VOIVOD – “The Wake” album details and release date announced!

Celebrating their 35th anniversary this year, Canadian progressive sci-fi metal innovators VOIVOD are pleased to announce a release date of September 21st, 2018 for their upcoming new studio album “The Wake” via Century Media Records worldwide.

“The Wake”, the highly anticipated successor to 2013’s “Target Earth” album as well as the 2016 mini-album “Post Society”, was recorded and mixed by Francis Perron at RadicArt Recording Studio in Canada. The album‘s artwork was once again created by VOIVOD drummer Michel “Away” Langevin and can be seen above.

VOIVOD guitarist Daniel “Chewy“ Mongrain” checked in with the following comment: “It is with great enthusiasm and pride that we will soon share with you the fruit of 2 years of labor in the form of an intricate, intense and colorful journey with our new album ‘The Wake’, expanding the boundaries of VOIVOD’s multiverse!”

The album’s track-listing reads as follows:

VOIVOD  “The Wake”:
1. Obsolete Beings
2. The End Of Dormancy
3. Orb Confusion
4. Iconspiracy
5. Spherical Perspective
6. Event Horizon
7. Always Moving
8. Sonic Mycelium

The first single off “The Wake” is expected for release on July 20th.

VOIVOD’s first European touring run in support of “The Wake” will feature the following rotating support acts: Maggot Heart (from 7th until 16th Sept), Nightrage (from 18th until 26th Sept) and Bio-Cancer (from 28th Sept until 20thOct). Here is a list of all dates:

VOIVOD – European Tour 2018:
07.09.2018 Prague (Czech Republic) – Futurum *
08.09.2018 Poznan (Poland) – U Bazyla *
09.09.2018 Warsaw (Poland) – Hydrozagadka *
10.09.2018 Krakow (Poland) – Kwadrat *
11.09.2018 Bratislava (Slovakia) – Randal Club *
13.09.2018 Cluj-Napoca (Romania) – Flying Circus Pub *
14.09.2018 Belgrade (Serbia) – Elektropionir *
15.09.2018 Budapest (Hungary) – Durer Kert *
16.09.2018 Vienna (Austria) – Szene *
18.09.2018 Bologna (Italy) – Locomotiv **
19.09.2018 Rome (Italy) – Largo **
20.09.2018 Milan (Italy) – Santeria **
21.09.2018 Winterthur (Switzerland) – Gaswerk **
22.09.2018 Seyssinet Pariset (France) – Ilyade **
24.09.2018 Barcelona (Spain) – Boveda **
25.09.2018 Madrid (Spain) – Nazca **
26.09.2018 Porto (Portugal) – Hard Club **
28.09.2018 Marseille (France) – Jas’ Rod ***
29.09.2018 Paris (France) – Petit Bain ***
30.09.2018 Nantes (France) – Ferrailleur ***
02.10.2018 Southampton (UK) – The Joiners ***
03.10.2018 Cardiff (UK) – The Globe ***
04.10.2018 Leeds (UK) – Temple Of Boom ***
05.10.2018 Glasgow (UK) – Cathouse ***
06.10.2018 Manchester (UK) – Rebellion ***
07.10.2018 London (UK) – Underworld ***
09.10.2018 Brussels (Belgium) – Magasin 4 ***
10.10.2018 Amstelveen (The Netherlands) – P60 ***
11.10.2018 Eindhoven (The Netherlands) – Dynamo ***
12.10.2018 Cologne (Germany) – Luxor ***
13.10.2018 Hamburg (Germany) – Logo ***
14.10.2018 Copenhagen (Denmark) – Pumpehuset ***
15.10.2018 Stockholm (Sweden) – Klubb Nalen ***
17.10.2018 Helsinki (Finland) – Tavastia ***
18.10.2018 Tampere (Finland) – Klubi ***
20.10.2018 Oslo (Norway) – John Dee ***

Support bands:
* Maggot Heart (from 7th until 16th Sept)
** Nightrage (from 18th until 26th Sept)
*** Bio-Cancer (from 28th Sept until 20th Oct)

VOIVOD drummer Michel “Away” Langevin commented on the upcoming European tour as follows: We are thrilled to visit our friends in Europe once again in September and October, and it will be a great occasion for us to test songs from our upcoming album,“The Wake“.“

Previously, VOIVOD will also appear at selected festivals in North America as follows:

VOIVOD – Live 2018:
29.07.2018 Montreal (Canada) – Heavy Montreal Festival
https://www.heavymontreal.com/en/artists
04.08.2018 Lévis (Canada) – Festivent
https://festivent.ca/artistes/
18.08.2018 Las Vegas (USA) – Psycho Las Vegas Festival
https://www.vivapsycho.com

More on VOIVOD and “The Wake” to follow soon…

VOIVOD line-up:
Snake – Vocals
Chewy – Guitar
Rocky – Bass
Away – Drums

 

Review – Chris Squire – Fish Out of Water (2CD / 2DVD / 1LP / 2 X 7″ SINGLES LIMITED EDITION BOXSET) – by James R. Turner

At the last count there have been about 1 million approx. solo albums (ed. – I think you may be exaggerating there James…) from various members of Yes in it’s variety of incarnations (although to be fair, most of them are by Rick Wakeman!) and, now while the band strides the earth in two distinct incarnations (the ‘official’ Yes, where Billy Sherwood has stepped up into the much missed Chris Squire’s boots  and Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman), neither band has the anchorage or the sheer musical presence that Chris Squire had, the only man to appear on every Yes studio album and whose distinctive bass sound turned bass playing into an art, where it became more than just part of the back beat.

Billy Sherwood is excellent live at taking Chris’ place but there can only ever be one Chris Squire, Rickenbacker in hand, propelling the sound of Yes onwards.

Which is why, for my money, ‘Fish Out of Water’ is the finest solo album by any member of Yes ever released, it’s the finest album that Yes never released, and showcased Chris at his best. Here he takes on some astonishingly great sounds, aided and abetted by old Yes sparring partners Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz, such luminaries such as Mel Collins and Jimmy Hastings and orchestral arrangements by old friend Andrew Pryce-Jackson. This is pure undiluted Squire, where he lets his vocals and his bass take central stage.

In fact, he didn’t sound as powerful and as energised as this again until on the Yes ‘Drama’ album from 1980.

This re-issue on Esoteric Recordings  is available in both a standard double CD set, which includes the original album and the new stereo mix by Jakko Jakszyk (complete with bonus tracks, the single version of Lucky Seven and Chris Squire and Alan White’s Run with the Fox/Return of the Fox single) or a deluxe boxed set that includes the CD but also replica 7” singles of the bonus tracks, the album on 180g vinyl and ‘Fish Out of Water’ in a new 5.1 mix.

The only quibble I have with this is that the 5.1 mix is only available in the far more expensive box, and for those of us who love the album but don’t need the vinyl or bonus 7” singles, the cost of the box to get the 5.1 is quite prohibitive.

Hopefully when the box runs out, there may be second run of the CD with the 5.1 disc as I am sure the demand for it is out there.

Whilst some of the content (the interview with Chris Squire and track commentary for instance) is also on the 2006 Sanctuary edition of the album, the sound quality and remastering work is stellar. Where the Sanctuary copy fell was the sound of the album, it was very muddy, and the booklet looked like it had been run through a colour photocopier.

The mastering here brings out all the subtle nuances throughout the record and, of course, Jakko’s new stereo mix is a revelation, bringing new life into such epic pieces as the fantastic Hold Out Your Hand and You By My Side.

The two epics on this album were always Silently Falling, with it’s astonishing extended coda, and the orchestrally brilliant Safe (Canon Song) with its lush orchestrations taking up pretty much the whole of side two. This was true progressive music, none of yer regressive nonsense, this was Chris Squire pushing boundaries and making exciting dynamic and, on Safe, truly memorably moving songs.

You get the room for these songs to breathe and grow and develop, and the intricate sounds, subtle musical nuances, even the funk that’s on Lucky Seven (which to me was always the weakest on the album) has even grown on me and I can appreciate it a hell of a lot more than I ever did. Silently Falling for me is the centrepiece of this album, and oh, I would have loved for Yes to take this and make something of it as well (not that there is anything wrong at all with this version, far from it, but to hear Squire and Anderson singing on this together would have been amazing).

The 5.1 is even more astonishing, like King Crimson, Gentle Giant and, indeed, Yes, 5.1 is the music system progressive music was built for and, of course, Esoteric have a great track record in 5.1, as the Hawkwind ‘Warrior at the Edge of Time’ and the recent Barclay James Harvest re-issues show. It is a truly immersive experience for the music lover and it feels, just for the length of the album, that Chris Squire is in the room with you, that this is a private performance just for you, the sound of Silently Falling in 5.1 sending tingles down the spine. The whole mix is revelatory, there is so much more going on, and the mix is beautifully organic, pulling the sounds to life without ever compromising the album.

For those of you who already have this album on CD from previous below par re-issues and indeed the original vinyl and are wondering if it is worth getting a copy, I would say the sound has radically improved over any previous CD version and the Jakko stereo mix is revelatory. If you were thinking of the 5.1, which is on a par with the wonderful 5.1 version of ‘The Yes Album’ by the way, then you would have to look at your budget and decide if it is worth having,  complete with the vinyl.

This is a legendary ground-breaking record, from a legendary ground-breaking musician and, other than a Christmas record (the amusingly titled ‘Chris Squire’s Swiss Choir’) stands as the solo testament to Yes’ anchor. Maybe it is so good because he never made another, not knowing the man I couldn’t speculate on why not, maybe he felt he’d said all he needed to say solo, or perhaps he felt more comfortable within Yes, who can say? However, as one of the most innovative and distinctive musical forces in music, and a year after his untimely passing, this remaster is the appropriate way to celebrate his definitive musical statement.

Released 27th April 2018

Buy the boxset here

YES – FLY FROM HERE – RETURN TRIP – IN STOCK AND OUT NOW

Prog icons YES have released a brand-new mix of their album Fly From Here – Return Trip, featuring the Drama line-up and new lead vocals by Trevor Horn, to coincide with their 50th Anniversary celebrations.

All the vinyl editions and the special postcard book, which were previously only available to pre-order, are IN STOCK AND OUT NOW but are only available on the band’s #YES50 tour (including the Fan Convention in Philadelphia on 21st July 2018 with all four surviving members in attendance) and via these two links ONLY:

Pledge: https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/yes-fly-from-here-return-trip

Burning Shed: https://burningshed.com/tag/fly%20from%20here

The original 2011 release of Fly From Here featured the band members who appeared on Drama: Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, plus Benoit David on lead vocals with Trevor Horn in the role of Producer.

Trevor Horn says: I really enjoyed listening to Alan and Chris playing together again. Finishing off the album was a labour of love.”

Fly From Here – Return Trip also contains a previously unreleased song, Don’t Take No for an Answer” recorded in 2011, with Steve Howe on lead vocals. Additionally, the full-length version of “Hour of Need” is included. This has previously only been included as a Japanese bonus track.

Review – Southern Empire – Civilisation – by Progradar

“And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!”

Sage words of bombast and pomposity and the sort of thing you’d hear at the Last Night of the Proms. To be honest, if we had an equivalent thing for progressive music (in my opinion, the closest thing to classical music nowadays), there would be some prime candidates to be included in any such event.

Having listened to ‘Civilisation’, the new, sophomore, release from Aussie proggers Southern Empire I seriously think they have put forward an excellent case for inclusion in this, admittedly, fictitious concert.

Formed from the break up of cult band Unitopia, their debut, self-titled release had a very positive reaction but they have come back with an album that is grander in every aspect.

Opening track Goliath’s Moon (written by guitarist Cam Blokland) is a thundering, hard-rock heavy piece of music that brings back memories of ‘Milliontown’ era Frost* to my ears. It’s taking all that is good from that style of music and injecting it with some much needed joie de vivre. It is an uplifting and mightily powerful song that flies into town at a million miles an hour, puts a huge smile on everyone’s face and then buggers off the same way it came with not another word, the guitar run out at the end is pure genius too!

Cries For The Lonely takes Dream Theater and Queen at the height of the pomp and circumstance and delivers nineteen minutes of pure unadulterated musical theatre. The lush vocal harmonies are note perfect and the music is as polished as you could ask for and yet there is a definite glint in its electronic eye. There’s an utter sense of enjoyment in the delivery of every note and every word and, once again, a superb guitar solo from Cam closes out the song.

Simply put, title track Civilisation is a proper progressive ‘epic’ in the true sense of the word. The song is a re-worked and extended version of a song that band supremo Sean Timms wrote with ex Unitopia colleague Mark Trueack for an abandoned album and it ebbs and flows like all great tracks do, there’s some superb saxophone from Mr Timms and Danny Lopresto’s voice is just so silky smooth. It’s twenty-nine minutes of dynamic progressive music like Transatlantic used to do before they decided that too much still wasn’t enough…

The final song Innocence and Fortune dials the intensity back a notch but most definitely not the quality. Written by Timms and Steve Unruh of Samurai of Prog fame, it has more of the brooding quality of IQ to it. Brody Green’s drums and the measured bass of Jez Martin take the lead here but it isn’t long before those lush vocal harmonies make a triumphant return along with that more upbeat tempo. Do we get another great solo from Cam? What do you think…?

‘Civilisation’ is one of the early contenders for album of the year for me, a tremendous release that hits all the right notes and finally sees joy and elation return to the creation of music. It’s as close to a must buy as anything else I’ve heard this year so far. Right, that’s it, I’m off for another listen…

Released 20th July 2018

Order the album from GEP here

Here’s Hold from Southern Empire’s debut album:

 

 

 

NOSOUND ANNOUNCE ‘ALLOW YOURSELF’ THE NEW STUDIO ALBUM AND NEW DIRECTION COMING 21st SEPT 2018 – NOSOUND PREMIERE VIDEO FOR FIRST SINGLE “DON’T YOU DARE”

Nosound’s 2018 studio album Allow Yourself finds the band in a new space once more having grown alongside their evolving and borderless label Kscope. The new material is a stripping back of what has come before, and its inspirations are in a different field altogether, based on founder and songwriter Giancarlo Erra’s own shifting interests.

“Time has arrived for a radical change towards an alternative and electronic direction, being the music I have enjoyed the most in recent years.” 

Giancarlo Erra chose the track “Don’t You Dare” as the band’s first single & video to reveal this new direction: The ‘daring’ aspect is part of the ‘allowing yourself’ process, expressed in this track by an unsettling melodic line and an unusual up-tempo conclusion with disco-like electronic drums. The song then begins its second stage, presenting acoustic instruments in new ways (cello) and then several synced electronics mixed with chopped/inverted acoustic parts.”

Scintilla (2016) began the process and Allow Yourself takes the band’s minimalist vision even further, incorporating elements from The National, Notwist, and Portishead, alongside an approach to mixing inspired by Bowie’s Blackstar and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool.

Founder/writer Giancarlo Erra reflected on the direction of the new material, “The idea behind the album is encased in the title “Allow Yourself”, something directed to the listener but was first of all directed to myself. After attempting to find my own way and leave behind early influences and categorisations, I realised I was afraid of committing to the full change I was chasing. I needed to put myself out of my comfort zone, which meant lots of studying and completely changing my studio and instrumentation. A truly deep change happened and I discovered that with uncertainty and insecurity, with limitations and uneasiness, a more varied and exciting creative process sparked.” 

Allow Yourself was recorded at Erra’s The Bench Music in Norfolk, with additional recording in Rome at Binario2. Songwriting, engineering, mixing, production, mastering and artwork has been handled by the frontman, which has resulted in a coherent message in the band’s new work.

Allow Yourself will be released on the following formats – all available to pre-order HERE now

  • LP –presented on audiophile 180g heavyweight ‘Crystal Clear’ vinyl in a reverse-board gatefold sleeve.
  • CD – presented in digipack reverse-board packaging with a 16-page booklet
  • Digital – available on all major download and streaming services, as well as select HD 24-bit download services, as both a standard mix and binaural mix.

Pre-orders through the Kscope Store will receive an exclusive signed postcard & wristband (till stocks last), immediate download of the first single Don’t You Dare and, on release date, the full album as mp3, uncompressed binaural mix & FLAC 5.1 surround sound mix.

 

Review – Pingvinorkestern – Look, No Hands – by Progradar

After listening to ‘Look, No Hands’ from the Swedish progressive rock ensemble Pingvinorkestern (Penguin Orchestra) I’m still at a loss for words. At times quite gloriously mad and at times utterly magnificent progressive rock born from imagination and intuition, this album is a wonderful collection of tracks that enthralls, amazes and amuses all at the same time.

Following on from the debut release ‘Push’, this new album calls on glockenspiel, jews harp, sledgehammer (yep,you read that right), xylophones and horns to create songs derived from pure sadness and happiness, all created for the bands own pleasure.

Seemingly recorded haphazardly as friends called round to drink coffee contribute french horn, bassoon, Krankvartetten (nope, me neither) and vocals (Walk Slowly), ‘Look, No Hands’ is a collection of tracks that could be, on face value, completely disparate. However, listen to the album in one sitting and you will go through the whole gamut of emotions from complete bewilderment through despair to utter joy.

I laughed, I cried and I experienced highs and lows and, just so you can save the experience for yourself, I am not going to do a dissection of each track. All I will say is that after initially thinking this collection of superb musicians were madder than any box of frogs or badgers you could ever find, I really think that the joke could be on us.

One of the most surprising, original and fulfilling releases I’ve heard in quite a while. Do yourselves a big favour, buy it, find yourself a dark room, put on your headphones, have a large glass of your favourite tipple and just enjoy…

Released 29th August 2017

Buy the album from bandcamp here

 

Review – Loebe & Napier – Filthy Jokes E.P. – by Progradar

Rebecca Loebe and Findlay Napier met on an EFDSS songwriting retreat in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. “Sometimes when you get thrown into a co-write sessions things just click.” Says Napier, “This was one of those times.” Over the last 18 months they have written together down the line from Loebe’s base in Austin, Texas and in Findlay’s Glasgow flat when Rebecca was touring the UK.

The ‘Filthy Jokes E.P.’ is based around a song the two wrote for Christmas 2017 – Joy To The World, I Guess – which combines the lilting Americana influenced tones of Loebe’s polished delivery along with the more traditional folk influences of Glasgow native Napier.

For any fan of these two songwriting behemoths, this E.P. is a must, Rebecca Loebe is known as a non-stop touring machine, averaging 200 performances per year for the last decade. Along the way, honing her voice to become a musical instrument in itself.

Scottish singer-songwriter Findlay Napier categorically commands musical VIP status and his gritty tales of Scottish life, based in and around Glasgow, have become legendary among the Folk circuit.

Joy To The World, I Guess and Bad Medicine see the duo add their own unique idiosyncrasies to two beautifully crafted songs, their songwriting prowess there for all to see and hear. There’s a languid and laconic ease to the music and the vocals match that feel perfectly. It’s a perfect amalgam of American polish along with superbly delivered Scottish grit.

Kilimanjaro sees Loebe take centre stage with a haunting, ethereal piece of music that really leaves a mark on your soul, Napier’s ghostly backing vocal and the simple guitar providing the perfect backing. Option to Buy sees Napier at his witty best with sharp lyrics and brilliant music being the core of his traditional folk style. This time Loebe adds the classy country influenced backing vocals to give just a little bit extra.

There’s a proper country music, bluegrass edge to title track Filthy Jokes, Loebe adding the required twang to her delicious vocal delivery which, along with that picking banjo in the background, leaves you feeling as if you’re in the deep south. The E.P. closes out with an excellent reprise of the opening track.

This collaboration is a glimpse into the combined songwriting minds of two of folk and country/Americana music’s most accomplished artists. A delightful appetiser to what they could achieve if they wrote long-term together. It’s a wonderful twenty minutes of sublime vocals and superb musicianship and one that should be in any music fans collection and, as an introduction to Napier and Loebe, is just about perfect.

Released 12th February 2018

Order the EP, pay what you want, from bandcamp here

 

Review – Mabel Greer’s Toyshop – The Secret – by James R. Turner

Before Yes, there was Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, a band that originally existed between 1966-68 until original member Clive Bayley left and they became the first Yes line up.

MGT Re-formed back in 2014 with original members Clive Bayley, drummer Robert Hagger, Hugo Barre on bass and Max Hunt on keyboards. The album ‘New Way of Life’ was released in 2015 and ‘The Secret’ is the follow-up recorded and released towards the end of last year.

Mixing Bayley’s vocals and the bands power, they have headed down a route that both Yes and The Nice attempted with varying degrees of success, by blending new material with classically inspired pieces, (Turning to the Light – inspired by Tchaikovsky, Angel Sent – inspired by Beethoven, Swan – inspired by Tchaikovsky and the Closing the Secret inspired by Holst). Traditionally a lot of original prog was inspired by rock musicians wanting to make classical sounds, and this return to the bands roots is a nice nod to the journey the genre went on.

Bayley has a wonderfully deep English voice and a line in well observed melancholy and beauty, that makes this more than just a cash in on the Yes name.

There are some wonderful long songs that have room to breath and grown, like the opening Big Brother, Little Brother about the plight of the indigenous native Americans moved on by the white settlers, while two spiritual pieces (Love’s Fire and Image of Existence) use the words of the legendary Sufi academic and writer, the Iranian born Dr Javid Nubaksh, an example of Bayley’s widely travelled outlook, and his spiritual ideas.

In fact, this whole album runs a wide range of styles and sounds, and the band are absolutely on fire. Hunt’s keyboards add some wonderful bluesy style to More and More with its disdain for the consumerist lifestyle, while the guitar work reinterpreting Ode to Joy on Angel Sent is an absolute pleasure to listen.

Having come only a few years after the bands debut (only a mere 49 years after they were formed!) this shows that Bayley has started mining a rich creative and musical seam and now the band has coalesced to 4 like-minded musicians looking to the future. This album is one that has a few nods to the past and where the band came from, but also shows where Bayley’s journey differed from that of his earlier band mates, and looks far more to the future than to the past.

The biggest nod to the past however is the presence of the late Peter Banks on the final track The Secret, where his wonderfully unique guitar sound cuts through the track and sends shivers down the spine. As one, much like Bayley, (and despite having appeared and been fundamental in the early Yes sound on the first two albums), Banks long seems the forgotten man of Yes.

Finally, the current incarnation plays Time and a Word in tribute to him (with a big picture on the stage) and this guitar solo only continues to enhance his reputation.

This album is never going to be the forefront of a new genre or hit the top spot in the charts, I have no doubt that that’s not what its creators intended. Instead with its philosophy, it’s classic/rock crossover sound, it’s melancholy and languid guitar work and vocals, it is an English prog rock classic, refining and redefining what progressive music is and taking several steps forward whilst reflecting, representing and commemorating where they came from.

All in all, a very classy, mature and intelligent album that is a welcome addition to the band’s catalogue and see’s them hitting their stride with this new line up.

Released 8th December 2017

Order the album from bandcamp here

Tides of Man Return with beautiful New Single, “Static Hymn” Announce New Album to be Released August 3rd

Tampa, Florida based instrumental post-rock outfit, Tides of Man have revealed new single and video “Static Hymn”. The band surprised fans with a teaser last week that was met with tremendous excitement racking up over 25,000 views on Facebook and garnering hundreds of shares and comments from a dedicated following anxiously awaiting new music from Tides of Man. You can listen to the beautifully cinematic “Static Hymn” and enjoy an accompanying visual directed by Stephen Mlinarcik:

Alongside the new single came the announcement that Tides of Man will be releasing a new full-length, entitled Every Nothing, on August 3rd. Every Nothing is a collection of 12 meticulously arranged post-rock compositions that builds on the band’s 2014 full-length, Young and Courageous. The synergy throughout the album allows listeners a serene experience that highlights the band’s creative growth while staying true to their foundational sound that led to such a dedicated international following for the band upon their previous release. Every Nothing explores the theme that sometimes the most insignificant moments, one takes for granted, can be the most important. When looking back, these small moments can be life-defining. Sonically, Every Nothing shows a darker and more brooding side of the bands writing – creating an atmosphere that reflects their artistic maturation over the past four years.

Quote from the band regarding Every Nothing:

“It’s been an amazing process writing Every Nothing together as a band. We pushed ourselves and each other beyond what we thought we were capable of and we put our all into this record. We are very proud to finally release it!”

Every Nothing Tracklisting
1 – Static Hymn
2 – Mercury Fields
3 – New Futures
4 – Far Off
5 – Old 88
6 – Waxwing
7 – Keep Telling Yourself
8 – Everything Is Fine, Everyone is Happy
9 – Death is No Dread Enemy
10 – Outside Ourselves
11 – Mosaic
12 – Infinite Ceiling

Tides of Man came to prominence as one of the torchbearers of progressive rock through their initial EP and first two full lengths (Empire Theory and Dreamhouse). After parting ways with their lead singer and label, the band was reborn as an instrumental post-rock project with the crowdfunded release of their third full-length, Young And Courageous in 2014. Their music has been described as layered, with mesmerizing tone textures, beautiful in a way that allows listeners to attach their own experiences and emotions to the music. After several well received tours of Europe and North America and appearances at End of the Road and Dunk! Festival, the band went into the studio to record their second instrumental album, Every Nothing. They worked with producers Mike Watts at Vudu Studios (As Cities Burn, The Dear Hunter, As Tall As Lions) and Spencer Bradham at Cleartrack Studios, and the album will be released independently on August 3rd.

Tides of Man are about to embark on a European tour in support of the new record that will include appearances at Fete De Lion in Switzerland on August 2nd and ArcTanGent in Bristol, UK on August 16th. The band has long been revered for the special experience their live show provides concert-goers and are well known as a “can’t miss” performance. Stay tuned for additional tour dates and more information and music from Every Nothing as release day draws closer.

Tides of Man Tour Dates
8/2- Wil, Switzerland @ Fête de Lion
8/17 – Bristol, UK @ ArcTanGent Festival

Review – Mansun – Attack of the Grey Lantern (Deluxe Remastered Reissue) – by James R. Turner

Somewhere at the arse end of Britpop, where record labels and the bigger bands had either lost the plot or were rapidly evolving to avoid the Britpop tag, there were some truly great albums released in that fag end; ‘Urban Hymns’ by The Verve or ‘Be Here Now’ by Oasis captured the decline of the Britpop years beautifully, while Radiohead’s ‘Ok, Computer’ set the controls for the heart of the sun. Meanwhile four-piece Mansun, who were lumped, unfairly to my ears, into the whole Britpop scene (well, they were British, and they made music!) took the top of the charts with ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’.

Despite the strength of the follow up ‘Six’, as well as ‘Little Kixx’, the band folded amidst much acrimony, leaving behind a collection of albums that, if you were there you’d get, if you weren’t then you would be amazed that you hadn’t heard them before.

Now signed to Kscope for his debut album and having achieved critical acclaim for his come-back and his tour supporting Steven Wilson, original Mansun frontman Paul Draper recently toured the UK selling out venues performing ‘Attack…’ in it’s entirety for the first time.

With the Mansun back catalogue now on Kscope, they have brought out a luxurious 21st anniversary edition. This pulls together demo’s, live tracks, unreleased material and, the holiest of holies, a shiny new 5.1 mix of the album.

Back in 2010 when the rights were held by EMI, they produced a triple disc edition of the album and while, inevitably, there is some cross over, the demo’s and 5.1 mix make this new package as attractive to new fans and older ones who want to relive their youth.

Astonishingly there are people buying music today who weren’t even born when this album appeared, and doesn’t that make me feel old?

Starting out as a concept about a superhero, The Grey Lantern, the band admitted there weren’t quite enough songs to complete the concept, but it doesn’t matter when the material on here is of such quality and style.

Anyone unfamiliar with the original album won’t know how it starts with the best Bond theme there never was, the dramatic string laden and powerful The Chad Who Loved Me, before leading into the sardonically titled Mansun’s Only Love Song (this quirky sense of humour and self-deprecation was to be a trade mark of the band) and, while they were put into the Britpop box, there was always more going on musically, as the brilliantly Beatles inspired, and pure festival singalong, Taxlo$$ proved. There were the brilliant single releases like the epic Wide Open Space and Stripper Vicar, the former being an absolute musical epic, and the latter being a very English piece of musical high-farce which could only have been made by an English band.

With a closing quartet of songs, She Makes my Nose Bleed, Naked Twister, Egg Shaped Fred and Dark Mavis, there is no bad track on this album. It is one of those organically produced records from the golden age of CDs where the sequence is everything and the album must be listened to in its entirety. This is no collection of songs to stream or put on as background, this is an album as art and, as such, is full of class, heart and soul.

Which is why it is perfect for the 5.1 treatment. There was always plenty going on musically with Mansun and the 5.1 mix enhances and expands this, giving the tracks real wide open space to breath. This makes it a completely immersive experience, taking it all back to listening to albums as they were meant to be listened to, you, a room and the sounds taking them over.

The fact that Mansun were so obviously head and shoulders above most of the Britpop crowd means they were more on a par with Pulp than Oasis, in that they have made timeless, classy intelligent rock music, music that wasn’t afraid to be a bit different from the norm. Listening back now it’s hard to imagine that if Mansun appeared from nowhere and released this today that it would get to number one. While it is easier to access music today, I have a suspicion that, looking at the demographic of the record buying youth 21 years ago, they were probably more accepting to trying something slightly different than the youth of today. So different, in fact, that they let, and actively encouraged Radiohead and Mansun to get away with blatant prog right under their noses in the depths of Britpop, the cheeky little scamps!

After seeing Paul Draper perform ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’ live (a gig I’d only been waiting to see for 21 years) my interest in all things Mansun has been rekindled and, as Kscope have the full back catalogue, it appears that the follow up to ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’, the even more astonishing and out there ‘Six’, is being readied for 5.1.

If ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’ was the gateway drug, ‘Six’ is where we hit the hard stuff. With Paul Draper promising to perform it in it’s entirety live next year, well, I am already eagerly awaiting the next instalment in the Mansun story and, after immersing yourself in this well made, and well remastered set (the new mixes sound sublime and are really sympathetic to the original album) you will be too.

(As a note for those of you who aren’t into 5.1, there is a standard edition available as well, shiny and remastered for your pleasure.)

Released 8th June 2018

Buy the album from Burning Shed here

Band pictures by Pennie Smith.