The Wallet Emptier’s ‘Music You Should Have A Listen To’ Round-Up Pt3.

Welcome top the third outing for The Wallet Emptier’s Round Up and the music I think you should be listening to this time is from Band of Rain, Lesoir, TNNE (The No Name Experience), Novatia, Starsabout and Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards

I have also added a link to buy the album, if you are so inclined and if I can find one!

Band of Rain – The Dust of Stars

There’s some power behind this album, it may be supposedly ‘haunting, ambient and largely instrumental rock music’ but Band of Rain imbue it with a hard-edged soul epitomised by long-term band leader Chris Gill’s dynamic and strident guitar style. His partner in crime Micha Steinbacher adds the requisite haunting atmosphere and they deliver some pretty intense musical soundscapes.

Ria Parfitt adds her quirky vocals to the title track and the in-your-face Toys (where Chris really lets loose with the six string) and prog stalwart Gordo Bennett contributes a superb ethereal guitar solo to Ancient Electric, this album keeps delivering at every turn. Just check out the eclectic flute work on the ambient beauty of Indian Summer and be mesmerised by the lush musical tapestry that Band of Rain have woven.

Rating – 78/100

Favourite Track – The wistful wonder of Ancient Electric.

Released 5th September 2017 – Buy this album from cdbaby

Lesoir – Latitude

Dutch band Lesoir have lofty ambitions, they want to aim for the bigger picture and deliver something more than your average art-rock album. ‘Latitude’ delivers a fragile beauty, music that inspires and transcends, an album full of soaring soundscapes and one that majors on subtlety rather than blunt rage.

Maartje Meesen’s voice is emotive and passionate, just check out opening track Modern Goddess, to see what I mean. To quote the PR:

‘Lesoir fuse the beauty of melancholy with a rugged maliciousness of an unforgiving wasteland. The Result is music that is as impressive as it is touching.’

I see similarities with German art-rock pioneers Frequency Drift, a cinematic quality to the music that gives the music an expansive feel and the recruitment of Bruce Soord as co-producer seems to have been a masterstroke and gives the music a three-dimensional atmosphere.

Rating – 75/100

Favourite Track – The magical and mysterious In Their Eyes.

Released 17th November 2017 – Buy this album from

TNNE – Wonderland

Neo-prog from Luxembourg? No, I didn’t know there was such a thing either but here I am listening to TNNE’s 2017 release ‘Wonderland’ and a lovely thing it is too. Any album that can call on Chilean guitar legend Claudio Cordero of Cast fame has a lot going for it before even the first note is played. I then hear the great sax playing on opener My Childish Mind and I’m in for the ride.

There’s something a bit extra to this release too though, it’s not Neo-prog by numbers, there is more warmth and emotion, perhaps a product of Patrick Keifer’s sublime vocals, and sheer joy in the way the musicians deliver the powerful rhythms and playful keyboard melodies. Add in Claudio’s famed guitar solos and you have a collection of songs that connect and involve you from the start to the end.

Rating – 78/100

Favourite Track – The funky, energetic opening track My Childish Mind.

Released 26th September 2017 – Buy the album from Progressive Promotion Records here

Novatia – Flow

Novatia’s third E.P. ‘Flow’ is an artfully constructed mix of pop, rock, jazz and funk, along with more than a liberal dose of progressive rock. As the title would suggest, the band have created an album that flows from the first track to the last, each song complimenting the others. This was a deliberate part of the songwriting process where the intention was to create five songs that are both musically and lyrically connected by one theme.

Stylish guitars and a thumping bass are the base on which these tracks are built on and the impressive vocals add a polished sheen to the finished product. That doesn’t mean that they are lacking in emotion though, there’s a piece of each of the band in every track, they come from the heart and soul and that is evident as you listen and partake on this involving, flowing journey.

Rating – 74/100

Favourite Track – The acoustic jazz infused delight of Before Autumn Comes.

Released 5th November 2017 – Buy the album from bandcamp here

Starsabout – Halflights

This is the second outing for Poland’s Starsabout on The Wallet Emptier’s Round Up and, just to confuse the issue, ‘Halflights’ precedes ‘Longing For Home’ which I covered recently. ‘Halflights’ has a much starker feel, the opening track having a feel of early Simple Minds to it. The vocals have a fragility to them and the sparse soundscapes really resonate.

Haunting melodies and an absence of frippery give a genuine feel to the music with its unadorned grace. It’s not particularly cheerful though but it does what it sets out to do extremely well being different in character to the current album. In fact, if you’d only listened to ‘Longing For Home’ you would pigeonhole them squarely in the Riverside bracket, this earlier release shows they have a darker and more personal side to their music and I would love to hear a hybrid of the two styles on their next album.

Rating – 70/100

Favourite Track – The haunting simplicity and bared soul of Bluebird.

Released 6th April 2016 – Order the album from bandcamp here

Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards – California Calling

I never knew I was a fan of roots music until late last year when I got talking to Bloody Great PR main man Loudon Temple and he sent me quite a few CDs to get me going. I’m having some kind of second wind and you’ll see a lot over the next few articles starting with the wonderful Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards.

It’s roots and folk music but not as you’d know it as there are definitine touches of 70’s California around the fringes, think Mamas & Papas, Fleetwood Mac and the ilk and the delightful harmonised vocals brings to mind Wilson Phillips debut release from 1990, especially on the title track. The wonderful, fiddle, cello and bass playing of her fellow Dance Cards imbues this wistful release with a boldness and elegance that is apparent in every perfectly placed note.

These clever and inventive musicians really push the boundaries of what you’d normally consider to be folk music, check out the hip hop pulses of single Pace Myself, maybe not a reinvention of the whole scene but certainly something that refreshes and reinvigorates.

Rating – 82/100

Favourite Track – The breath of fresh air that is California Calling.

Released 6th October 2017 – Order the album from here



The Wallet Emptier’s ‘Music You Should Have A Listen To’ Round-Up Pt1.

Welcome to yet another new feature here at Progradar. You will get a round-up of albums that have been sent to us at the music blog that we think you should check out but ones that, for many reasons, we haven’t been able to review.

I’m starting you off with albums from Walfad, Kilbey Kennedy, Schizofrantik, Black Noodle Project, Starsabout and Atlantropa Project

Walfad – Momentum

Walfad is a young Polish band that transcends the progressive rock genre. Their third album ‘Momentum’ is an interesting mix of rock, blues and even a touch of soul, all mixed together with more than a hint of prog. The melodies are full of passion and youthful energy, and the insightful  and poetic lyrics invite the listener to think more and get personally involved with the music.

In recent years they have shared the stage with leading homegrown bands playing ambitious rock and also with Procol Harum, Marillion and Ray Wilson, rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with on the live Polish music scene.

Rating – 80/100

Favourite Track – Our Gods, Your Gods.

Released 31st October 2016

Kilbey Kennedy – Glow and Fade

Are you a fan of dream-like, Pink Floyd inspired music that transcends day to day life? If so, the fifth album from Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy is definitely for you. An immersive and ethereal listening experience that nevertheless has something of a darkside, ‘Glow and Fade’ is an enthralling listening experience.

With tracks that verge from the thoughtful to the intensely serious and a wonderful vocal appearance from Selena Cross on certain songs, this release rewards repeated listens and is a deeply engaging and quite highbrow musical venture.

Rating – 77/100

Favourite Track – The sixteen minute epic The Game Never Changes.

Released 24th November 2017

Schizofrantik – Ripping Heartaches

Put a  King Crimson vinyl album on at 45rpm instead of 33 and then bleed in some Frank Zappa and you might have some inkling of what this actually quite mad album from Germany’s Schizofrantik sounds like. Some of the music is exquisite and some will make your ears bleed but one thing it never is is boring.

After 30 years on stage mastermind (and vivid guitarist) Martin Mayrhofer’s compositions have reached a degree of precision that is as fascinating as it is uncompromising. Ambitious, experimental and just way out there, ‘Ripping Heartaches’ is not an album for the faint-hearted but take the time to immerse yourself and you will be richly rewarded.

Rating – 73/100

Favourite Track – The absolutely bonkers Satan And Death Seperated By Sin.

Released 27th October 2017

The Black Noodle Project – Divided We Fall

In early December 2017 France’s The Black Noodle Project returned with a deliciously dark and melancholic collection of songs that further their already impressive reputation. Originally a solo project of Jeremie Grima, he found a like minded spirit in Sebastien Bourdeix with whom he formed the ‘real’ band.

‘Divided We Fall’ is an emotional post-progressive journey full of melancholic melodies and powerful riffs where stark beauty combines with deeply pensive and sombre emotions to deliver a wistful and mournfully emotional listening experience.

Like 2013’s ‘Ghosts & Memories’, it is influenced by the movie soundtracks of such luminaries as John Carpenter, Ennio Morricone and Angelo Badalamenti and this adds a thoughtful and introspective feel.

Rating – 78/100

Favourite Track – The powerful, driving Absolom.

Released 4th December 2017

Starsabout – Longing For Home

Poland is becoming a hotbed for the nurturing of Neo-progressive rock and post-rock acts. There isn’t a week goes by without another submission for review of a band from the country that gave us the legendary Riverside. An alternative band with progressive and post-rock influences, Starsabout were formed in 2012 and, after having released an EP in 2014 and their first full-length album, ‘Halflights’, in 2016, late 2017 saw the release of ‘Longing For Home’.

An album containing tracks full of dreamlike, laid back vocals and shimmering, vibrant guitars, the band’s music is sincere and powerful while at the same time tender and sublime. Starsabout are perfectly capable of holding their own in today’s prog and artrock music scene and, despite their short-lived presence so far, they are mature and self-assured enough that we should see them going far.

Rating – 74/100

Favourite Track – The sublime Longing For Home.

Released 4th December 2017.

Atlantropa Project – s/t

The ambitious concept album can be hit or miss and the misses can often sink without a trace. It’s a risk because what is your passion may not necessarily be someone else’s.

Atlantropa Project is the sophisticated, creative outcome of a group of ambitious and experienced musicians to musically explore and honour a great, almost forgotten idea of humanity. German engineer Hermann Sörgel’s plan was to build a huge dam, dry the Mediterranean, obtain new land, unite Africa and Europe and create peace.

To be fair, his plan is no more difficult than the idea of this concept piece but this brilliantly creative group of like minded artists have just about pulled it off. It is a richly rewarding and immersive concept album with a dynamism rarely found these days. The songs have a creativeness and virtuosity that just about overcomes the bloated length of this release.

You cannot listen to this in any other way than in one sitting where the whole story and soundtrack comes together like those great adventure films that graced the silver screen, King Solomon’s Mines and the like, but, ultimately, for this listener, the ambition just outstrips the reality.

Rating – 70/100

Favourite Track – Consume it in one piece or it just won’t make sense at all!

Released 17th November 2017