Following on from the highly-admired The Tall Ships, British progressive rock band It Bites returns with its first concept album in a career that extends over 25 years.
Map of the Past is inspired by the discovery of an old family picture. It is a deeply personal journey that delves into love, passion, jealousy, anger, remorse and loss through the eyes of a previous generation against the backdrop of Britain as it moves into a new century and one of the most significant periods of its history.
Written by vocalist and guitarist John Mitchell and keyboardist John Beck over the course of 2011, Map of the Past was recorded at Outhouse Studios in Reading and features Bob Dalton on drums and Lee Pomeroy on bass.
Map of the Past will be released on March 26th, 2012. The band will be on tour to promote the album in the UK.
Man In The Photograph
Map of the Past
The Big Machine
Send No Flowers
Meadow and the Stream
The Last Escape
One of the legendary 1970s prog bands from the UK, Wally, has reunited and recorded a new CD titled ‘Montpellier‘. The album contains reworked demos from the Wally’s earlier incarnation, along with new material written by founding members Roy Webber and Paul Middleton. The CD came out on February 10, 2012 in the UK on Gonzo MultiMedia.
Wally, led by singer-songwriter Roy Webber, was formed in Harrogate, Yorkshire in England in the early 1970s. In 1973, after playing the northern UK pub rock circuit, the group entered a new act competition organized by English music paper Melody Maker. The band made it to the finals held at London’s Roundhouse Theatre, but did not win. However, they caught the eye of one of the judges, “Whispering” Bob Harris, legendary DJ of The Old Grey Whistle Test.
The runners-up prize was the opportunity to record a session for Harris’s BBC radio show The Monday Program. Taking Wally under his wing, Harris secured a recording contract with Atlantic Records. “I really liked them,” recalls Bob Harris. “I liked the swirling sound they made…acoustic guitar, electric guitar, fiddle, Fender Rhodes piano and pedal steel guitar. I liked their harmonies, the way their voices matched. I liked their influences…David Crosby, Jackson Browne and Neil Young. But most of all I liked Roy Webber’s songs.”
The group’s eponymous debut album, recorded at Morgan Recording Studios in London, home of Yes and Black Sabbath, was released in 1974. It was co-produced by Bob Harris and renowned Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who had seen Wally perform at the Roundhouse. “I will never forget the first time I heard Wally,” Rick Wakeman relates. “I was completely bowled over by both the music and enthusiasm of the guys in the band for what they were doing. Whilst singing their praises to all the music industry I came across over the next few weeks, which included my management at the time, and Phil Carson, who was the head of Atlantic Records, was discovering that my great friend Bob Harris was also a massive fan and this culminated in the pair of us having the privilege of producing their first album together.”
After Wally’s debut release, the band embarked on a series of tours throughout the UK, Japan and the United States. They opened for Yes at a concert in London at the Alexandra Palace and also made an appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. “The band recorded sessions for my ‘Sounds of the ’70s’ show on Radio 1 and played on Whistle Test,” says Bob Harris. “They slept on the floor of my London flat, we did big tours together, bought one-legged pedal steel guitars and broke the bar-bill record at Morgan as half of Harrogate arrived to put a drink on our tab, or a tab on our drink…we didn’t care. We were having far too much of a good time.”
“The great thing about Wally for me was the fact that they were as tremendous on stage as they were in the studio,” adds Rick Wakeman, “so I had no qualms whatsoever when inviting them onto the bill at my ‘Journey To The Centre of the Earth’ concert at Crystal Palace in the summer of 1974, and as expected, they were tremendous.” Wally released a second album titled ‘Valley Gardens‘, but by that time continual touring had taken its toll and the band eventually parted after Atlantic ended their contract. Wally’s members would go their separate ways, only to reunite after a 30 year hiatus!
In 2009, the surviving members of Wally’s original line-up (Roy Webber, Paul Middleton, Pete Sage, Roger Narraway and Nick Glennie-Smith, augmented by Frank Mizen on pedal steel and Will Jackson on guitar) reunited and performed to a sellout crowd in their hometown of Harrogate. A DVD of the concert titled ‘The Urban Man’ was released later that year.
‘Montpellier is the band’s first studio release in decades’. “I’ve always believed that if music is placed above individuals as regards to importance, then it will live on forever,” says Rick Wakeman about Wally’s reunion.
“It’s a relief to report it still has all the qualities that made this instrumental band special all those years ago,” says Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser about Wally’s new CD. “Emotional but not sentimental, epic but grounded, warmly melodic but with the emphasis on harmonies and the overall feel than the central riff.”
Legendary progressive rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman will be releasing his latest album In The Nick Of Time on March 19th, 2012.
The archive live album was recorded in 2003 during an extensive British tour with the New English Rock Ensemble. In The Nick Of Time comprises 7 tracks including: Catherine Parr/Beware Your Enemies, No Earthly Connection, White Rock and Wurm which is a track originally found on The Yes Album as part of Starship Trooper.
Rick Wakeman is best known as the keyboard wizard for the influential progressive rock band Yes. He’s had a brilliant solo career with now classic prog rock albums. In 1972, Rick Wakeman released his first solo album, one of the most iconic prog albums of all time, The Six Wives of Henry VIII. The album was a great success, to date selling over 15,000,000 copies worldwide. Other concept albums included “Journey To The Center Of The Earth” and “The Myths and Legends of King Arthur.”
Wakeman also composes film scores. Some of his best known works include Ken Russell’s Liszttomania, Creepshow 2, The Burning, Kathleen Turner’s Crimes of Passion, the winter Olympics film White Rock, and many others.
Sebastian Hardie, the legendary Australian symphonic progressive rock band led by guitarist Mario Millo, is back with a new album titled Blueprint. This is the band’s third studio album since the now classics Four Moments (1975) & Windchase (1976).
After disbanding in the late 1970s Sebastian Hardie was asked to reform and perform a one off show at Progfest ’94 in Los Angeles. The show was recorded and the CD Live in L. A. was released.
In July 2003 Sebastian Hardie reformed for a concert tour in Japan and later that year were special guests at the Yes concerts in Sydney and Melbourne.
After the concerts in Japan and the shows with Yes, band members decided to record another album and continue with live performances. The problem was logistics. Drummer Alex Plavsic was living and working 1000 kilometers away in Queensland while the other members were in Sydney with their own personal and work responsibilities. This provided limited opportunities to get together. to rehearse and record new material. But they pulled it off and composed material for a new cd. The six new pieces became the cd Blueprint.
Swedish singer Hasse Fröberg and his progressive rock group Musical Companion have announced the release of their second album. Powerplay’ is the second album by the Flower Kings vocalist & Musical Companion. One year after the release of their critically highly acclaimed debut ‘Futurepast‘ (Sept. 2010), Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion entered the studio to record the backing tracks for ‘Powerplay’ (April 2012).
The line-up of the band is still the same, Hasse Fröberg: Lead vocals, rhythm guitar; Anton Lindsjö: Lead guitar, backing vocals; Kjell Haraldsson: Keyboards, backing vocals; Thomsson: Bass, backing vocals; Ola Strandberg: Drums, backing vocals.
Futurepast generated concerts in countries such as Sweden, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. With the release of ‘Powerplay’, Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion is now confirmed for festivals such as RoSfest in Gettysburg (USA) and Night of the prog in Loreley (Germany) as well as performances on both sides of the Atlantic.
The sound engineer on ‘Powerplay’is Tomas Bodin. He’s a collegue with Hasse in the established and influential progressive rock band The Flower Kings. Even if Hasse likes studio work, he prefers the live scene: “Playing live is definitely the right element for us. I really can’t wait to take The Musical Companion and and the songs on ‘Powerplay’ on the road”.
The album is scheduled for release date April 23rd, 2012
San Diego-based progressive rock band Astra has released a video featuring ‘Quake Meat‘, a piece from its upcoming album titled The Black Chord.
The Black Chord will be available in North America on March 27th. Astra will be hosting an album release show in San Diego on March 16th. The show will be at The Casbah with Dead Meadow, The Loons and Joy. The show will also feature visuals by Operation: Mindblown.
Astra released their debut album titled The Weirding in 2009 on Rise Above Records in the UK and on Metal Blade Records in the USA.
Band members include Richard Vaughan on vocals, electric guitar, mellotron m400, minimoog, rogue moog, sound effects; Conor Riley on vocals, mellotron m400, minimoog, rogue moog, arp odyssey, oberheim 2-voice, crumar orchestrator, Hammond a-100 organ, grand piano; Brian Ellis on lead electric guitar, electric 12 string guitar, acoustic guitar; David Hurley on drums, percussion, flute; and Stuart Sclater on bass.
Prog duo Centric Jones has announced the March 6th release of its second album titled ‘The Antikythera Method‘, on Prog Rock Records. The band is influenced by progressive rock legends UK, Yes and King Crimson, as well as hard rock bands like Rush and Porcupine Tree and heavy metal band Dream Theater.
Centric Jones includes Chris Fournier and Tobe London, accompanied by an eclectic set of revolving musical guests. Chris plays bass, guitars, keyboards and electronic percussion, and Tobe plays drums, acoustic/electronic percussion and keyboards.
Fournier and London met in 2007 and discovered a shared goal: to create songs that broke through musical boundaries without sacrificing feel and an emotional connection to the audience.
Centric Jones released a critically acclaimed debut CD ‘Foreign Tea‘. When asked if there was a concept behind the new Centric Jones album Tobe had this to say: “I’ve always had a fascination with mechanical devices and gizmos. Of particular interest to me is the Antikythera mechanism – the ancient Greek mechanical computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. I’d like to go on and on about the thing, given the fact that it predates anything like it by about a thousand years. The most fascinating aspect of it for me would be its inherent rhythm. I picture all those handmade gears turning and churning in an amazing visual if not audible display of polyrhythmic wonder. Centric Jones loves to apply this as much as we can to our music. We call it The Antikythera Method.”
In support of their new CD release, Fournier and London are currently putting together a live show consisting of some of their favorite album songs combined with improvisations and some theatrics. The duo plan on performing locally on the Front Range of Northern Colorado in addition to some of the progressive rock festivals going on in the U.S. and elsewhere during the summer of 2012. They are also implementing a new recording setup in Tobe’s studio in order to more directly compose and trade tracks together.
Legendary progressive rock musician and Jethro Tull founder Ian Anderson announced the release of a new album titled ‘Thick As A Brick 2.’ It is the 40th Anniversary sequel to the tremendously successful, 1972 Thick As A Brick album.
Ian Anderson wrote and recorded the Jethro Tull progressive rock classic album ‘Thick As A Brick‘ in 1972. The lyrics were credited at the time to the pretended child character, Gerald Bostock, whose parents supposedly lied about his age. The record instantly became a number one Billboard Chart album in the United States and enjoyed considerable success in many countries of the world.
So, forty years later, what would Gerald Bostock – aged fifty in 2012 – be doing today? What might have happened to him? The anniversary “part two” album will examine the possible different paths that the precocious young schoolboy, Gerald Bostock, might have taken later in life through alter-ego characters with song-section identities illustrating the hugely varied potential twists and turns of fate and opportunity. Not just for Gerald but to echo how our own lives develop, change direction and ultimately conclude through chance encounters and interventions, however tiny and insignificant they might seem at the time.
Ian Anderson says of the album, “As we baby-boomers look back on our own lives, we must often feel an occasional ‘what-if’ moment. Might we, like Gerald, have become instead preacher, soldier, down-and-out, shopkeeper or finance tycoon?” Adding, “And those of more tender years – the social media and internet generation – may choose to ponder well the myriad of chance possibilities ahead of them at every turn…..”
To coincide with this landmark release, for the first time since 1972, Anderson and fellow musicians John O’Hara (keyboards), David Goodier (bass), Florian Opahle (guitar) and Scott Hammond (drums) – as well as some guest performers – will take to the road to perform the album in its entirety and, it can now exclusively be revealed that, in addition, there will be a second part to the show where Anderson and the band will also perform the sequel.
Thick As A Brick 2 (‘TAAB2’) tracklist [CD, digital]
1. From A Pebble Thrown
2. Pebbles Instrumental
4. Upper Sixth Loan Shark
5. Banker Bets, Banker Wins
6. Swing It Far
7. Adrift And Dumfounded
8. Old School Song
9. Wootton Bassett Town
10. Power And Spirit
11. Give Till It Hurts
12. Cosy Corner
13. Shunt And Shuffle
14. A Change Of Horses
16. Kismet In Suburbia
17. What-ifs, Maybes And Might-have-beens
‘Thick As A Brick 2’ will be released as a standard jewel case CD and digital download, and in a Special Edition 2-disc package with DVD featuring 5.1 stereo mixes, 24-bit stereo mix, video of the making of the album, interviews with the musicians and Ian Anderson reading the lyrics in various locations.
Locanda delle Fate, one of the finest Italian progressive rock bands of all time, is set to perform on February 4th, 2012 at Teatro Alfieri in Asti. The band will be presenting its new album, “The Missing Fireflies”.
The current line-up includes four of the original members. Leonardo Sasso on vocals, Luciano Boero on bass, Oscar Mazzoglio on keyboards, and Giorgio Gardino on drums. New members include Max Brignolo on guitars and Maurizio Muha on keyboards.
Locanda delle Fate was formed in Asti, in northwestern Italy, not far from Genoa. They played a beautiful form of symphonic progressive rock, reminiscent of the great Italian bands of the early 1970s. The original line-up featured a superb combination of two guitarists and two keyboardists: Leonardo Sasso on vocals, Ezio Vevey on guitar and vocals, Alberto Gaviglio on guitar, flute, vocals; Michele Conta on keyboards; Oscar Mazzoglio on keyboards; Luciano Boero on bass; and Giorgio Gardino on drums
Even though Locanda delle Fate released one of the best Italian progressive rock albums, Forse le lucciole non si amano più, in 1977, they were unnoticed. Italian progressive rock was in decline.
A few years later, collectors in Japan and other countries ‘discovered’ Forse le lucciole non si amano più and it became a prized collector’s item. Eventually, it was reissued on CD.
Locanda delle Fate recorded a live album in 1977. Live was released in 1993 on the Italian Mellow label.
The group disbanded in 1980. Locanda delle Fate reunited in 1996 with five of the seven original members, excluding vocalist Sasso and keyboardist Conta. They released Homo homini lupus in 1999.
The new live album Love and Endings is a document of No-Man’s powerful performance at the Leamington Spa Assembly on October 14th, 2011. It is scheduled for release March 12th. The album features the British band’s core duo of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson joined by classical violinist Steve Bingham and regular collaborators Michael Bearpark, Andrew Booker, Stephen Bennett and Pete Morgan.
Love And Endings retains the intimacy and sophistication of No-Man’s studio work while adding an edgy rock component absent from much of its recordings. The pieces are drawn from all stages of No-Man’s music.
Love And Endings includes the previously unreleased song, Beaten By Love, which dates from the earliest days of the band.
The album will be available in CD/DVD (deluxe digipack) and limited edition heavyweight double vinyl (in gatefold sleeve) formats.
A free download of a track from the album is available here
Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond