Showing posts with label Prog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prog. Show all posts

4/16/2021

Rock Review And Interview: American Tears-Free Angel Express

Release Date: October 23, 2020

Label: 2020 Deko Music

Website


Making their debut in the early ‘70s, American Tears saw low to moderate success with a triple album set through that time period. While Powerhouse became their third and final attempt for some time as a collective band, leader and singer Mark Mangold, went off to explore trying his own musical path with a solo career. Spawning two albums, Mirror Image and Lift respectively, writing a book, and working on various other soundtracks as The Sign, Drive, She Said and one with Aldo Nova of Canada; Mark saw a blossoming period of growth and popularity. In 2019, the band reformed and reorganized to create White Flags, though there seemed to be no signs of surrender from this group in the near future. Now with Free Angel Express, Mark and American Tears are ready to rumble.

“Sledgehammered” is a great introductory recording. The build-up of the keyboard combined with the chanting vocals is thrilling to the listener as the ‘sledgehammer’ waits in mid-air limbo anticipating a sudden drop. The song instead, remains fluid and consistent tricking the ear and mind. “Set It On Fire” begins as a hunt-and-attack-themed piece. Yet, as it plays out the melodic keyboard and vocals reveal a dream sequence. Approaching the midway of the song, the drums play well into the initial beats of the song. It does very well in keeping the listener in a trance.

“Free Angel Express/Resist/Outta-Here” is a 10-minute instrumental track that is soothing, and offers itself up as a bridge between tracks. With the ‘Resist’ part of the track being the driving force, vocally of the track; the title track delivers the impression of an express railroad that the listener is joyriding on. “Not For Nothing” comes through with a different take of heavy rock blended with blues lyrics and melodies. A surprise to the system, “Not For Nothing” becomes a key track without question.

“Glass” projects itself as a contrast to its song title name. As it can be clear and put together, it can also shatter and crumble. Listening, to the ‘perfect storm,’ it’s as though the shattered pieces are blowing against the singer’s face as he battles on to find a resolution. “Everything You Take” finds itself in the aftermath of “Glass,” literally. The two songs marry together so well that the singer feels like he lost this battle either within himself or with someone close to him. “Roll the Stone” is like the perfect resolution of a trilogy, coming to an epic way of understanding of just picking up what remains, and moving on.

“Blue Rondo” plays on as the most interesting and fun pieces on the album. Its clash of organ versus drum is a surprisingly pleasant sound. All the while the combo gives off a jazz/rock/speed-metal triple-blasted sound to spice up and change up some of the energy of the record. “Can’t Get Satisfied” is a blaring, classic-mid- ‘70s-‘80s track that consists of a strong pop element which allows it to act as the album’s presumable single. “Woke” is an organ-dominated track that has both somber and perseverance concepts to it.

“Shadows Aching Karma” starts off exciting with a “Take On Me” keyboard-pop idea. As the song progresses, the synthesizer effects on this track make it a fun and interactive song that is not-so-much an earworm tune but, it does give off an animated cartoon or videogame soundtrack vibe while it plays through. “So Glow” finds itself in a seemingly positive-reinforcement bright song. Although, this song plays out more as a one-liner repetitive instrumental piece that’s massively appealing to the ear (minus a couple crashes in the middle). Finally, “Rise to the Light” begins just as the title might give way to, in a church-type setting. With the organ beaming loud, Mangold’s voice is bold and largely singled-out apart from the supported instrumentation. It is a refreshing and cool way to end an album that energizes and has the listener’s ear busy from start to finish.


Free Angel Express expels a great deal of energy and vibrato to capture its audience in a melodic, keyboard-rock rush. While few tracks fall slightly short of keeping the momentum booming (i.e. – “Roll the Stone” and “So Glow”), the album shines with genre experimentation and blending. Furthermore, the band’s revival might just land them on solid ground throughout the 2021 new year, should this album get the recognition and consumption it deserves by rock, pop, and metal enthusiasts alike.


Gregg Keniston - MuzikMan.net Staff
April 15, 2021

Track Listing:
01. Sledgehammered
02. Set It On Fire
03. Free Angel Express/Resist/Outta Here
04. Not For Nothing
05. Glass
06. Everything You Take
07. Roll the Stone
08. Blue Rondo
09. Can’t Get Satisfied
10. Woke
11. Shadows Aching Karma
12. So Glow
13. Rise to the Light




9/26/2020

Jazz/Prog Fusion Review: The Segue

Release Date: December 8, 2019

Label: Digital release

Website


The Segue hail from Poland and are the second new Polish band to catch my attention recently. The band comprises 4 members, Robert Wiercioch (guitar), Karolina Wiercioch (piano, grand piano, synths), Marcin Essen (bass) and Szymon Piotrowski (drums) and they are joined on this recording, Holograms, by three guest musicians, Jan Kozlinski (bass), Michal Sarapata (bass) and Maciej Dzik (drums).

I am most impressed with this debut, as I will freely admit that fusion/jazz fusion would not normally be a genre I would listen to, and, it is also an instrumental album, another area I can find less interesting, but The Segue have an interesting sound that takes me beyond any preconceptions.

Holograms
is a 7 track album with a playing time of just over 45 minutes (45:15), with the opening track, “Segue,” the shortest on offer at 3:55 minutes and the final track, “Time Space Illusion” being the longest, clocking in at 8:14 minutes.

The opening track, “Segue,” bounces into life very quickly and grabs the attention just as fast. Guitar, bass and drums set down an amazingly interesting sound and just after the 1-minute mark, there is a synthesizer passage before the track settles into the earlier style. Around the 2:10 minute point there is a slight change to the guitar which steps to the fore, driving the track along, suitably underpinned by that thumping bass and precision drumming. Just into the 3-minute mark there is a very atmospheric passage before the band wind up and are away. An ideal opening track, highlighting the musician skills and enticing the listener into the sound of The Segue.

Track 2, “Questions” (6:31), starts off much more gently and soon the piano of Karolina takes the track onwards with a very jazzy feel, suitably aided by the guitar, bass and drums. Karolina then moves into one or two different piano passages, complimented by the engine-room of drum and bass. The piano remains the major instrument, although around 3:45 minutes, there is an excellent bass passage which changes the tone of the track. Karolina (piano) and Robert (guitar) take the track on with Robert coming to the forefront, before a very gentle piano/bass passage ushers the track to completion.

The fourth track, “Future Ways” (4:30), starts with a synth passage to which the bass and drums soon pitch in followed by the guitar. Karolina concentrates on the synth on this track, together with Robert’s exquisite guitar playing and the bass and drum foundation is always there, supporting. “Future Ways,” as with all the tracks, gives the individual musicians a chance to step into the spotlight and shows the band to be a unit of very skillful musicians.

Initially I mentioned that jazz and instrumentals do not form a major part of what I would normally listen to, but The Segue seem to be different in that they mix what they do so well. Karolina is as accomplished on synths as the piano, although her style of playing certainly shows a love of jazz. Robert on guitar can throw out jazzy guitar runs with the best of them, but is not averse to suddenly diving into a more prog vein.

I think that it is this versatility that make Holograms so accessible and I have no doubt that many people will think the same. Holograms will be an excellent addition to many CD collections and indeed I still listen to tracks regularly. This is an excellent debut release and I look forward to finding out where further releases will take the band.


Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson -Prog Rock Music Talk Staff
September 22, 2020

Tracks:
1. Segue (3:55)
2. Questions (6:31)
3. Torrent (8:05)
4. Exosphere (6:30)
5. Future Ways (4:30)
6. Broken Mind (7:30)
7. Time Space Illusion (8:14)




10/17/2019

Alt-Rock-Prog-Pop Review: Sharon Lia Band-Beyond Wonderland

Release Date: August 22, 2019
Label: Sharrick Records

Sharon Lia leads from the front in the epic and emotive, Beyond Wonderland, the debut album from the Philadelphia-based band of her namesake. The ever-versatile Sharon chaperones us through the album’s varying themes with her compelling lead vocals and adept piano performances. The singer is at once soulful and candid on this collection, which is an ethereal meeting point of joy and nostalgia, of a past to be forgotten and a future to be fought for. The luscious instrumentation provided by guitarist Rick Jannotti and drummer Howie Fallon bolster the touching, thought-provoking message of this work. While the trio hasn’t struck gold with this debut, it’s clear they’re not far off.

After a brooding beginning, “Sick Addiction” explodes into a badass crescendo of electrifying guitar and thumping percussion. The tormented lyrics showcase Sharon Lia Band’s talent for creating sensational, melodic rock with a twist of poignant tenderness. On the aptly named “Anomie,” Sharon’s harmonious, gentle vocals paint the portrait of a woman let down and misunderstood by her society. Over a celestial arrangement, the defiant singer highlights the power of determination, self-realization, and grit.

“Why Can’t We Pretend?” is a gorgeous, sentimental and dreamy track. It boasts a blissful string section, a triumphant drum kick, and Sharon’s vocal prowess is given the space and backing to fully flourish. On “Hanging by a Thread” the singer similarly wows with an immaculate vocal performance. This track immediately grabs attention with a cadenced organ, crisp drums, and bluesy bass. Despite the smooth, polished sound of this track, the lyrics allude to a tense precarity, an uncertain danger, an imminent threat. This sensitivity is what adds layers of meaning to the band’s particular alternative-rock sound.

The tracklisting is masterful here as the band follows the melancholic end of “Hanging by a Thread” with the confident, sexy, strutting opening of “Free to Fall.” The beat oozes tenacity made up of a quivering electric guitar, a celestial synth, and a rapping drumbeat. The singer’s soaring voice proclaims fearlessness, boldness, and freedom. Then, Sharon Lia Band gifts us their unique take on a rock ballad in “Hunter and Slayer.” It’s tinkling piano and soft string section elicit a mysterious, fairytale feeling. While Sharon’s graceful singing evokes images of a somber, smoky bar-room performance one could only find in a black-and-white film.

On the album’s finale, “Beyond Wonderland.” a lurking bass line is joined by cracking drums while an electric guitar looms in the background, waiting to emerge noisily for the sensational climax. The brazen lyrics deal with the voyage of life, creativity, and self-discovery. It generates a feeling of harmonious completion, as the outro begins, we hear birds chirping and the soft sound of rainfall.  

The ambition and confidence needed to actualize this debut album’s grand vision show Sharon Lia Band has the attributes for a bright future in music. Beyond Wonderland is sure to leave you looking forward to this band’s next adventure.

Key Tracks Include: “Hanging by a Thread”, “Free to Fall”, and “Hunter and Slayer”

Nicholas Lane-MuzikMan.net Staff
October 17, 2019

REVIEWS PROVIDED BY:

Tracks:
1. Sick Addiction
2. Anomie
3. Why Can’t We Pretend?
4. Hanging by a Thread
5. Free to Fall
6. Hunter and Slayer
7. Beyond Wonderland

9/26/2017

Instrumental Prog Ensemble Podd Release Debut Album "Cosmic Forces"


Podd, the new instrumental, progressive rock band, presents their debut album “Cosmic Forces,” drawing inspiration from the flood plains of the Mississippi Delta, the mountains of Macedonia, to the foothills of the Himalayas. Podd's original compositions are born from personal introspection. It is a kind of musical storytelling without words, told with the impressions and colors only sound can evoke. Featuring Peter Olsen; guitars, Dejan Dejkoski; drums and percussion, Eric Olsen; keyboards, Takashi Otsuka; bass guitar.

Podd is the brainchild of Peter Olsen. His eclectic compositions, born from his years as an ever searching guitarist, are made manifest by his musical compatriots Dejan Dejkoski, Eric Olsen and Takashi Otsuka. The Podd sound is intense, complex, and variegated, but always funky. Podd's music is intended as a visceral experience that takes the mind on a journey.

Dejan Dejkoski brings the perfect expression of a driving rock-fusion sound combined with the quirky world beats of his native Macedonia. Takashi Otsukas jazz-steeped finger-style bass playing and advanced theoretical background adds emphasis and counterpoint. Eric Olsen, his arch musicianship in both the jazz and classical music scenes at play, lends chordal and melodic depth to the music.

Podd as a name, is an amalgam of Peter Olsen (PO) and Dejan Dejkoski (DD) who form the core of the band. Peter and Dejan codified the overall feel and arrangements of the tunes. The album was recorded at Peter Olsen's Aqua Velour Studio with Peter as the recording engineer. Mixing of the album was by Dave O'Donnell with mastering completed by Scott Hull of Masterdisk.

Podd is currently working on a feature video for “Beyond Beyond” off of the “Cosmic Forces” album. The band has written all new material for their second album (title unknown) and has already begun the recording process.

Podd band bios:

Peter Olsen; guitarist, composer, producer - A self taught guitarist Peter has fronted bands playing his original music since the age of 16. He has composed and played guitar in various acoustic and electric ensembles. Past efforts include his world fusion duo Advaita with Dan Johnson, collaboration and support with Prasanna Thokchom (classical Indian sitarist), Saida Fikri (Morocco) and Ustad Shabbir Nisar (India). Podd represents the apex of Peters guitar and compositional style. Peter has two other CD releases: “Arcadia” with Eric Olsen, 2010, and “The Portal” in 2011. His production company website Holus Bolus Productions can be found at www.holusbolusproductions.com.

Dejan Dejkoski; drums & percussion - Dejan comes from a musical family steeped in the rhythms of his homeland Macedonia. His father, a professional musician, exposed him at an early age to the drums. Dejan played drums with multiple outfits growing up until he moved to the USA to pursue a career in music. His interests know no boundaries with Podd representing his current state.

Eric Olsen; keyboards - Eric has crafted a distinguished career in both jazz and classical music, as a pianist and composer, harpsichordist, synthesist, organist, conductor, and accompanist. He has recorded twenty albums to great critical acclaim, with artists Randy Brecker, Ted Nash, George Garzone, Don Braden, Ratzo Harris, Tim Horner, Peter Olsen, Bucky Pizzarelli, Lou Caimano, Jan Carden, Kevin Maynor, and Larry Newcomb, and performed with jazz luminaries Billy Hart and Eliot Zigmund. He has appeared in concert from Carnegie Hall to Birdland, with orchestra in Taiwan, throughout the United States, and overseas in France, Germany, India, the Fiji Islands, and New Zealand. He teaches at Montclair State University and the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts, and is Director of Music and Organist at Union Congregational Church in Montclair, NJ. More information is available at www.ericolsenmusic.com and www.dyadplays.com.

Takashi Otsuka; bass guitar - Takashi studied composition, arranging and improvisation theory at Berklee College of Music. He has performed with various artists such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Ben E. King, Swing Express, Composer's Workshop Big Band, Latin Jazz Orchestra and many other jazz musicians. Takashi worked as a bass instructor for four years at Professional Music studios, Inc. and has been teaching privately for the last ten years.

To purchase Podd's “Cosmic Forces”:
https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/podd
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cosmic-forces/id1254506610

For more information:
www.poddmusic.com
www.facebook.com/poddmusic/

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158 (US), glassonyonpr@gmail.com

Instrumental Prog Ensemble Podd Release Debut Album "Cosmic Forces"


Podd, the new instrumental, progressive rock band, presents their debut album “Cosmic Forces,” drawing inspiration from the flood plains of the Mississippi Delta, the mountains of Macedonia, to the foothills of the Himalayas. Podd's original compositions are born from personal introspection. It is a kind of musical storytelling without words, told with the impressions and colors only sound can evoke. Featuring Peter Olsen; guitars, Dejan Dejkoski; drums and percussion, Eric Olsen; keyboards, Takashi Otsuka; bass guitar.

Podd is the brainchild of Peter Olsen. His eclectic compositions, born from his years as an ever searching guitarist, are made manifest by his musical compatriots Dejan Dejkoski, Eric Olsen and Takashi Otsuka. The Podd sound is intense, complex, and variegated, but always funky. Podd's music is intended as a visceral experience that takes the mind on a journey.

Dejan Dejkoski brings the perfect expression of a driving rock-fusion sound combined with the quirky world beats of his native Macedonia. Takashi Otsukas jazz-steeped finger-style bass playing and advanced theoretical background adds emphasis and counterpoint. Eric Olsen, his arch musicianship in both the jazz and classical music scenes at play, lends chordal and melodic depth to the music.

Podd as a name, is an amalgam of Peter Olsen (PO) and Dejan Dejkoski (DD) who form the core of the band. Peter and Dejan codified the overall feel and arrangements of the tunes. The album was recorded at Peter Olsen's Aqua Velour Studio with Peter as the recording engineer. Mixing of the album was by Dave O'Donnell with mastering completed by Scott Hull of Masterdisk.

Podd is currently working on a feature video for “Beyond Beyond” off of the “Cosmic Forces” album. The band has written all new material for their second album (title unknown) and has already begun the recording process.

Podd band bios:

Peter Olsen; guitarist, composer, producer - A self taught guitarist Peter has fronted bands playing his original music since the age of 16. He has composed and played guitar in various acoustic and electric ensembles. Past efforts include his world fusion duo Advaita with Dan Johnson, collaboration and support with Prasanna Thokchom (classical Indian sitarist), Saida Fikri (Morocco) and Ustad Shabbir Nisar (India). Podd represents the apex of Peters guitar and compositional style. Peter has two other CD releases: “Arcadia” with Eric Olsen, 2010, and “The Portal” in 2011. His production company website Holus Bolus Productions can be found at www.holusbolusproductions.com.

Dejan Dejkoski; drums & percussion - Dejan comes from a musical family steeped in the rhythms of his homeland Macedonia. His father, a professional musician, exposed him at an early age to the drums. Dejan played drums with multiple outfits growing up until he moved to the USA to pursue a career in music. His interests know no boundaries with Podd representing his current state.

Eric Olsen; keyboards - Eric has crafted a distinguished career in both jazz and classical music, as a pianist and composer, harpsichordist, synthesist, organist, conductor, and accompanist. He has recorded twenty albums to great critical acclaim, with artists Randy Brecker, Ted Nash, George Garzone, Don Braden, Ratzo Harris, Tim Horner, Peter Olsen, Bucky Pizzarelli, Lou Caimano, Jan Carden, Kevin Maynor, and Larry Newcomb, and performed with jazz luminaries Billy Hart and Eliot Zigmund. He has appeared in concert from Carnegie Hall to Birdland, with orchestra in Taiwan, throughout the United States, and overseas in France, Germany, India, the Fiji Islands, and New Zealand. He teaches at Montclair State University and the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts, and is Director of Music and Organist at Union Congregational Church in Montclair, NJ. More information is available at www.ericolsenmusic.com and www.dyadplays.com.

Takashi Otsuka; bass guitar - Takashi studied composition, arranging and improvisation theory at Berklee College of Music. He has performed with various artists such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Ben E. King, Swing Express, Composer's Workshop Big Band, Latin Jazz Orchestra and many other jazz musicians. Takashi worked as a bass instructor for four years at Professional Music studios, Inc. and has been teaching privately for the last ten years.

To purchase Podd's “Cosmic Forces”:
https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/podd
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cosmic-forces/id1254506610

For more information:
www.poddmusic.com
www.facebook.com/poddmusic/

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158 (US), glassonyonpr@gmail.com

5/15/2014

Prog News: Thine Release New Album The Dead City Blueprint

Band statement:

“We’ve been toiling away for over a decade on shaping our latest monster. It has been such a long & grueling process with countless collapses & relapses & a traumatic voyage on numerous levels, but this opus is finally in the flesh so to speak. It is an encapsulation of all those glorious tragedies we all find ourselves overcoming along the way, & essentially for us, a welcome catalyst. Sometimes the best art comes only through being unexpectedly forced through the city’s darkest avenues, so hope you’ll find us there”.

WEBSITE: www.thine-online.co.uk


FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/ThineUK


Prog News: Thine Release New Album The Dead City Blueprint

Band statement:

“We’ve been toiling away for over a decade on shaping our latest monster. It has been such a long & grueling process with countless collapses & relapses & a traumatic voyage on numerous levels, but this opus is finally in the flesh so to speak. It is an encapsulation of all those glorious tragedies we all find ourselves overcoming along the way, & essentially for us, a welcome catalyst. Sometimes the best art comes only through being unexpectedly forced through the city’s darkest avenues, so hope you’ll find us there”.

WEBSITE: www.thine-online.co.uk


FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/ThineUK


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