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April 2019 - Issue 135
Progressive Rock CD Reviews
Acidic Base - Purple Skies
Review by Gary Hill

I know there are those who will dispute whether this belongs under progressive rock or not. I'll freely admit that it's not rock music - not even close.

Aerostation - Aerostation
Review by Gary Hill

This new album is an intriguing release. I suppose the easiest title would be "space rock," but that's only so accurate.

Peter Banks's Harmony in Diversity - The Complete Recordings
Review by Gary Hill

You might be familiar with Peter Banks from his time in the early incarnation of Yes or perhaps from his work in Flash. This was an improvisational band that he played with in the early parts of the 21st Century.

Tim Blake - Lighthouse: An Anthology 1973-2012
Review by Gary Hill

This new anthology from Tim Blake is quite a nice release. You get three CDs of music, some of which is previously unreleased along with a DVD of a French TV special.

Dewa Budjana - Mahandini
Review by Gary Hill

Dewa Budjana is one of those artists you can count on for consistent quality. In terms of style of music, he's less consistent, but that's actually a good thing.

Jean-Sebastien Cote - Wilderness
Review by Gary Hill

Here at Music Street Journal we've previously reviewed some music from this artist in the past. In that case Jean-Sebastien Cote was one member of a group, Crashride.

David Cross and Andrew Booker - Ends Meeting
Review by Gary Hill

To many David Cross is probably best known for his tenure in King Crimson. The fact of the matter is, beyond that he's produced some pretty amazing and wide-reaching music.

Curved Air - The Curved Air Rarities Series Volume 3: The Second British Rock Meeting 1972
Review by Gary Hill

This live disc from Curved Air features some cool performances. There is an extended instrumental piece at the end.

Aaron English - Songs from Somewhere Else
Review by Gary Hill

I've put this under progressive rock, but it's not a tight fit. There are movements of this that definitely fit.

Focus - Focus 11
Review by Gary Hill

It's always good to hear a new album from Focus. This set is no exception.

Greenslade - Time and Tide (Remastered 2-CD Edition)
Review by Gary Hill

This new reissue of a 1975 release from Greenslade is recommended. This includes a remastered version of the main album.

HOIA - Scavenger
Review by Gary Hill

I am sure the prog purists will argue with this landing under progressive rock. I'm not sure they are entirely wrong.

Bob Holz - Silverthorne
Review by Gary Hill

I've reviewed Bob Holz in the past, and his music is consistently strong. We include him in progressive rock because that's where we usually put fusion.

Kinetic Element - The Face of Life
Review by Gary Hill

I've previously reviewed a couple discs from this act. This is their newest, and it continues their tradition of quality progressive rock set in a very traditional prog style.

Alice Phoebe Lou - Paper Castles
Review by Gary Hill

Let's get one thing out of the way immediately, this is not progressive rock in the traditional sense.

Nektar - Live in Bremen (vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill

This new three-LP set is a live recording of Roye Albrighton's final performance with Nektar.

New Nektar - Megalomania (vinyl)
Review by Gary Hill

This new album is intriguing. The band has two members who were in the final incarnation of Nektar before Roye Albrighton's death - Klaus Henatch (keyboards and vocals) and Tom Fry (bass and vocals).

O.R.k. - Ramagehead
Review by Gary Hill

This is a unique and quite intriguing album. It's likely to make my best of 2019 list.

Fernando Perdomo - Zebra Crossing
Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed another set from Fernando Perdomo. This one is a lot different than that one.

PFM - Premiata Forneria Marconi - Celebration: Live in Nottingham 1976
Review by Gary Hill

This double CD live album presents a classic concert from the 1976 incarnation of PFM. The recording quality is good for the time period, and the musicians really put in a potent performance.

Phenomena - Phenomena
Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of an album that was originally released in 1984.

Anthony Phillips & Andrew Skeet - Seventh Heaven
Review by Gary Hill

This new reissue is quite an impressive set. While a two-CD version of this album has appeared before, this one has a third CD of previously unreleased music.

Post Death Soundtrack - It Will Come Out Of Nowhere
Review by Gary Hill

I have previously reviewed another album from this act along with a single. I loved them both.

Residuos Mentales - Introspection
Review by Gary Hill

While this might not be precisely the image you get when you conjure up the concept of "progressive rock," this definitely fits the bill.

Anthony W. Rogers - One Day (a journal) (vinyl set)
Review by Gary Hill

"Unique" would be one way to describe this set. "Experimental" would be another.

Shumaun - One Day Closer to Yesterday
Review by Gary Hill

This is apparently the sophomore disc from this outfit.

Alan Simon - Excalibur: The Ladies of the Lake
Review by Gary Hill

This is a compilation album featuring the music of French songwriter Alan Simon. There is a theme running to the selections here, in that they all feature female singers.

Tangerine Dream - Blue Years Studio Albums 1985-1987
Review by Gary Hill

This is a brand new four-CD set from Tangerine Dream. It collects four individual albums.

Tangerine Dream - Le Parc
Review by Gary Hill

This album is a musical exploration of a number of parks in different parts of the world. Each track, like each park, I assume, has its own distinctive flavor and character.

Tangerine Dream - Tyger
Review by Gary Hill

This disc from Tangerine Dream is quite an intriguing one. It's definitely different from a lot of the catalog.

Tangerine Dream - Underwater Sunlight
Review by Gary Hill

This album from Tangerine Dream is focused on the world that exists underwater. While this has the same electronic keyboard based sounds you expect from the band, there is a lot more guitar here.

Stephan Thelen - Fractal Guitar
Review by Gary Hill

Stephan Thelen is a member of the band Sonar, who we've covered before at Music Street Journal. This new solo album features a number of extended instrumental pieces that fit reasonably well under the "space rock" banner.

Various Artists - The Spirit of Sireena 13
Review by Gary Hill

This sampler disc gives a varied look into a number of releases from the Sireena label. While it's not all progressive rock, there are enough prog leaning things here, and real prog, for me to include it under that heading.

Various Artists - Yesterday and Today: 50th Anniversary Tribute To Yes
Review by Gary Hill

This new various artists collection, as you would imagine, pays tribute to the music of Yes. It's an intriguing set.

Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews
Ape Shifter - Ape Shifter II
Review by Gary Hill

This is the second disc from Ape Shifter. The first one is nestled in the progressive rock section of Music Street Journal.

Overkill - The Wings of War
Review by Mike Korn

Here is the 19th album from Overkill, the closest thing heavy metal has to an atomic clock.

Phenomena - Phenomena II - Dream Runner
Review by Gary Hill

Given the scope of musicians on this set, I'm shocked I've never heard of these guys before. This is a reissue of an album released in 1987.

Yage - Nordwand
Review by Gary Hill

I could see landing this under progressive rock. There is plenty of prog tendency here.

Non-Prog CD Reviews
American High - U.N. Article 14
Review by Gary Hill

These guys clearly play alternative rock, but there is a lot more going on than that title reveals. For one thing, there is plenty of pop music and particularly 60s styled pop rock here.

Fred Argir - Still Alive
Review by Gary Hill

It seems there is a whole school of alternative rock like this. It's the kind of music that's essentially based around singer/songwriter rock songs, but informed by a punk rock rawness and distorted edge.

Lucinda Belle - Baby Don't Cry (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

Before I actually listened to this track, I assumed (based on the cover) that it would be modern pop music. I was pleasantly surprised as this is so much better than that.

Big Brother and the Holding Company - Supper on the River Rhine (vinyl EP)
Review by Gary Hill

This cool EP is a limited edition release on green vinyl. It is a very classy little set with four songs (three live and one studio).

The Big Wu - We Are Young We Are Old
Review by Gary Hill

This release features a sound that seems to have two, rather disparate, parts. First, there is the instrumental part of this.

The Chocolate Watchband - This is My Voice
Review by Gary Hill

It's still very early times in the year, but I will be shocked if this album doesn't make my "best of 2019" list. It's just such a strong set.

Dearling - Silver and Gold
Review by Gary Hill

This new four-song EP is literally a mixed bag. For my money, two of the songs lean a bit toward being too trendy and over-produced.

Dean Ford - This Scottish Heart
Review by Gary Hill

This double disc set was released in 2018, just a couple months before Dean Ford's death.

James Blonde - Stockton Rhythm
Review by Gary Hill

I reviewed another set from this act in the previous issue of Music Street Journal. Just like that one, this is a very enjoyable release.

Palmer T. Lee - Winebringer
Review by Gary Hill

Palmer T. Lee is one half of the duo The Lowest Pair. I've reviewed a couple sets of theirs and really like them a lot.

The Long Ryders - Psychedelic Country Soul
Review by Gary Hill

I've been a fan of these guys since their early days in the 1980s. Their blend of country rock with psychedelia and even some punk elements has always worked well.

Lord Sonny the Unifier - The Starman (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

This is a brand new single from Lord Sonny the Unifier. I previously reviewed the whole album, so the song review will be drawn from that for the sake of consistency.

Love Ghost - Mr. Blue (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

Love Ghost is an alternative rock act out of Los Angeles. One look at the lineup shows that this is no "run of the mill" rock band.

Big Jay McNeely - I'm Still Here - Big Jay Sings the Blues
Review by Gary Hill

As you can probably tell from the title, Big Jay McNeely's new set turns the attention to the blues. This is quite an effective disc with several standout tunes.

Metaspion - Pyros (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

Metaspion is a Norwegian electronic artist. This song features vocals from hip hop artist Skam R' Tist.

Damon Mitchell - License Plate (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed the EP from which this single comes at Music Street Journal. For the sake of consistency, I've adapted my review of this song on that release for use here.

Erich Mrak - Drive (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

This the second single to come as part of an EP from Erich Mrak. I reviewed the first one, "Navigate" in this issue, too.

Erich Mrak - Navigate (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

This new single from Erich Mrak is the first single of six to be released from the act. The plan is that the six will be assembled into an EP that is currently untitled.

Napa Valley Duo - A Soft Message to You
Review by Gary Hill

I reviewed another set from this act in the last issue and really enjoyed it. I like this one at least as much as that one.

The Other Life - Moody
Review by Gary Hill

This extended single or EP has three versions of the same song. The first is the main version, and it is followed by two remixes.

Mark Peters and The Dark Band - Sum of All Parts
Review by Gary Hill

This four-track EP lands pretty firmly in an alternative pop rock approach. It's built around a singer/songwriter vibe.

Phenomena - Phenomena III: Innervision
Review by Gary Hill

This is the third album from Phenomena, and it was released in 1993. All three have just been reissued.

Shawn Pittman & Jay Moeller - Everybody Wants to Know
Review by Gary Hill

It would be easy from looking at the cover to expect this to be a country album. It's definitely not that.

REO Speedwagon - The Classic Years 1978-1990
Review by Gary Hill

This new box set is a massive release. It is a nine-CD set featuring the "classic" era of REO.

Rhett Repko - Songs of the Night
Review by Gary Hill

I have reviewed two of Rhett Repko's previously releases. I felt that the second one was the stronger of those two.

Chrissie Romano Band - Photo
Review by Gary Hill

This is one of those albums that might be better taken one song at a time. In order to maintain interest for a whole album, songs need to vary quite a bit.

Scotty Seed - Single
Review by Gary Hill

The music here is definitely hard to pin down. We get electronic dance music on a couple of the tracks.

Six Mile Grove - Million Birds
Review by Gary Hill

There are a couple ways you can stand out as an artist.

Jillian Shea Spaeder - Barely Changed (digital single)
Review by Gary Hill

This new single is sure to appeal to fans of modern pop coming from other female artists. It feels similar in tone and style to a lot of that stuff.

Don Stevenson - Buskin' in the Subway
Review by Gary Hill

Don Stevenson was a founding member of Moby Grape, and that would probably lead people to expect to hear late 60s, early 70s styled music here. Well, that's what we get, but there is quite a bit of variety.

Various Artists - IAC Records - Artist Release Sampler - 2018
Review by Gary Hill

Various artists collections are often difficult to pin down in terms of musical style. This one is more difficult than many are.

Eric Westphal - Alice Street Sessions
Review by Gary Hill

This is an entertaining album. The easiest description would "pop music."

DVD/Video Reviews
Foreigner - Live at The Rainbow '78 Blu-Ray
Review by Gary Hill

This is a live video of Foreigner captured at a real peak in their career. This was before they dropped the group to a four-piece.

Journey - Escape and Frontiers Live in Japan 2017 Blu-Ray
Review by Gary Hill

Escape and Frontiers are two classic albums from Journey. This new live video finds the band playing those discs in their entirety.

Pink Floyd - Pulse DVD
Review by Greg Olma

I can’t believe it has been 25 years since Pink Floyd last toured.  The album they were promoting at the time was The Division Bell but they were also, in a way, promoting The Dark Side of the Moon by playing that record in its entirety. 

Various Artists - Band Versus Brand DVD
Review by Gary Hill

This documentary is fascinating. More importantly, it's also entertaining.

Interviews
Atlas : Empire
Interview by Gary Hill

Interview with Steven Gillies of Atlas : Empire from 2019

Jean-Sebastien Cote
Interview by Gary Hill
Interview with Jean-Sebastian Cote from 2019
Concert Reviews
Neal Morse - The Neal Morse Band - Live in Saint Charles, Illinois, February 2019
Review by Josh Turner

In a snap, Neal Morse took center stage behind his keyboards with an arsenal of guitars in tow. Modeled after most of his creations, the music began with an overture.

Neal Morse - The Neal Morse Band – Live in Portland, Oregon, March 2019
Review by Larry Toering

This band seem to be very pumped, and it could be coincided with the Morsefest coming on, as announcements have been going out about it while NMB are on tour.

 
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