Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Marcela Bovio Releases Video for Piano Arrangement of Powerless

Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion, Ayreon, The Gentle Storm, Vuur) made our Top 35 Albums of 2016 list with Unprecedented, but she quickly followed up that largely strings-and-vocals release with a piano-and-vocals version of the album. Unprecedented-The Piano Sessions was recorded in one day with pianist Erik van Ittersum (Kingfisher Sky). These recordings are elegant, immediate, and yes, powerful. While the strings-and-vocals approach provided a beautiful framing for Bovio's gorgeous vocals, the piano-and-vocals arrangements push her voice even further into the spotlight.

Now, Bovio has released a simple 'live in the studio' video for the track "Powerless." The camera takes its cues from the musical setting with a no-frills focus on Bovio & van Ittersum's performance. Elegant. Immediate. And yes, powerful.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday Matinee: Minstrel Boy by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros

Progressive Epics. Folky Meditations. Extended Jazz Improvisations. Some songs are just long, y'know? So when better to sit down and take it all in than on a Saturday with your beverage of choice in hand?
Today's Matinee: "Minstrel Boy" closes the excellent second album from Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros. While Strummer's vocals pipe in from time to time, this is largely an extended instrumental jam with a relaxed Basement Tapes feel. As the track progresses, The Mescaleros sprinkle in a variety of subtle improvisations on the otherwise traditional arrangement.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dw Dunphy to Press Your Saturday Sins to Vinyl

Indie-Progressive-Singer-Songwriter, founder of Introverse Media, founder and curator of The Co-Op Community, and all-around nice guy Dw. Dunphy has opened pre-orders for an extremely limited 7" pressing.

Dunphy recently released his 2016 album, The First Thing That Came To Mind, on cassette. Now he's turning from tape to vinyl with what might as well be billed as a Double A-Side Single: "Your Saturday Sins" b/w "Nothing's Harder Than A Song." We've been fans of Dunphy's work for many years and can't recommend highly enough this 7" pressing of two gems from this artist's back catalogue. It ticks most of our boxes: this is independent music, progressive in nature, full of hooks, and pressed to vinyl. The handful of copies being manufactured will not remain available for long.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Record Store Day 2017

Well, the official Record Store Day 2017 list has finally released. The whole event always feels a bit conflicted: the idea is to release special/limited/early items in order to celebrate Independent Record Stores and encourage folks to actually set foot inside one, but the limited nature of the items on offer nearly guarantees that your only sure chance of acquiring the object of your heart's desire will come through the online secondary market. So, it's fun, it grabs the attention of folks who aren't already frequenting their local Independent Record Stores, those Stores garner a big day of sales, but in the end it just sends people back online for their purchases.

Nonetheless, RSD delivers--as always--with some truly cool items. From Pink Floyd and ELP reissues to a Yes picture disc and a much-heralded double-dose of Bowie vinyl, all the way around to a Johnny Cash children's album and Lemmy's last Motörhead live LP, there's something on the list to tickle most music fans' fancies. We've got a short list ourselves. Here's our Radio Eclectic picks to Grab-'Em-If-You-Can-Snag-'Em on April 22.

The Dark Crystal OST by Trevor Jones, 1,500 Copies
Classic movie, classic score, great LP jacket art. This'll prompt repeated listens, and it serves a dual-purpose as a conversation piece.

Batdance by Prince, 300 Copies
RSD 2017 features the first appearance of several Prince 12" reissues, but ain't none as precious as the Batdance. The single was a #1 smash in 1989, but didn't even make WB's The Hits compilation in 1993, and has since been largely squirreled away by the artist himself. 

Cygnus X-1 by Rush, 5,000 Copies
Finally, both Cygnus X-1 epics are together on one LP! Not that there's anything wrong with spinning A Farewell To Kings and Hemispheres back-to-back, but this is an obvious pairing that's taken nearly 40 years to appear. This also features new, funny art from Hugh Syme, which makes it feel like an honest-to-goodness Rush concept album that never was.

Kashif: The Queen Symphony by Tolga Kashif & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 400 Copies
Sure, this one comes off as a bit of a novelty release, but it appears to be a true novelty. It's Queen music, and it's a symphony, but it's not just orchestrated versions of Queen songs. The combination of majestic source material with a big classical engine sounds like the recipe for a real emotional powerhouse.

If you don't manage to snag one of the above releases, or your own personal favourite from the list, you can easily still make RSD 2017 count in your favour. Go into your local Independent Record Store with a couple of choice artists in mind, and pick up a used LP that's missing from your collection. Many stores will have deep sales on RSD Saturday, so maybe even pick up two LPs. Alternatively, purchase a new copy of a recent album that you never quite got around to before. And make a New Music Year's Resolution to hit up your local shop at least once a month until RSD 2018, if only for the mental health benefits of crate digging and human interaction with other music lovers.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday Matinee: Milliontown by Frost*

Progressive Epics. Folky Meditations. Extended Jazz Improvisations. Some songs are just long, y'know? So when better to sit down and take it all in than on a Saturday with your beverage of choice in hand?

Today's Matinee: "Milliontown," the 26 minute epic that garnered Frost* some very favourable attention in the progressive music world. While it hits several of the prog epic marks, this track also stands out for its truly modern production and Jem Godfrey's captivating art-pop keys and vocals.

Friday, March 17, 2017

One Sentence Reviews: The Night Siren by Steve Hackett

Forget the details; let's get to the heart of the matter. Here's our one-sentence review for Steve Hackett's latest album, The Night Siren.

Classic Hackett leads cry the alarm whilst diverse musical accents frame Clapton-esque vocal melodies; the more the merrier, indeed.