but fair warning is fair warning. As mentioned, the rest of the week’s posting should be unaffected.

I have a lot of interviews coming up…one thing I have done is post a list on the interviews archive page of the ones that are in the works (so go there and look!). I usually hate doing stuff like this because it will come back to bite me on the arse, but I’m taking the risk. In any event, it is very likely that I will be moving to a twice weekly interview schedule simply to keep things flowing. This won’t affect anything like CD reviews, which seem to be stuck on a 3 times a week posting thing right now…I just don’t want the interviews sitting around. There’s already one or two that have sat way too long as it is.

Speaking of stuff like this…I don’t know if you’ve ever clicked on the little triangles that open up past month and year post archives, but if you did, you’ll notice that this month has been the highest post count month since this blog started. That’s not saying much in some ways, considering how often I’ve let things lie fallow, but still…lots of posts. Part of that is down to you…your enthusiasm and energy (in comments on posts, e-mails, comments on other forums) encourages me to continue. So as usual, thanks. You keep me doing this.

Continuing on the enthusiasm thread for a second…the polls. Right now with 3 days left, we’re over 125 votes on the poll, and that blows me away. I didn’t pay much attention on the first poll, mostly because people were allowed to vote for more than one choice, but I believe we had around 45 to 50 total responses with 87 total votes or something like that. Again…thank you for your response to the poll. I’ll make sure the next one goes up faster than this one did!

Monday this week is Magma Monday, as usual. I’ve got something special and a little different planned…I am not going to say what it is, you’ll just have to pop over and check it out Monday.

Before wrapping up this little news post, I’ll offer up something a little different…a list of the stuff I’ve been listening to the past week or so. Most of this you’ll see on the blog in one form or another, so consider this a teaser…

American Hollow – Whisper Campaign
Mehran – Angels of Persepolis
Glass Harp – Live at the Beachland Ballroom 11.01.08
Goldbug – The Seven Dreams
TM + MR – Descending
Matt Stevens – Ghost
Heavy Glow – The Filth and the Fury
19 A.D.D. – Dead River
TANGENTS – A Little Light Year
Also Eden – Differences as Light
Jose Carballido – Requiem

OK, time to get to work at the job that allows me to do this for you. I’ve got a long weekend of music and writing to get to later.

See you all on Monday!

27 August 2010

The Sleepytime Gorilla Muesum of Touring in Europe Museum

From the band themselves...

And now! Without (much) further obfiscation , we present!

Autumn - Europe - Sports - 2010

September 17th
Rock In Opposition Festival - Carmaux, France

September 21st
Bad Bonn - Düdingen, Switzerland

September 22nd
Hirscheneck - Basel, Switzerland

September 23rd
Arena - Vienna, Austria

September 24th
Schlachthof - Wels, Austria

September 25th
Freakshow Artrock Festival -Wurzburg, Germany (with Magma and Aranis!)

September 27th
P60 - Amstelveen, Netherlands

September 28th
Trix - Antwerpen, Belgium

September 29th
Glazart - Paris, France

More Unitopia Changes/additions

More new boys joining the Unitopians for their tour. Read on...

Things are getting more hectic by the minute as the tour gets closer. Having Craig and Dave (Hoppy to his friends) with us has been a huge blessing. The guys have really brought a breath of fresh air into the band, and their excitement about the tour and meeting their fans is contagious.

Something was still missing though. Peter, our regular sax player cannot be with us on tour and there was no way we were performing without one, so we had to look for just the right person to fill his shoes. After a lot of searching, Unitopia is proud to announce our very special guest sax player for the tour, Ian Ritchie.

Ian’s main activities are composing for TV programs and commercials and gigging as a saxophonist with a variety of bands. On the playing front he has completed a world tour with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, performing ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ and other Floyd favourites from 2006 to 2008. And as if that’s not enough, his jazz group has released a CD ‘Ian Ritchie's SOHO Project’ and a new album "South Of Houston" is already recorded and due for release in October.

Speaking of albums, Ian has been featured as soloist on records by Wham, Robbie Nevil, The Beach Boys and D.C. Lee and arranged and programmed for Dead or Alive, Howard Jones, David Sylvian, Steve Hillage and David Grant.

You can read more about Ian at: http://www.myspace.com/ianritchiemusic
And http://www.ian-ritchie.com

King's X: Live Love in London DVD for October

International music critics and rock gourmets agree: King’s X is among the most unusual acts in the history of rock music. Their technical skills are above reproach, and their creativity has impressed fans and media alike. Next to Rush, there is currently no other rock trio capable of producing such a dense and at the same time transparent sound. The much anticipated double CD/DVD set, Live Love in London, showcases prime examples of King’s X’s incredible live show of classic groove rock featuring great melodies with vocal harmonies, driving rhythms and tough guitars. The album is set for an Oct. 26th release through InsideOut Music and will be available as a deluxe DVD+2CD edition in a special embossed package, as well as a 2CD set. A standard DVD-only version will also be available exclusively through CMDistro.com (http://CMDistro.com). Live Love in London is the first official DVD release by a band renowned for just such a transcendent rock show! The King’s X trio of Ty Tabor (guitars, vocals), Dug Pinnick (bass, vocals) and Jerry Gaskill (drums, vocals) have spanned continents and decades together, honing their craft, welcoming their fans in to experience inspired performances that come from their hearts.

Live Love in London was shot in January of 2009 at the Electric Ballroom in London, UK, because, as Tabor states, "London was the first place that accepted King's X. It has always been my favorite place to play." Pinnick recalls, "We were touring the US, playing for very small crowds, then we went to London; it was the Marquee and it was sold out!" Gaskill agrees, “London was the first place to make me feel like we might actually be a valid band.”

The band are also extremely excited to embark on a co-headlining run with metal legends Accept, which kicks off on Sept. 23rd. Either see below or head over now to http://www.kingsxrocks.com or http://www.facebook.com/kingsxfanpage to view their touring itinerary. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for samples of new music from Live Love in London and pre-order package info.

King’s X w/ Accept
9/23 The Chance, Poughkeepsie, NY
9/24 Ram's Head Live , Baltimore, MD
9/25 The Starland Ballroom , Sayreville, NJ
9/27 B B King's, New York, NY
9/29 Showcase Live, Foxboro, MA
10/1 The Silo, Reading, PA
10/2 The Emerald Theatre, Mount Clemens, MI
10/6 Scatz, Middleton, WI
10/8 The Agora, Cleveland, OH
10/9 The Arcada , Saint Charles, IL
10/12 House of Blues, Dallas, TX
10/13 House of Blues, Houston, TX

Mahogany Frog tour dates

Saskatoon, Aug 27 - Amigo's
Winnipeg, Aug 28 - Royal Albert
Des Moines, Aug 31 - Vaudeville Mews (early show)
Chapel Hill, Sept 4 - Progday (progday.net)
Montreal, Sept 9 - Club Lambi
Ottawa, Sept 10 - The Saw Gallery
Toronto, Sept 12 - the boat
Chicago, Sept 15 - Empty Bottle
Villa Lake, Sept 16 - Swing State
Minneapolis, Sept 18 - 501 Club


CD REVIEW: Tony Senatore - Holyland (2005, Jive Momentum Records)

Tony Senatore is a bassist.

This is easy to figure out, since he appears on the cover of his album Holyland wielding a 12-string bass.

But Holyland really isn’t like most bass-featuring albums you might imagine. There’s no overabundance of tricksy bass solos, nor are there songs written to show off Senatore’s chops to the exclusion of anything else. Instead, what we have is a collection of what appear to be 13 carefully selected songs, both originals and covers, that feature fine band playing and excellent individual skills without the later overpowering the former.

Senatore is a new name for me as far as bass players go, but one look at the back of the CD booklet shows a list of influences so impressive that I knew I was in for a treat before I popped the CD in for the first time…

Jaco, James Jamerson, Carl Radle, Berry Oakley, Bernard Edwards, Felix Pappalardi, Dee Murray, John Entwhistle, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Ray Brown, Roy Buchanan.

I can say I hear little bits here and there that might remind me of these musicians, but in the end, what I hear is a bassist that has mastery of his instrument. His playing never feels forced; it’s always fluid, graceful, tight and grooving. On Holyland, he’s joined by a veritable who’s who of musicians as well…Tom Brislin handles organ and mellotron, Dregs drummer Van Romaine pounds the skins. A load of horn players guest here and there, anchored by Tom Timko on alto/tenor/bari sax and flute, additional drummers, percussionists and piano players come and go from track to track as needed. The music is diverse…some tracks grind in a heavier classic rock groove, whilst others have a serious countrified twang to them. One vocal track, and a couple Beatles covers add to the diversity here.

‘Money Dulls the Pain’ opens things off with a hot little Latin groove, horn-laden happiness, and loads of danceable energy. I love the horn charts…it’s easy to say that this reminds of the Average White Band, and it’s an unfair comparison, but even my boss at my ‘real’ job says it, so I can’t be the only person thinking it. An original, it’s groovy as all get out, and it really sets the stage in a big way. I love this track…funky and fun, it’s a great wake up call in the morning. The mood shifts noticeably for ‘A Black Place,’ a serious workout for Senatore on 6 and 12 string bass. As he explains in the notes, he originally did the melodies on 6 string, played them a second time an octave lower, and then added 12-string chordal bass as a comp instrument. It grinds heavily…until I read the liner notes, I was sure there was guitar on here, and it amazed me to find out that everything but the drums is handled by Senatore.

‘Holyland, USA’ comes closest to being a title track, so we’ll treat it as such. Remember a paragraph or so back I mentioned countrified twang? Well, here it is, and if you miss country music when it wasn’t just rock and roll with some steel guitar added over top, or a token fiddle bit, this song is so much up your alley that you’d better just skip right to it. There’s loads of slide and pedal steel all over this one. Another Senatore original, I’d love to see more stuff like this (and the rest of his originals) on a future album. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate his covers, but that’s just how much I enjoy the originals.

The first cover on this album is an older tune by Dennis Coffey named ‘Scorpio.’ I had to look this one up because I was sure I’d heard it before. It turns out this was a top ten single in 1971, hitting #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and sold over a million records. This is another funky and very energetic horn driven tune, and I am betting a good number of you out there will recognise it. Luthur Rix replaces Van Romaine behind the kit, and between his grooving kit playing and his percussion additions, this is a tune that demands feet on the floor. It’s followed by ‘It Was Love,’ an older tune originally recorded by Senatore’s father with Tito Puente in 1968. Again, I’m struck by the groove…I can’t help but nod my head along, snap my fingers, and I really get into the Rat Pack-esque vocal delivery from Lewis La Medica.

Prog fans will love Senatore’s ripping take on Frank Zappa’s ‘Apostrophe,’ filled with fuzzy, distorted bass spewing dirt and funk all over the place. Tom Brislin amps up the heat with some great Hammond B-3 playing. Where Zappa’s original rocked, Senatore’s rendition takes those elements and adds a hefty helping of deep southern soul to things. I love both the original and this cover for different reasons, and have no problems listening to them back to back, just to relish the differences heaped on top of the similarities.

Speaking of covers, Holyland includes a pair of Beatles remakes. While I don’t feel that the Beatles’ music is sacred and beyond re-interpretation, I will say that I’ve never been fully satisfied with any Beatles cover I’ve heard. I’ve liked some, sure, even loved a few here and there. But in general, none of them really hit me the same way that the originals have. Now that I’ve said this, I’ll say that Senatore’s cover of ‘Because,’ originally off Abbey Road, comes the closest to being a perfect remake as any cover I’ve come across. This is a piano and bass only rendition, no vocals…Senatore handles the vocal parts on bass, while the harpsichord/spinet parts are played by Tom Hammer on piano. This take is almost impossibly sad…I feel it tugging at my heart every time I play it. It’s restrained, gorgeous in its simplicity, and I love it, full stop. I’m glad it’s an instrumental..I think that helps me love it even more.

It’s followed by ‘Shapla,’ an 8-minute medley of Beatles melodies and song snippets. This time, things are handled in a fuller band environment, with Romaine, trumpeter Steve Jankowski and Manolo Badrena (percussion) joining him. I could list all the songs that I hear snippets from, but all that would do is pad out my word count totals. I love the little bit of Santana’s ‘Black Magic Woman’ that bridges the opening riffs from ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ and ‘Blue Jay Way,’ and the song just takes off from there. Holding down the root and handling the vocal parts at the same time, it’s an interesting track that I enjoy listening to. I don’t know that I’d end up wanting a full album of Senatore doing Beatles covers, but as a musician that was so wildly influenced by the Fab Four (Senatore’s first concert was George Harrison at MSG), to not pay homage to those roots would be a disservice.

One final original closes out proceedings on Holyland. How appropriate it is that it’s called ‘A Final Song.’ The opening riff for some reason reminds me of the Animal’s ‘House of the Rising Sun,’ but that’s the only bit that seems reminiscent of anything. Another lyrical bass work out, Senatore’s 6 and 12 string playing impresses just as much as it has throughout. Van Romaine lays back on the kit, adding little percussive flourishes here and there while keeping time and moving the piece along. It’s a subtle and restrained closer on an album chock full of restraint and tight playing.

Having read this review, I think the question most people might be asking is ‘This doesn’t sound like a prog album!’ And maybe it’s not. Not in a stylistic, songs in 7/4 with mellotron and lyrics about faeries or elves kind of way. What it is, is a great bass player showcasing a mess of songs that he loves, with musicians who respect them and play the hell out of them ever bit as much as he does. It took me way too long to listen to Holyland…don’t make the same mistake I did.

Track Listing:
Money Dulls the Pain (It’s the Tony and Frank Show)
A Black Place
Life and Times (of the ‘Paisan’)
Holyland USA
Scorpio (Dennis Coffey)
It Was Love (Bobby Marin)
Lord of the Subtones
Apostrophe (Zappa)
Too Shy To Say (Stevie Wonder)
Vocalise (Rachmaninoff)
Because (Lennon, McCartney)
Shapla (Lennon, McCartney)
A Final Song

Tony Senatore: bass guitars
Manolo Badrena: percussion
Tom Brislin: Hammond B-3, mellotron
Van Romaine: drums
Al Marz: Fender Rhodes
Andrew Rothstein: guitars
Steve Jankowski: trumpet, valve trombone
Tom Timko: alto, tenor, baritone sax, flute
Frank D. Fagano: percussion
John Widgren: pedal steel guitar
Luthur Rix: drums and percussion
Chris Biesterfeldt: guitar
Matt King: piano
Lewis La Medica: vocals
Marco Giovino: drums
Tom Hammer: piano

Find out more:

26 August 2010

Chris Postl out of RPWL

I won't copy content; instead I'll give you the link so you can go to the site that I found out about this at:


Long and short...Chris is out, new bassist is Werner Taus, whom the band apparently has been rehearsing with. Hit the NEARS blog for all the rest of the info...

Orion Sound Studios: Post Rock weekend this weekend

(NB: the birthday referenced throughout is not Yr. Obd't Blogger's...I may be in the twilight of my youth but I haven't reached that much of my majority yet...)

What a great way to kick off the Fall 2010 showcase season! We have two shows on consecutive evenings planned, for Saturday August 28th, and Sunday August 29th. On Saturday night we welcome back Kuan, a band from Dayton, Ohio, who helped me to forget my 58th birthday earlier this year. Appearing with them will be Matta Gawa, from DC, and Nick Millevoy from the band Many Arms. Then on Sunday we have an "afternoon matinee" show featuring Baltimore's ...soihadto... (the dots are part of the name), along with The Water and Contra.

The unifying thread that links all of this weekend's music is that it is heavily influenced by the "post-rock" movement, a term that is about as nebulous and as frequently misapplied as "RIO" (and just what is post-rock, and why don't more women dig it....) So please take my descriptions with large blocks of salt - in fact just ignore them completely and visit the links for each band and listen for yourself. Be an informed consumer - but by all means do come and consume!


8:00pm Saturday, August 28th: $10 cover

KUAN are a quartet (two guitars, bass, drums) from Dayton, Ohio. Those who were at my birthday bash last spring might recall Kuan as they were the third band that evening, basically playing for free just to have the opportunity to play their music in front of an appreciative audience. They kicked butt that night so I'm really happy to welcome them back. Their music is very much reminiscent of the likes of domakesaythink and Explosions in the Sky. They claim those bands as well as Tortoise as major influences. Their show last spring was an eye opener - a cut from that performance can
be seen here:


MATTA GAWA is a drums and guitar duo whose music, largely improvisational, is influenced by music ranging from Sun Ra to Mahavishnu Orchestra to Tortoise. They have jammed and collaborated with the likes of Marshall Allen (Sun Ra Arkestra), and Acid Mothers Temple. Think dark, moody, post-rock flavored spacey jams.


Opening the show will be a set by Nick Millevoy, guitarist with the Philadelphia-based trio Many Arms. He may (or may not?) be joined by a mystery guest. If so we'll all play "What's My Line" to see if we can figure out who it might be. And if you remember "What's My Line" then you, too, should try to forget your birthdays.


5:00pm Sunday, August 29th: $15 Cover

Our Sunday afternoon show will feature Baltimore-based ...SOIHADTO... You can tell they're a post-rock band by the seemingly arbitrary use of extra punctuation in their name. Thing is they aren't so much "post" as they are "rock". They can get all moody and such, but definitely rock it out. And Food Network aficionados will likely recognize drummer Duff Goldman as the star of that network's "Ace of Cakes" show. ...soihadto... released their second album, "Adventure Stories (not based on fact?) earlier this year, and have toured extensively throughout North America, and recently played at the Meadowlands sports complex in New Jersey.


Opening the show on Sunday will be The Water, a drummer (who also plays numerous electronic gadgets) and guitarist/keyboardist duo. These guys generate a seriously lush and otherworldly sound. Their compositions


Rounding out the set on Sunday will be Contra, an Annapolis-based duo (or is it trio? Their pictures show two guitarists but their MySpace only shows two names) who play a sort of progressive-tinged epic metal.