Susan Clynes, Life Is, 2014

susan clynes - life isSo, just when you think you have figured the MoonJune Records label out, they surprise you with this release. Instead of another virtuoso on guitar, we now get a Belgian lady that sings and plays piano. On 5 tracks Susan is accompanied by cellist Simon Lenksi and on 2 by drummer Nico Chkifi and bass player Pierre Mottet. And what the thumbnail on the left hardly makes noticeable, the whole album is recorded live!

So is this singer songwriter material? Well, not quite I think, or at least not all. When 11 songs clock in at over an hour, you know you can expect more elaborate work. Which is not so strange when you know she has guested with The Wrong Object, and is a Conservatory graduate. Her piano work is playful and full of depth. Sometimes her vocals reminded me a bit of Kate Bush, with whom she probably shares a desire for artistic freedom and the capability to express herself very well on an emotional level. Other references are Tori Amos and Fiona Apple. The cello functions not only as an orchestral addition, but also sometimes adds an almost human voice to the music. Very original. A truly interesting mix of songs from a undoubtedly talented performer. And yes, sometimes a bit rough around the edges, but hey, it is recorded live! Recommended.

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Doris Brendel, Not Utopia, 2012

doris brendel - not utopiaFrom where I stand I hope many regular visitors of the site recognize the name Doris Brendel. Not so long ago I featured the new pretty funny video for one of the tracks from this album (Going Out), but also her previous album The Last Adventure as well as the classic The Violet Hour got some space. So yes, you can bet your a** I love her gruff and grainy vocals!

This time partnering with Lee Dunham (vocals, guitars, bass, producer, etc.) Doris came up with another 12 tracks who, as she describes it, are “her”. And without knowing her personally, me thinks that her is wonderful. An eclectic mix of rock, pop and more progressive tinged music, this album is another journey to musical depths. Full of soul, witty lyrics (I put my soul on Ebay, won´t you bid a little higher), dynamic arrangements and for sure one of the most beautiful tracks in a long time, the astounding Without Words (should you need a reason to buy this CD, this track is worth the price alone).

Yes variety is key and yes, probably some people will say it lacks identity. But to me, that is bull, every song on here deserves your undivided attention and is testament of a talent that, would there be any justice in the world, deserves to be bigger than Lady Gaga or who ever. So come on, head on over to your favourite retailer and get this baby. Shockingly awesome.

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Silent Lapse, Birthright, 2009

silent lapse - birthrightRecently I read a news item somewhere that these guys where offering their album for free. So I visited their website and asked for it.

I got it pretty quick, and recently started playing it. Before hand you always wonder with a stunt like this, will it be worth the while. And to cut a long story short, it is! Though this band may not have reached the top in the prog metal field, I think this is a quality release and any serious fan should get him or herself acquainted to this band. It is simply an offer you can´t refuse! I won´t elaborate on that as this is up for grabs. Figure it out yourself. I will just repeat that you won´t be disappointed… Support them!

Personal play tips: just play it already!

Website

Green Carnation, The Quiet Offspring, 2005

green carnation - the quiet offspringJust recently I discovered this band, and so far every new addition to my collection has proved a pleasant experience. So how will this one fare?

The album starts off with the title track, and already they take no prisoners. Very convincing delivery and great use of light and dark. The singer may not have the greatest reach, or be able to put a little rough edge on his voice, he still hits all the notes. And he´s supported by a lot of backing vocals without it all sounding too smooth.

I especially like the guitars and keyboard parts. Together they create a lot of dynamics, thus making this a fresh sounding album.  Hey, and a band that puts an organ to great use really can´t go wrong or ? 😉 The band is also not afraid to use subtle arrangements with piano and vocal. Of course a heavy guitar riff is never far away, after all this still is metal. Production wise they are not afraid to use more modern influences (processed drums / loops). And the best thing about that is they do it seemingly effortless. To conclude, give this a chance, I promise you won´t be disappointed!

Personal play tips: The Quiet Offspring, A Place For Me, The Everlasting Moment.

Website no longer active (ALAS!)

Days Between Stations, Same, 2007

Days Between StationsAnother instrumental album. But a whole other affair than my previous post… Tagged as classic prog, but I don´t think that term does this justice.

This I would like to describe as a mix of soundscapes, groove, fusion, and psychedelica. It sounds weird, but it is actually rather hypnotic. The way they change moods, in and between songs, without sounding forced, can only be the work of talent. Sure you hear references here and there (Pink Floyd anyone?) but I feel this is a unique record. At least in my collection. Even the very ugly cover I suspect has a deeper meaning. Not that I became aware of it, but when people create something so out of bounds, yet so addictive, they are likely to take the time to wrap it in something that only adds to their creation. At least I hope…

Hard to name play tips: I think you should listen to this a few times back and forth in order to get into the flow. And if you still don´t get into it, you are maybe just not ready for this. Not for everyday. But qualified to chill out to.

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