Black Moon Circle-Sea Of Clouds.

April 2016 saw Norwegian space rock pioneers Black Moon Circle make their debut at the prestigious  Roadburn Festival. This was prefect timing. That day, Black Moon Circle released their fourth album Sea Of Clouds via Crispin Glover Records. It was a much anticipated release, that also featured bassist Øyvin Engman vocal debut. The result was a album of melodic and anthemic songs. They were also hard rocking.   

This is what we’ve come to expect from Black Moon Circle. They revisit their hard rocking brand of psychedelic, space rock on Sea Of Clouds. It’s a fusion of heavy metal, Krautrock, avant-garde, free jazz and post rock. Black Moon Circle have also drawn inspiration from everyone from Black Sabbath, Can and Deep Purple to Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind and Motorpsycho. These disparate musical genres and influences were fused to create Sea Of Clouds.  

It features music that’s dramatic, futuristic, moody, otherworldly and gloriously rocky. Sometimes, Sea Of Clouds features Black Moon Circle at their hard rocking best. Sea Of Clouds is also “intense.” There’s always been an intensity to Black Moon Circle’s music. It’s as much a part of Black Moon Circle’s music as the layers of fuzzy guitars, spacey, lysergic synths and futuristic sci-fi sounds. That’s the case throughout Sea Of Clouds, which shows another side to space rock pioneers Black Moon Circle. It’s their most accessible album and is a glorious assault on the sensory system from  genre-melting innovators Black Moon Circle,


Black Moon Circle-The Studio Jams Volume 2.

In mid-November,  Black Moon Circle released The Studio Jams Volume 2 via Crispin Glover Records. It’s the second in a  trilogy of Studio Jams and Black Moon Circle’s second album of 2016. Just like the Trondheim based psychedelic space rock pioneers’ previous albums, they fuse musical genres as they push musical boundaries.  

The basis for Black Moon Circle’s music is the classic rock of the sixties and seventies, psychedelia and space rock. To this, Black Moon Circle add elements of avant-garde, electronica, experimental,  free jazz, Krautrock and post rock. Seamlessly, these disparate musical genres and influences merge into something new and innovative. It’s cinematic, dramatic, futuristic, moody, rocky and as Øyvin Engan says, “intense.” This intensity is deliberate. It comes courtesy of the four members of Black Moon Circle. They deploy layers of fuzzy guitars, spacey, lysergic, futuristic, sci-fi synths and a mesmeric rhythm section. They create two “lengthy jams” which features  “heavy riffage and the extensive use of effects.” They’re used extensively and put to good use by Black Moon Circle. 

They’re one of the most exciting, talented and innovative Norwegian groups. They remind me of their fellow countrymen, Motorpsycho and Moster! However, Elements of Can, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind, early Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix’s guitar playing shine through on The Studio Jams Volume 2 . This hard rocking opus, finds the Trondheim-based psychedelic space rockers Black Moon Circle, reaching new heights on The Studio Jams Volume 2.


Bram Stoker-Heavy Rock Spectacular,

Often, Record Store Day sees the release of several cult albums. 2016 was no different. Bram Stoker’s 1972 album Heavy Rock Spectacular was reissued by Talking Elephant Records on coloured vinyl. This was a welcome reissue and a reminder of a band who should’ve reached greater heights.

Bram Stoker were formed organist Tony Bronsdon in Bournemouth, in 1969. Three years later, Bram Stoker were enjoying a modest amount of success and about to release their debut album Heavy Rock Spectacular in 1972. It’s a carefully crafted epic where four virtuoso musicians combine progressive rock with elements of jazz and classical music. The result was Bram Stoker’s debut album Heavy Rock Spectacular, which sounded not unlike The Nice.

Alas, when Heavy Rock Spectacular was released by Windmill Records, it failed to find an audience. Later, Bram Stoker’s carefully crafted progressive rock epic began to acquire a cult following. They appreciated Heavy Rock Spectacular, which nowadays, is regarded as one of the lost classics from the progressive rock era.


Deep Purple-Deep Purple In Rock.

Between 1970 and 1975 Deep Purple enjoyed worldwide success. Their albums sold by the million and Deep Purple became one of “unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal.” However, the album that started this run of commercial success was Deep Purple In Rock.  It was  reissued as a limited edition of 1,000 on marbled vinyl by Harvest as part of their Vinyl Collector series. Deep Purple In Rock was a game-changer for Deep Purple.   

When Deep Purple In Rock in 1970 was released in 1970, it proved to be Deep Purple’s breakthrough album. This was the start of five years of commercial success and critical acclaim. During that period, Deep Purple challenged Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath for supremacy as most successful and hard rocking band. There was also another competition going on. This was to see which of the “unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal” was the hardest living band. It was a close fought and hard won contest.  

Over the years, Deep Purple’s penchant for the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle was legendary. It came with the territory. This was after all,  rock ’n’ roll during the early seventies. Chaos and carnage was omnipresent and expected as Deep Purple toured the world. This never seemed to affect Deep Purple’s music. Proof if any is needed, is Deep Purple In Rock. It features Deep Purple at their hard rocking best.


Dexy’s Midnight Runners-Searching For The Young Soul Rebels.

Last year, retailers everywhere seemed to be jumping on the vinyl bandwagon. Even supermarkets like Tesco were selling vinyl. However, being experts at marketing, the vinyl they sold had a USP. This included Dexy’s Midnight Runners-Searching For The Young Soul Rebels, which was a limited editions pressed on green vinyl. It marked the debut of Dexy’s Midnight Runners who were led by Kevin Rowland.

He founded Dexy’s Midnight Runners in Birmingham 1978. Within two years, they were signed to EMI and preparing to release their debut album Searching For The Young Soul Rebels in July 1980. It was a fusion of blue eyed soul, Celtic soul, folk, new wave and pop. The  influence of punk and Northern Soul could also be heard on Searching For The Young Soul Rebels.  However, before its release, Geno was released as a single and topped the UK charts. For Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ this was a game-changer. 

When Searching For The Young Soul Rebels was released, most of the reviews were positive. There was the odd dissenting voice. Despite this, Searching For The Young Soul Rebels, reached number six in the UK and was certified silver. Since then, many regard Searching For The Young Soul Rebels as Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ finest hour. No wonder. Searching For The Young Soul Rebels is regarded as one of the greatest debut albums of the eighties, and was a time capsule of Britain in 1980.


Frightened Rabbit-Painting Of A Panic Attack.

Three years after they released their previous album Pedestrian Verse, Glasgow based Frightened Rabbit returned recently with their fifth album Painting Of A Panic Attack. It was released on Atlantic Records, is a mixture of anthems and ballads. Mostly, though, anthems are to the fore on Painting Of A Panic Attack. 

Just like the ballads on Painting Of A Panic Attack, they feature lyrics that are variously cerebral, cinematic, dark, insightful and wistful. Lead singer and songwriter Chris Hutchison, brings these lyrics to life. He’s a storyteller who breathes emotion and meaning into the lyrics. That’s the case whether it’s on the ballads or anthems. There’s hooks aplenty on the anthems, which will be favourites when Frightened Rabbit play live. 

They’ve been doing a lot of that recently. That will continue to be the case. Frightened Rabbit are also well on their way to becoming one of the most successful current Scottish bands. They’ve also released one of the best albums of their thirteen year career. That album is Painting Of A Panic Attack, which is an assured and accomplished album from Frightened Rabbit who are equally comfortable delivering ballads as they are hook-laden anthems.


Get Me Home For Tea-Rare Psychedelic Rock From The UK.  

Although a record amount of albums were released for Record Store Day 2016, there were some albums that eluded many record collectors. This included Get Me Home For Tea-Rare Psychedelic Rock From The UK,  which was released as a limited edition of 2,000 by ORG Music.

Get Me Home For Tea: Rare Psychedelic Rock From The U.K. features twelve psychedelic and freakbeat tracks from the vaults of Parlophone. This includes Tomorrow, The Moles, The Idle Race, The Artwoods, The Brain, The Penny Peeps and The Game. These artists are just some of the artists that feature on Get Me Home For Tea-Rare Psychedelic Rock From The UK. It was a reminder of Britain’s psychedelic past.

For fans of psychedelia and freakbeat, Get Me Home For Tea: Rare Psychedelic Rock From The U.K.  was a must have release. Sadly, copies were and still are, like hen’s teeth. That was no surprise. Get Me Home For Tea: Rare Psychedelic Rock From The UK was a carefully curated,  quality compilation that features twelve hidden gems from the vaults of Parlophone.


Here Today!-The Songs Of Brian Wilson. 

In 2015, Ace Records Here Today!-The Songs Of Brian Wilson as part of their Songwriters’ series. By the end of the year, it was their biggest selling release of 2015. This was something to celebrate. This was something to celebrate.

So to celebrate the success of Here Today!-The Songs Of Brian Wilson, Ace Records decided to release a vinyl edition of the compilation. This however, was no ordinary vinyl edition. Instead, the vinyl edition of Here Today!-The Songs Of Brian Wilson was pressed on 180 gram snowy white vinyl, and features a dozen of the compilation’s highlights. This includes Darian Sahanaja, Bobby Vee, Betty Everett, Carmen Mcrae, Nick Decaro and Kirsty MacColl.  They all pay homage to Brian Wilson, one of music’s greats.

That visionary is Brian Wilson, who has influenced two generations of musicians, including the artists who pay tribute to him on Here Today!-The Songs Of Brian Wilson. Here Today!-The Songs Of Brian Wilson was a fitting addition to Ace Recods’ Songwriters’ series, and is a fitting and poignant reminder of Brian Wilson at the peak of his powers. 


Jethro Tull-Aqualung.

In 1971, Jethro Tull released what would become their first classic album, Aqualung. It was Jethro Tull’s most ambitious and cerebral album, Aqualung. It was a concept album that examined ”the distinction between religion and God.” This seemed an unlikely subject for an album, even a seventies concept album. 

It found Jethro Tull combined progressive rock with folk, blues, hard rock and even psychedelia. The music features Jethro Tull at their most cerebral, and became the band’s most successful album. In America alone, Aqualung sold three million copies, and seven million copies worldwide. Suddenly, Jethro Tull were one of the biggest selling bands in the world.

The success of Aqualung was a game-changer for Jethro Tull. They were now one of the biggest bands opt the seventies. That’s where they remained for much of seventies. For a while, it seemed that everything Jethro Tull touched to silver, gold or platinum. However, Aqualung was one of Jethro Tull’s finest hours, and set the bar high for future albums


Jethro Tull-Too Old To Rock ’N’ Roll: To Young To Die.

For Record Store Day 2016, Rhino released Too Old To Rock ’N’ Roll: To Young To Die. It was originally released in 1976, and was another concept album where Jethro Tull told the story of an ageing rock star, who found fame when musical tastes changed. This was prophetic.

By the time Jethro Tull released Too Old To Rock ’N’ Roll: To Young To Die, they were one of the most successful progressive rock bands. However, music was changing, with the birth of punk. This impacted on sales of the Too Old To Rock ’N’ Roll: To Young To Die, and there were no gold, silver or platinum discs. Since then, Too Old To Rock ’N’ Roll: To Young To Die is regarded as a hidden gem in Jethro Tull’s back-catalogue. It’s also one of the most underrated albums in Jethro Tull’s illustrious back-catalogue.

On Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die Jethro Tull combined  folk, jazz and classical with progressive rock. The result was a cohesive, cerebral concept album that deserved to find a wider audience. Alas, it wasn’t to be. As a result, Jethro Tull never released another concept album. That was a great shame, as they were past masters of the concept album. A reminder of that is Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die. a hidden gem in Jethro Tull’s back-catalogue.


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