Prog Rock Band Yes Recruits Glass Hammer Vocalist Jon Davison

Jon Davison
Progressive rock band Yes has recruited Jon Davison (Glass Hammer) as lead vocalist for the upcoming tour dates in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, and Hawaii. “Yes really appreciate Jon Davison joining them for this leg of the tour and are sure this arrangement will satisfy all Yes fans,” said the official press release.

Yes was forced to cancel the last 3 shows of its European Tour in December due to the illness of lead vocalist Benoit David who has still not recovered. To avoid disappointing fans on the forthcoming Australasian leg of their world tour, Yes offered the role to Jon Davison, Glass Hammer’s most recent vocalist.

Fly From Here (2011) is Yes’ most recent studio album, with a line-up that includes Benoit David on vocals; Steve Howe on guitars and vocals; Geoff Downes on keyboards; Chris Squire on bass and vocals; and Alan White on drums and percussion.

Yes released a double live album in late November 2011 on Frontiers Records. In The Present—Live from Lyon was recorded in Lyon, France, on December 1st 2009. In The Present – Live from Lyon is a collection of Yes classics with new singer Benoit David. The package comes with a 55 minute DVD containing excerpts from the live performance, interviews and behind the scenes footage. The cover art features an original design by Roger Dean, author of most Yes album covers including classics ‘Fragile’, ‘Close To The Edge’ and ‘Drama’.

Next concerts:

04/01
Auckland, NZ
Vector Arena

04/09
Byron Bay, AUS
Bluesfest

04/11
Melbourne, AUS
Palais Theatre

04/13
Sydney, AUS
State Theatre

Video of the Week: Dancing with the Moonlit Knight by Genesis

Genesis
This week’s music takes us to 1973, to a classic piece by Genesis, one of the legendary progressive rock groups of the 1970s. ‘Dancing with the Moonlit Knight’ is included in the 1973 masterpiece Selling England by the Pound.

This music video shows Genesis during a 1973 concert. Vocalist Peter Gabriel appears dressed in costume “Britannia” which he wore during the performance of ‘Dancing with the Moonlit Knight.’ Selling England by the Pound is Genesis’ fifth studio album. It followed Foxtrot and became the most successful album up to then.

Genesis was one of the best and most influential progressive rock groups of all times. The classic line-up during its progressive rock era included Peter Gabriel on vocals, Steve Hackett on guitars, Tony Banks on keyboards, Mike Rutherford on bass and Phil Collins on drums. After Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett left, Genesis changed direction and became a very successful pop band.

Throughout the 1970s and in the following decades dozens of progressive rock bands were inspired by Genesis. The most notable include Marillion and IQ.

Instrumental Rock Band Sleepmakeswaves Announces Australian Tour

Sleepmakeswaves
Sydney-based instrumental rockers Sleepmakeswaves have announced an extensive Australian tour, celebrating the recent success of their debut album ‘…and so we destroyed everything.’

The band’s “(hello) Australia” tour sees them visiting 6 states in February and March, before heading to the USA showcase at SXSW in Austin, Texas and then embarking on a headlining European tour, including co-headlining Belgium’s Dunk! Festival, alongside Pelican, This Will Destroy You and 65daysofstatic.

All supports for the tour have now been announced, with Solkyri joining for a number of east coast dates, Mr Maps supporting both QLD shows and half of Tangled Thoughts of Leaving performing as the Ron Pollard Quintet in WA.

The band has also added more shows to their tour, including an afternoon all ages show in Brisbane.

Tour dates follows:

  • Thurs 9th February – Transit Lounge, Canberra ACT w/River of Snakes + The Fighting League www.moshtix.com.au
  • Fri 10th February – Espy Front Bar, Melbourne VIC w/Quiet Child + Gatherer + Solkyri FREE ENTRY
  • Sat 11th February – Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne VIC w/This Is Your Captain Speaking + Xenograft + Jarek
  • Fri 17th February – Gaelic Theatre, Sydney NSW w/Dumbsaint (single launch) + Solkyri + Batterie
  • Sat 18th February – Great Northern, Newcastle NSW w/Lander Configurations (album launch) + I Am The Agent + Solkyri
  • Thurs 23rd February – Crown and Anchor, Adelaide SA w/Canidae + Sparkspitter www.oztix.com.au
  • Fri 24th February – The Bakery, Perth WA w/Usurper of Modern Medicine + Apricot Rail + Ron Pollard Quintet www.nowbaking.com.au
  • Sat 25th February – Prince of Wales, Bunbury WA w/Heytesburg + Ron Pollard Quintet + kucka www.heatseeker.com.au
  • Thurs 1st March – Macquarie Hotel, Port Macquarie NSW w/Stellar Green + Cleveland Blues and the Red Eye Junction FREE ENTRY
  • Fri 2nd March – Miami Tavern Shark Bar, Gold Coast QLD w/Mr Maps + The Matador + the seashallnothavethem
  • Sat 3rd March – Tyms Guitars, Brisbane QLD – all ages, 3pm
  • Sat 3rd March – Jubilee Hotel, Brisbane QLD w/Mr Maps + Solkyri + Screens
  • Fri 23rd March – Yours and Owls, Wollongong NSW w/Siren Lines + Elliphant

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In the Beginning and the End

Trettioariga Kriget - I Borjan Och Slutet
Trettioariga Kriget

I Borjan Och Slutet – In the beginning and the end (Mellotronen MelloCD023, 2007)

I Början Och Slutet is the eighth studio album by pioneering Swedish progressive rock band Trettioåriga Kriget (Thirty Years War). The first thing that stands out when you listen to the band is that it has developed its own progressive rock style, which is characterized by a fusion of symphonic rock, pop, folk-rock and psychedelic music. While other groups clearly show influences from British pioneers, the finely calibrated Trettioåriga Kriget sounds totally different.

I Början Och Slutet is a concept album that combines captivating instrumentals and Swedish language pieces. The instrumentals mix guitars with mellotron and driving bass. The bad leader is bassist Stefan Fredin and he clearly leaves his mark. Unlike other groups who mix harmonic mellotrons and solo keyboards, Trettioåriga Kriget doesn’t have much use for solo keyboards. Instead the vocals, guitars and bass play the leading role.

The best cuts are the pieces that go in a symphonic rock direction, such as the opening track ‘I Krigets Tid I’, the dreamy and bluesy ‘Barndom’, the melancholic ‘Lovsang,’ and the closing ‘I Krigets Tid II’

The musicians that appear in the album are Stefan Fredin on bass guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals; Dag Lundquist- drums, percussion, backing vocals; Robert Zima on vocals; Christer Åkerberg on electric and acoustic guitars; Mats Lindberg on keyboards; and
Olle Thörnvall provides the lyrics.

The booklet includes a 20 page booklet with band photos, the original lyrics and English language translations.

Celtic Rockers Tempest to Present Real Time Internet Concert March 10th 2012

Tempest
Celtic rock band Tempest will be presenting a live, interactive concert. The event will be broadcast in real time and brought directly to home computer screens via their new UStream channel “Tempest-Live” on March 10th, 2012. Times are 7:00 PM PST / 10:00 PM EST.

The group will perform songs from its latest release “Another Dawn” CD including the single “Let’s Live For Today” as well as material from previous CDs.

Multiple cameras and high end pro audio, staging and lighting will put you the web user right in the center of the action. The chat feature allows audience members to actually talk with each other in real time, as the concert is being watched, making it a unique and totally shared interactive experience for the viewer.

Tickets are ordered directly from the Tempest-Live UStream channel using PayPal at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tempest-live . Anyone who misses the show in real time can at any point purchase a ticket and watch it at their own convenience. Tickets are $10 if ordered before the show airs, and $15 after.

A limited digital download of the concert will also be available for $25. If you are local to the Modesto area and would like to be part of the studio audience, your seat is free with the purchase of the digital download.

Those wishing to purchase the digital download should go to PayPal at http://www.paypal.com and using the “send money’ tab, send $25 to live@wcslonline.com . if you do not have a PayPal account, set up is easy and takes less than ten minutes. You will be emailed a receipt for the download and an admission ticket to the event within a few days of payment.

Seats are limited and will be issued on a first come first serve basis. Simply state in your PayPal payment that you are requesting a seat. If you are requesting a seat you must state that on your PayPal payment. Download instructions will be emailed to you within 30 days following the concert.

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Progressive Rock Band Centric Jones to Release ‘The Antikythera Method’

Centric Jones - The Antikythera Method
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.

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Progressive Rock Band The Flower Kings Returns After A Five-Year Hiatus

The Flower Kings - Photo by Per Nordin
Iconic progressive, symphonic rock band The Flower Kings announced today that they are back in action with a new album and a European tour planned for September 2012.

The Flower Kings was formed in 1995 in Sweden by guitarist, singer and composer Roine Stolt . The current lineup includes Roine Stolt on guitars, Jonas Reingold on bass, Tomas Bodin on keyboards, Hasse Froberg on guitars and vocals, and newcomer Felix Lehrmann, a 26 year-old drumming prodigy from Germany.

The band began recording a new album at Sweden’s Varispeed studios on January 23. The music is being recorded in classic 1970s style, with all musicians performing live in a room through vintage ’70s tube recording equipment and Neve consoles.

The plan is to release the new album through InsideOut Music (Century Media/EMI). According to the press release, the yet-to-be-named album has an epic 23-minute centerpiece and is in classic Flower Kings style – complete with all the dreamy melodic and cinematic elements that fans have come to love over the years.

The Flower Kings intends to embark on a headlining European tour in September, but will perform its first official reunion gig at the Sweden Rock Festival in June 2012.

Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson Announces the Release of ‘Thick As A Brick 2’

Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)
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
3. Might-have-beens
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
15. Confessional
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.

The Pink Floyd Experiments

Pink Floyd - Ummagumma
Pink Floyd

Ummagumma (EMI, 1969 – remastered in 2011)

Pink Floyd’s first double album, Ummagumma, was originally released in 1969. The album was digitally remastered in 2011 by James Guthrie and Joel Plante. This new version is better enjoyed with headphones or a high quality audio system.

Ummagumma is divided into two very different recordings. The first disc is a live album that includes some of their best known pieces from previous albums: ‘Astronomy Domine’, ‘Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun’ and ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’. In addition there is an eerie cinematic piece titled ‘Careful with that Axe, Eugene.’ This electric organ–led track progresses with increasing intensity until you hear a deranged scream by Roger Waters. There are a lot of stories about the meaning of the song. Most people seem to think that it is related to an axe murderer.

Album 2 is a studio recording where each member of the band presents his own experiments. ‘Sysyphus’ is the brainchild of keyboardist Richard Wright who plays a combination of symphonic rock with mellotron, piano and percussion and atonal experimental music on keyboards and percussion.

The keyboard fest is followed by the laid back ‘Grantchester Meadows’ by Roger Waters, with its pastoral strums of acoustic guitars, vocals and sounds of birds (not sure if they are real or synthesized). Waters’ next piece is crazier and has a very long title: ‘Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict.’ The sounds of the little furries are wacky and very funny.

Back to acoustic guitars with David Gilmour’s ‘The Narrow Way.’ In the first part, Gilmour blends blues acoustic guitar with electric guitar riffs and explorations. Experimental, but very beautiful at the same time. Part 2 sounds like repetitive hard rock mixed with electronics. Part three is a delectable melancholic song.

‘The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party’ is Nick Mason’s suite. It begins with a solo flute that leads into a series of drum experimentations and ends with a very short flute piece.

Ummagumma shows Pink Floyd at a transitional stage, definitely moving away from psychedelic pop and into an experimental form of rock, combining rock with classical music elements and electronic music and effects. It was the birth of a form of progressive rock later known as space rock. Ummagumma is also one of the most individualist albums by the band.

The Timely Return of Comedy of Errors

Comedy of Errors - Disobey
Comedy of Errors

Disobey (COE001, 2011)

Comedy of Errors, one of the British bands involved in the progressive rock renaissance of the 1980s known as neoprog, is back with a new album titled Disobey. As other neoprog bands, Comedy of Errors has more in common with Marillion, IQ and Pallas than Genesis. However, original members Joe Cairney (vocals), Jim Johnston (keyboards, guitars), Mark Spalding (guitars, bass and backing vocals) have made an album that bridges the 1980s and 1970s prog eras with the present.

On Disobey, Comedy of Errors demonstrates that it is not stuck in time. The musicians incorporate contemporary elements such as electronic loops as well as sound effects. Jim Johnston is comfortable using vintage organ and mellotron sounds as well as the latest cutting edge electronics.

Album highlights include ‘Jekyll’ with its outstanding vocals and keyboard work (although I would have toned down the hard rock guitar parts); the instrumental ‘Prelude, Riff And Fugue,’ with its mix of early classical music, synthesizers and epic guitar; the hypnotic ‘Carousel,’ the delightful ‘Could Have Been Yesterday’ with its mix of acoustic guitars, vocals and keyboards; the brief instrumental gem ‘Alisa’s Lullaby,’ and the great final epic titled ‘The Student Prince,’ which is subdivided into four pieces.

On the down side, the straight ahead rocker ‘American Rodeo’ that seems out of place and the opening piece, ‘Disobey,’ which never manages to get off the ground.

In addition to vocalist Joe Cairney, keyboardist Jim Johnston and guitarist Mark Spalding, Disobey features Bruce Levick on drums and Hew Montgomery (Abel Ganz) on bass.

Comedy of Errors is a reformed symphonic progressive rock band with tremendous potential.Disobey showcases its dazzling instrumental and vocals skills and I look forward to more.

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Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond