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Giant Flying Turtles, Waltz To The World, 2017

giant flying turtles - waltz to the worldAnother new band whose album has been making many rounds in my CD-player the last weeks. The funny thing is, looking at the band name, the album title or the album art, will probably not give you a clue as to what to expect. Well, here’s where I come in I guess ๐Ÿ™‚

The Giant Flying Turtles are a 4 piece band consisting of Calvin Bennet on vocals, upright and electric bass, acoustic guitars and cello, Johnny Young on vocals, piano, keyboards and rhythm guitar, Jim Toscano on drums, percussion and whistle and TJ Jordan on guitar and vocals. There are also some guest on banjo and violin.
Looking at that it seems the guys are able to add a lot of colour. And that would be the needle on the head. This album is filled with songs that cover a broad spectrum of genres. Think everything between Rockabilly, Prog rock, Alternative, Americana, Blues, Swing, Bluegrass and Folk. And while some might be put off by that, those would be missing out!
Because whatever is the root of a song, these guys are able to convince. The songs have great spirit and energy. And I for one admire a band with the balls to just go out and do what they like. Especially when served so expertly. Of course for me personally the more rocking tracks (check One Of A Kind for instance) are closest to my taste, but I have found every track to be enjoyable and just very well done.

I think a lot of people could fall in love with this, so please have a listen!

Website

Guy Paul Thibault, It’s About Time, 2017

guy paul thibault - its about timeFor reasons not disclosed in the press sheet, Guy Paul Thibault has been absent of releasing new music for 17 years. Back in the day he released 5 successful albums, so that makes It’s About Time (duh!) #6. The 10 songs are written, recorded and performed by Thibault, with guest appearances from Shawn Cherry (drums) and David Bradshaw (violin and mandolin).

Opener Here She Comes is a contemporary folk song. Great acoustic guitar and a light footed feel that is easy to catch on to. Misdemeanor is a catchy pop rock tune that will please both the casual listener as well as, well people like me :). Songs like Hills, Tallest Man On Earth, Stay (For Riley) or Saturday Night show a mature writer at work, able to add depth to his songs. And songs like We Just Don’t Care or Saving Grace just plain rock. And then there is still a ballad and a singer/songwriter track. So yes diverse, but all held together by the confident delivery of the man’s voice.

Despite not being familiar with older work, I think that Guy Paul qualifies as an experienced musician who delivers well crafted songs that will appeal to many music lovers. So personally I hope that the next set of songs will not take another 17 years to surface.

Website

B.D. Gottfried, Through The Dog’s Eyes, 2017

bd gottfried - through the dogs eyesA couple of years have past since the previous album from B.D. Gottfried (vocals, drums, keyboards) landed on my desk. And that was quite an enjoyable affair. And now Through The Dog’s Eyes has been released. Even when you might not be familiar with the name, Gottfried is a seasoned pro who has been around. His writing style is probably best described as pop / rock combined with often witty lyrics. In fact, I guess production wise this album rocks a tad more than before. But that extra bite only adds to the charm.

And charm this has in spades. Every song owns the ability to nest itself in your brain for you to hum along to. And while that might make you think that the songs are predictable and simple, they are not. Every track has an edge to it. A break, a non standard bridge, you name it. But the combination of all the used elements is just working. At least for me they are. From the opening track Something You Weren’t, to the should be a hit Blame It On The Money, to the suspense of Frequencies. Any of the 10 tracks on offer brings something to the table.

So it is safe to say that this is another album that the world should hear. Fingers crossed it is listening…

Website

Dudley Taft, Summer Rain, 2017

dudley taft - summer rainWith a family tree heavily present in politics (senators, governors and even a president), becoming a guitar player is probably not the most obvious career choice. Yet Taft chose that path and never looked back. So after playing and touring with Trey Anastasio (Phish), Sweet Water and Second Coming, he is now releasing his fifth album under his own name. With influences ranging from ZZ-Top to The Cult to Jimi Hendrix.

And while I must confess I had never heard of the guy (sorry man), I must confess that if this album is anything to go by, we have been missing something here in Europe. Or at least I have. Because, even when it speaks of being dedicated to the blues, I have found this to be a pretty bad ass rocking album. And in my book that is a good thing!
So expect the songs to rock and rock with power. Yes, extended solos all over the place, but nothing of what I would consider typical blues. Even if that could be contributed to me never listening to pure blues albums. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is 11 songs and over 52 minutes and authentic music, delivered with passion. Very melodic, varied and energetic. No dull slow 12 bar blues that lasts way too long in sight! (Not that there is anything wrong with that if you like it, it’s just not my cup of tea)

A very convincing and pleasant acquaintance, let it rain!

Website

Our Ceasing Voice, Free Like Tonight, 2017

our ceasing voice - free like tonightAnyone remember the Crash Test Dummies? Or maybe Dutch band The Pilgrims? Well, yes or no does not really matter, for now we have Our Ceasing Voice to deliver low dark raspy vocals! And with that also comes a slight change of direction for the Austrian trio. From ambient post rock, to more focused and catchy rock with pop sensibilities.

And the result surely is something to be proud of. From opening track The Arsonist to closer Countings, I find myself getting enchanted. Not only with the vocal delivery of Dominik Dรถrfler mind you. Also the guitars and synths from Sebastian Obermeir and the drumming from Markus Rappold contribute to an intense and atmospheric album.
Okay, the rock part may be subtle, but it is there. Yet in a way I think the band just wants to create dramatic and pure music, regardless of genre tags. And for me they have delivered in spades. Their vocals will always be a focal point, as there are very few singers who deliver them this way. But even such rather unique vocals need a canvas to shine on.

Hats off to the guys, this is a very good album that keeps you interested play after play. In a time where music seems to become bland and predictable, bands like this are needed to keep the flame burning!

Website

Ten, Gothica, 2017

ten - gothicaEver since the first release X in 1996, we have been following the band Ten. I say we, because in this case even my better half is quite fond of the band! And despite numerous changes of personnel over the years, the band has always been about the songs, storytelling and dark voice of Gary Hughes. And of course Gothica is no exception. Anyone familiar with the band will recognise the identity in an instant.

And no, in this case that is not a bad thing! Because the sound may have a certain ring to it, it is the voice of Hughes that takes care of the familiarity. And his knack for writing pompous songs with enough twists and turns to surprise even the most avid fan, but always with a great chorus and enough hooks to catch your attention.

Being a prog lover myself, I love the fact that Ten boldly play 8 minute songs if need be. And manage to do it with panache and energy. The storytelling of Hughes has always been great and this time we get to hear about Jekyll and Hyde, La Luna Dra-Cu-La, The Grail, time Travellers, and so on. The 7 man band all shine. They can rock, they can play fiery solos, and they can bring it all down and get you on the tip of your toes with a piece of piano and vocal.

Even when not all albums of the past are of the same calibre throughout, Ten rarely disappoint, and this one is very consistent and just amongst the best of them.

Website

Ghostly Beard, Infinite, 2017

ghostly beard - infiniteSometimes it is hard to fathom why some releases are independent. Except when it is by choice of course. Anyway, after some 15 years away from music, the entity that is Ghostly Beard (the handle one man band Patrick Talbot chose to release his music under) is treating us with this EP, called Infinity.

I have been listening to this quite a lot over the past week or so and I must say I am totally impressed with what is on offer. The 5 songs in almost 25 minutes of music span a wide array of rock, but every song has multiple reasons to fall in love with them. Opener Close Your Eyes will surely appeal to people who are very fond of Pink Floyd. Including a blistering guitar solo. But also because the feel and mood of the song is just very enchanting. Frozen In Time is carried by some stunning bass playing (sounds fretless) as well as more exquisite and moody guitar work. Let alone the synths and flageolet like sounds throughout it. And good melodies of course. No Return is another moody piece that grabs you and refuses to let go. No need to discuss the last 2 songs, they are equal to the others.

Ghostly Beard proves that there are no limits when it comes to quality in music. Every song hits home, and hits home hard. Essential stuff if you ask me!

Website

Moma, A Permanent State Of Transition, 2017

moma - a permanent state of transitionMoma are an Italian band and A Permanent State Of Transition is their second release.ย  And despite their singer making them sound a bit like Belgium rock / prog band Machiavel (which was an Italian of course ๐Ÿ™‚ ) their music is probably best described as (classic) rock. And while the songs are sung in English, the booklet is mainly in Italian so was hard for me to understand.

So let’s talk music! Operating as a drums, bass, guitar and vocal unit, focus is on songs and melody. I really like the guitar playing from Maurizio Marsiani by the way. Often deceivingly simple, but the little bits here and there tell you the guy knows what he is doing. Another smart move is that here and there they added additional parts. Mostly from guitar, but also piano. That created extras that work really well in the overall sound of the album. Singer Marcello Valenti has a bit of an accent, but it did not disturb me much. To round off, bass and keyboards are by Alessandro Bozza and Andrea Rossi plays the drums.

All in all it will not be considered a groundbreaking album. But what they do they do well and the album is easy to enjoy and just done with taste and class. So give it a try!

Website

MKB Ultra, Self Titled, 2017

mkb ultraSomething life moves in mysterious ways. Like when Mia Katherine Boyle set out to record her third solo album and it ended up becoming this new band, MKB Ultra. With the name a combination of her initials and the government mind-control experiments. The sessions resulted in this debut, with 10 songs and a playing time exceeding 43 minutes.

The result is a diverse album, firmly rooted in rock with a sometimes psychedelic nature and founded on groove and melody. On the first runs through the CD, the longer songs Black Ship, Strange Attractors and especially Forever Now impressed me the most. Somehow these songs grabbed me immediately. But repeated play saw the others slowly reveal their beauty too.
For the most part I reckon the difference is caused by the singing. The double female vocals seem to need a bit of listening adjustment. Yet after some time I really connected to the songs and loved them. I am always bad at referencing, but Jefferson Airplane might be a fit. So it is part rock, part blues, part psychedelica. But the most important thing is that it is a grower. And as you know all good albums are.

So if you are in for that sound of the Seventies and don’t mind a few turns left or right, you know what to do!

Website

Todd Rundgren, White Knight, 2017

todd rundgren - white knightThe career of Todd Rundgren spans generations and genres, so this iconic songwriter, artist, producer and innovator probably has a rolodex with a lot of names… And he used quite a few of these on this, his newest album. To drop a few: Trent Reznor, Donald Fagen, Joe Walsh, Daryl Hall, Joe Satriani and Robyn are among the guest on White Knight. And those names also give a clue as to how diverse this album is.

Now diversity is often a good thing, at least in my book, and in this case I am bound to listen to styles I would normally not take the time for. Knowing Rundgren’s work, it is not always instant, so I try to keep and open mind and listen without prejudice. Even to raps and stuff like that. And this album requires a lot of willingness to listen properly. After all, you get to hear hip-hopped funk, synth rock, ballads and power pop. All in one go.
It is probably unavoidable that this will turn some people off. But I don’t think Rundgren for one second will reconsider his choices. This is the what he wants to say and he will say it no matter what. Something I admire, but that won’t come as a surprise either.

So, after a couple of spins, what did I think? To me this is a Rundgren record, period. Clever songs, diverse arrangements, and all done in a focused and mature matter. Of course some songs speak more easy to me than others. But I am also certain that over time, all will sink in and share an equal love.

Not sure this will gain him new fans, but those into his amazing body of work do not need to hesitate. And before I forget; I already love his stab at the current political climate with Tin Foil Hat ๐Ÿ˜‰

Website

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