Nili Brosh, Spectrum, 2019

nili brosh - spectrumIf ever there was a title that fits the contents, then it must be this one. This is an album that showcases the many influences and genres  Nili is capable of writing and performing, making it a real broad spectrum of songs.

But first a step back. Nili Brosh has shared the stage with many bands and guitarists and released this, her third solo album, late 2019. Openers Cartagena and Andalusian Fantasy rely very much on nylon stringed guitars and therefore have a very Spanish folk feel. Circus Wedding and Rachel in Paris take you from polka to chanson before arriving in more rock territory with Solace. And despite whether you like tracks like that, every single one is done with style and finesse.

Still, I cannot deny that the moment the electric guitar is plugged in, my blood really got pumping and I was listening with more interest. Co producer Alex Argento made sure the keyboards added lots of texture to the often fabulous fretwork from Nili. Who not only shreds, but is also more than capable of playing very melodic phrases, creating melodies you will find yourself whistling for days.

Going from polka to progressive metal is asking a lot from your audience. But for me, taking risks like that should be applauded. Phenomenal album!

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Rome, The Dublin Session, 2019

rome - the dublin sessionBack in the player is Jerome Reuter, a.k.a. Rome. With an album he recorded in ehhh Dublin with friends and local talents. If you have read my previous review of Rome, you will know that last time he impressed me with that album.

As it is always tempting to compare, I reckon I should view this for what it is; an album made with friends, focussing on lots of traditional instruments like banjo, bouzouki and uilleann pipes. And still there is that mighty voice and the acoustic guitar. And songs that sit very comfortable in a folk setting. So they are never overly complex, but thrive on melody and energy.
But the best thing for me, having never really been a fan of folk music, is that Rome manages to trancends that genre and again deliver something I enjoy listening to.  Bravo!

Besides the album, I also received the Hinter Den Mauern Der Stadt (Behind the walls of the City) single. Not sure where the 2 tracks are from, but by themselves they are also worth a listen, even when I found the lead track to be a bit repetitive.

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Sirkis Bialas IQ, Our New Earth, 2019

sirkis bialas iq - our new earthSecond album from Asaf Sirkis (drums) and Sylwia Bialas (vocals and waterphone) with Frank Harrison on keyboards and Kevin Glasgow on bass. Together they deliver 11 tracks on 2 discs (38 and 47 minutes)

I guess on the surface this is going to be labelled as vocal jazz, but close listening reveals this goes beyond that. Let’s have a look at Land Of Oblivion which is very dreamlike, with soundscapes and a voice that is  used as an instrument, rather than taking a leading role. Beautiful. And while on other albums wordless singing can really get on my nerves, in for example Letter to A. it is done just right.
Other influences include modern classical music, folk, progrock and world music.

While the result will not be to everyone’s liking perhaps, there is no denying a lot of heart and soul is put into the songs. This transcends the typical Jazz idiom for me and truly reaches out on an emotional level to anyone willing to listen.

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Tusmorke, Leker For Barn, Ritualer For Volksne, 2019

tusmorke - leker for barnThis latest Tusmorke album is based on 2 children musicals; The Bridge To The Other Side and The Root Of All Evil. Both of which partly consist of traditional Norwegian children songs.

I’ll spare you the press blurb, as I did not understand much of it. Like I do not understand anything that is sung since all is in Norwegian. The fact that the melodies are typical for children’s music, and children are often singing along with the musicians lead me to the conclusion that this is for fans only. And for Norwegian children probably.

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Ricky Diamond, Already Dead, 2019

ricky diamond - already deadIf you mix a part of Mötörhead with a part of Metallica in a bowl of stoner metal and throw in a bit of punk attitude, chances are you end up with Spanish trio Ricky Diamond. (Well actually the drummer is a Dane.)

After their debut EP Morphine Lips, they took the time to record their first full length and this is the result.
And while I am not really an expert on things stoner, what I can say that I am pretty sure these guys are a kick in the teeth. Riff Heavy a la Sabbath, their raw energy is unleashed in the 10 songs on the CD.
And you really cannot go wrong with songs like W.T.O.I.L., Doglike Devotion or Bullet In Your Soul. Chock full of attitude, the band growls its way into your ears.

Not a dull moment in sight, so damn convincing if you ask me!

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Les Penning with Robert Reed, Return To Penrhos, 2019

LES-PENNING-WITH-ROBERT-REED-RETURN-TO-PENRHOSOh my, time for something completely different… Les Penning is known for his instrumental contributions to the work of one Mike Oldfield. And Robert Reed you might know from Magenta and more.

On this album you get guitar work that sounds eerily close to Oldfield. There are lots of old and familiar melodies running thoughout the album, often giving it a folk or classical feel. Especially when instruments like the flute play a big part in the sound.What more to tell? The music is melodic, with a nice dynamic range, even when it never rocks hard.

So I guess that people who love the music of Oldfield, the Excalibur saga, or just folk music, will enjoy this.

The special edition also holds a DVD with promo videos and a live set.

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Hepcat Dilemma, Art Imitates Life, 2019

hepcat dilemma - art imitates lifeTo the people that are into progressive music, especially when it borders on avant garde, and who miss hearing new ideas coming from Frank Zappa; fear not, because now there is this band whose music is as strange as their name: Hepcat Dilemma!

Built around the songs of Bob Loiselle (guitars and piano),  this trio (with Chris Colpo on bass and vocals and E. Hood on drums) prove they are not afraid to confuse you anyway they can. With songs like The Chauffeur Will Have The Last Word, Night Of The Spiders, Persian Monkey Treatment or What Will Her Kiss Mean Tomorrow? they keep firing idea after thought after break at their listener. All glued together in instrumental unison and with the machismo of scene veterans who play just for the fun of it and do not really think much about how they will be received/ perceived.

In a time where too many acts sound alike, these cats sure are a breath of fresh air. Probably not everybody’s cup of tea, but if you like a challenge, this sure is a collection worth diving into. Kudos gentlemen!

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Elaine Samuels & Kindred Spirit Band, Elemental, 2019

elaine samuels - elementalIn all honesty, for me this is a tricky one. Despite several spins, I am still unsure if I like what is going on on this album.

But let me take a few steps back first. I guess musically speaking, the progressive folk rock tag is fairly correct, There are flutes and violin, the music is dynamic and diverse and the lyrics are “percesptive and intriguing” to quote the press sheet.

But the problem for me lies in the fact that I think the flutes and violin often come too much to the forefront in the mix. And for me Elaine sings a bit too clinical. Somehow she sounds more focused on singing in tune than on singing with emotion. And for me that kind of kills the joy of listening. It might be just me though!

So if you are into female singers and like folk mixed with prog, you’d better give it a few spins yourself…

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The Needs, You Need The Needs, 2019

the needs frontDon’t know how this ended up on my desk, but currently making rounds in my CD player is this album “You Need The Needs” from The Needs (duh).

There are 12 titles on the disk. And when I tell you the total playing time is still below 30 minutes, I guess you agree that must mean either some short interludes, or it is a punk album.

Well, both are true to some extent. There are indeed 2 short ditties, and there are several songs bursting of punk energy. But it is a melodic kind of punk, coupled with a healthy dose of powerpop. The result is a mix that is fairly easy on the ears and still has enough vibrancy to get you moving. And Hey Wake Up should be a hit if you want my 2 cents…

Fans of bands from the likes of The Offspring to Cheap Trick, chances are you will like this! I know I do, and I want more 🙂

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RPWL, Live From Outer Space, 2019

rpwl - live from outer spaceAfter their 10th album Tales From Outer Space, RPWL made the rounds in Europe, often playing sold out venues but always to enthousiastic crowds.
So no wonder they decided to record their seventh live album (!). Released on double CD, vinyl as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, this set of course features their sci-fi inspired Tales tracks, as well as songs from their extensive back catalogue.

CD 1 holds 8 tracks, and CD 2 delivers 6 more. And with this experienced band, you know you get quality. Nice touch is these versions are sometimes extended with on the spot jams.

Not sure if it will bring them new fans, but I sure do not mind listening to this band!

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