Tusmorke, Osloborgerlig Tusmorke, 2018

tusmorke - osloborgerlig tusmorkeApparently the Norwegians of folk/ psych/ rock band Tusmorke are working so hard, they can manage to release 3 albums in 12 months. Yet in reality this is not a regular studio album, but more or less a collection of demos and outtakes.

And truth be told, that is something that is noticeable a bit throughout the album. Some (vocal) parts are clearly not quite up to par.
Not that is necessarily a bad thing, especially not for their fanbase. Because their songwriting talent still shines through on this collection of songs. And they did give the subtitle some thought “Vardoger og utburder”. It seems vardoger is a kind of premonition, a feeling of knowing what will happen. And utborder are children carried out to the woods after birth. After which their cries haunt the night…

Anyway, despite their continued use of their native language, their music is surely enjoyable for people who like old Jethro Tull, King Crimson and the like. So expect instrumental passages, flute, hammond, and lots of dynamics.

Overall I liked this a whole lot more than their previous one.

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Oak, False Memory Archive, 2018

oak-false-memory-archiveI know some people think rock is dead. Or that the only good progressive rock music was released in the Seventies. Well I don’t think either of the 2 opinions are true, and releases like Oak’s False Memory Archive prove the point. At least for me.

Yes, the Norwegians of Oak are a progressive band of sorts. But of the non technical kind. Instead they choose to add electronica to their very melodic and melancholic music.  The result is breathtaking.
With emphasis on their spine tingling songs they have managed to deliver a genre crossing, and thus truly progressive, album. And deliver that with a sound that is clearly their own.
Every one of the 9 songs on the CD impresses me. Great hooks, based on keyboards and vocal melodies, and with the guitar adding colour instead of body. And underneath it grooves its way into your system. And just listen how the already awesome lead vocals are supported by clever harmony vocals!

There is no need to write a long piece about this album. This is one you have to check for yourself. Whether you are a dedicated music fan, or a more casual listener, this is a must hear. And since the quality of the songs is high throughout, you can just hit play. Yet if you do want to hear the album’s pinnacle, try the title track. Or Lost Causes. Or…

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Overhead, Haydenspark, 2018

overhead - haydensparkWow, over 6 years have passed already since I wrote about the magnificent Of Sun And Moon album from Finnish band Overhead. And now they return with album 5, Haydenspark.
If you are not yet familiar with the band (shame on you 🙂 ) they play an interesting and quite addictive combination of heavy rock with many progressive elements. Always melodic (the singing actually reminds me of Saigon Kick) and diverse in arrangement, as they do not shy away from more subtle atmospheres.

One of the many good things about their songs is that they always deliver great hooks. Their themes and melodies bring their music close. At least for me, when I play this, I have to listen with full attention.
So from opener Animation For The Poor Man to closer Gone Too Far, the guys again deliver an album that delivers on all accounts. Never a dull moment, some fantastic display of musicianship in the instrumental parts, and still it will always be about the song, and not about the technical abilities they have in abundance.

If this does not cement their place in progrock history, then I don’t know what will. Just have a listen to the title track and hear their homage to many greats from the scene like Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Rush, all in a song of their own. This band deserve to be big and sell out stadiums all across the world. Yes they are that good. Everyone that calls himself a progrock fan ought to own this. Simple as that.

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Pymlico, Nightscape, 2018

pymlico-nightscapeOriginally a project that served as an musical outlet for Norwegian drummer and multi-instrumentalist Arild Broter (with a / through the “o”), Pymlico have since evolved into a 7 piece band and with Nightscape have released the fifth album. You can find these (and the live EP) also on these pages, with the exception of debut Inspirations (2011)

The most accurate description of the music I have read so far is instrumental progressive rock, mixed with fusion and with added cinematic textures. Another way of describing it is tasty, smooth, melodic and sophisticated.

That is not saying this is middle of the road typed stuff. They are too good musicians to play it safe all the time. Yes, I would not mind a little more energy here or there, but overall this is another damn fine listening experience with songs that stick. So you will again not miss vocals at all. And as usual this is an album that grows with every play. They know how to arrange their songs to the extent that you keep discovering.

But since the band have just released a new video of the track Tofana 10AM, here you have a simple way of finding out how you like what they do. I know I will enjoy to keep listening !

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Stimuli, They Are We, 2018

stimuli - they are weThis album has been spinning quite a few times the last couple of weeks. And it just keeps intriguing me! Let’s first introduce the band members; Tai Hake does bass and theremin, Jimmy Tomahawk sings and plays guitars and Cole Andrews handles drums. The album is self produced and released and since California is mentioned on the cover, I guess that is where they are from. They also have Thayne “Chief Runnamukka” Hake guesting on Native American flute.

The music on this album could be described as a mix of Rush, Tool and Alice In Chains. The drumming in the songs is inventive with a combination of groove and unexpected fills and breaks. The vocals are the most grunge oriented I think. Combine that with expressive guitar and bass and you have that combination that keeps me locked in while listening.
What also helps is that the 11 songs on offer are all about 4 to 5 minutes. So they are focused and varied.

And yet somehow I struggle to pinpoint why I like it so much. But after all that does not really matter. Fact is I thoroughly enjoy hearing it and never mind hitting replay.

So if the bands mentioned are right up your alley, this is surely worth tracking down!

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Dialeto, Live With David Cross, 2018

dialeto - live with david crossBrazilian band Dialeto teamed up with David Cross and recorded and released this set. Both the band as well as David Cross have been featured before so you might know that this is a kind of avant garde / progressive rock / fusion album. And live or not, no doubt there will be improvisations…

The album opens with 3 Roumanian Folk Dances, numbers 3, 2 and 4 to be precise. Since these are kept fairly short, I think (not knowing them) they stick pretty close to the originals. Folk Dances usually have a leading melody, and these are no exception. Next are 3 Mikrokosmos tracks, 149, 113 and 78. Here the subtitles refer to Bulgaria, so I suppose this are more original folk tracks, adapted. And of course, being from the East, the rhythms are often more complex than you might expect. Also the improvisations seem to be flowing more.

During playback of the album, I am sometimes reminded of the soundscapes King Crimson is known for. Like the opening of An Evening In The Village. But then we are back to more faster playing. Exiles is another piece that moves around from soft to wild and frantic.
And talking of KC, the album closes with 2 of their tracks, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic part 2 and Starless. And even when I miss John Wetton’s voice (it is still sung right), this will always be a song that hits home.

So maybe not for everybody, there is a lot to enjoy here for the right people.

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Upcoming Rock Company releases

Claudio Delgift, also known as “C,” is a singer and guitarist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. So far he has released 7 solo albums, two singles, and an EP, as well as participated in many more musical ventures. His large following on social media is due to his frequent postings of his amazing work. Often live! Since so far none of his releases had been available on CD, Rock Company contacted Claudio to see if a cooperation would work out. And it did! So here we proudly present a remastered version of 12 tracks from his 7 albums so far. We think it is a stunning testament of a truly gifted musician.

CD pre-order available on bandcamp and Rock Company and album release is December 28.

Slug Comparison is the solo project of Fen vocalist/guitarist Doug Harrison. Known for blending darkness and light, acoustic and electric, Harrison first deepened his exploration of these elements with a 2014 solo album that felt like a Part II to Fen’s acclaimed album Trails Out Of Gloom.
In 2017, Harrison started recording and releasing EP’s. After four of them—IIa, b, c and d—Rock Company got in touch and convinced him to bundle these EP’s, add a few extra tracks and release them as the successor to his solo debut.

So here is Slug Comparison’s second album: When You Were Living Here. Album release is January 16-2019 and pre order starts January 1 on iTunes, Bandcamp and Rock Company.

The Kentish Spires, The Last Harvest, 2018

kentish spires - the last harvestWhile this is the first release of The Kentish Spires, the musicians involved certainly are not new to the scene. Singer Lucie (also violin) has a past in folk and metal, Danny Chang (producer, guitars, keys and backing vocals) was a pro musician at 15 and Paul Hornsby (reeds and keys) is a session player. Rik Loveridge (keys and guitar) composes for the advertising industry and Phil Warren (bass) played for instance for Mike Stock.

The idea behind the album is a nod to the Canterbury scene, and even the recording equipment used for the album contributes to that. In all honesty it took me a while to get used to the sound. It is clear, but somehow sounds old and a bit dry. Since that is deliberate, I’d say mission accomplished.

The 7 songs on the album range from 3 to 13 minutes. And as you can deduct from the instruments mentioned above, the music could be described as early King Crimson and Jethro Tull mixed with jazzy interludes. Of course because of the reed instruments. The voice of Lucie is powerful and distinct. The band do know how to rock out a bit too.
The result is an album that keeps growing on you. There is a lot happening so you will have to invest time into getting to know the music.

Over time I have learned that this type of album turns out to be very rewarding, something you can revisit from time to time and still find new discoveries. Well done!

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Light Freedom Revival, Truthonomy, 2018

light freedom revival - truthonomyBuilt around the vocals and songs of John Vehadija, and accompanied by a wealth of ace musicians, here is the as yet unknown to me, Light Freedom Revival. And of course you want to hear names, so what about Oliver Wakeman on keyboards, Eric Gillette on guitars or Billy Sherwood on bass and drums? Rounding out the band are Jamie Glaser on acoustic guitars and Marisa Frantz on harmony vocals.

The result however, is not your typical run of the mill big name project. It seems Vehadija had a certain vision and this was carried out to the tee. The result is an album that sees all songs clock at least 5+ minutes, has an epic of 16 minutes, and still sounds not as you would expect.
The reason I feel, are that there are a lot of words in every song, so there is no escaping the (fairly high pitched) vocals. Vehadija is also almost always accompanied by Frantz. Also Gillette’s guitars are rarely heavy.
The outcome? An almost lightweight sounding album, with tons of melodies.

Is it a bad thing? Think that depends on taste. I would have loved if this had been packing more punch, but I cannot deny that it listens away pretty easy and is overall still a good listen. So melody before riffs and solos here. Listen to it yourself to make up your mind.

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The Fierce And The Dead, The Euphoric, 2018

the fierce and the dead - the euphoricFinally the time has come to discuss the new The Fierce And The Dead (TFATD) album The Euphoric with you. In their ranks Matt Stevens (guitar) who has released a bunch of solo albums that you might want to check out too.

To my knowledge TFATD are a quartet consisting of drums, bass and 2 guitars. Those guitars often enhance their sound with (synthesised) effects, thus giving a nod to King Crimson. Overall I guess their sound combines rock, prog and a tad of post hard-core. But where the soundscapes from KC sometimes tend to linger on a bit, TFATD make sure they keep pumping loads of energy into their songs. And they combine that energy with hooks  and melodies and musicians able to infuse dark and light into their compositions.

The result is, quite frankly, anything but your typical instrumental album. I never once miss the vocals on this album because of the way the songs are arranged. Very detailed, very varied and with room for everyone to shine. Thus making sure you never lose your connection with it.  You keep wondering where they will go next, but because of themes returning, they give you enough anchor points to not loose your way.

Yup, easy one of the most exciting albums in the genre this year. If you haven’t already, make sure you give it a couple of spins.

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