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Three New Must Hear Albums! New Music is Now!

This has been a fantastic week of new releases. Fans that want their music with more experimentation and creativity need look no further than these 3 new albums.

SteveWilsonRavenFirst up is the new album from Steven Wilson, The Raven That Refused To Sing. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Steven, he is the founder of Porcupine Tree and has been involved in many prog and experiment endeavors both as an artist and a producer. Never before has he reached these heights however. It may pain some Tree fans out there, but this album is definitely the best thing he has ever done, and that is saying something. It is the culmination of what he’s been trying to achieve with Porcupine Tree. Progressive art rock and fusion fans will love it, but there’s more here going on that should attract others as well. Serious Yes fans will have a hay day with the first track, “Luminol” which borrows liberally from the band, including the Drama style opening and the vocals and arrangements at about 7:40 into the song. There is also some flute and orchestration that reminds me of Chris Squire’s Fish Out of Water solo album. In fact, the bass on this first track is very Yes and King Crimson, which shouldn’t be a total surprise as the bass and Chapman player on this album is the amazing Nick Beggs who ranks up there with the greats. This album pushes the limits and boundaries unlike anything that you have heard in awhile. If only the groups and artists that influenced this record were still making albums as good as this. Just because you can hear some blatant influences here and there doesn’t mean this one isn’t original. The best way I can describe it is Steven took the best of his Porcupine Tree style to a whole other level. You can definitely hear him and that bands sound all over the record. There is no doubt this is Steven Wilson, but it is so much better than his first solo album or anything he’s done. The vocals, the arrangements and the songs are all superb and one step beyond. It’s edgy, it is beautiful and somehow manages to be both melodic and experimental at the same time. Not a bad song on it and it is diverse enough to hold the interested of even the most jaded listeners. Steven Wilson has made his Fragile or OK Computer.
Check it out here: http://stevenwilsonhq.com/

AtomsForPeaceSpeaking of OK Computer, I gave up on Thom Yorke and Radiohead years ago. I have bought and listened to everything he’s done, but the only 3 albums I can stomach were the first three, Pablo Honey, The Bends and OK Computer. Part of that may be because they were so brilliant and Thom and the boys couldn’t live up to that. But the songwriting itself, not to mention the sound, took a sharp turn into ambient drudgery that is so awful; I think no one would buy it if it didn’t have the name Radiohead on it. That’s my opinion, please don’t flame me for it. I know so many critics fall all over themselves for everything that band touches but it’s not for me. Thom’s solo effort and work outside of Radiohead has also left me wanting…until now. Thom has put together a band with Nigel Godrich (Radiohead’s long-time producer) and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) called Atoms For Peace and this week saw the release of their debut album, Amok. Thom and the crew have been working on this one since 2010 and Yorke’s electronic experimentation continues on this album, but what makes it work here, versus everything he’s attempted since OK Computer, are the songs. They have a groove; they have vocals and real instrumentation that you can hear.  The elements all come together here to form a quirky mix that electronica fans and Radiohead fans should equally enjoy. I don’t love it, but I like it, a lot. It is extremely creative and original, unlike anything else out there. Thom’s voice shines when he lets it and I think this is going to be incredible when performed live. That said, it’s not a hooky record with memorable melodies for a sing-a-long, nor can you dance to it (not that I’m looking for anything to dance to) but it is full of quirky keyboards and sounds that manage to hold my interest. Thom’s lyrics are moody and interesting and the music is experimental and fun enough to hold your interest. This is an album to put on when you really want something different to listen to. Start with the tracks “Before My Very Eyes” and “Ingenue.” The artwork and packaging are brilliant as well.
Check it out here: http://atomsforpeace.info/

Everything-Everything-ArcWhile Atoms For Peace is a good record, it probably won’t make my top ten this year, we’ll see how things shape up. One record that definitely will make it is the new one from Everything Everything. I have saved the best for last here. The new one is called Arc and it is yet another brilliant album coming out of the UK. This one sets itself apart though by managing to be totally original. Arc is only available as an import right now, but it is worth the extra few bucks. The amazon.co.uk store has the deluxe version with a disc of 6 bonus tracks and it is well worth the price of admission! I discovered this band back in 2010 at SXSW and they were fantastic. Their Man Alive album had a couple of great songs that I played on the ObviousPopCast. Arc is a huge step forward though because the entire record is great, from start to finish. You can currently get two of the tracks from the album (both are very good) on iTunes right now. The first single and one of my favorites is “Cough Cough.” Great song, and dare I use this word again, it’s very “quirky!” Take that Andre Salles! I actually have Andre to thank because I wasn’t aware this new one was releasing and he gave me the heads up. Check out his totally different an much more professional reviews at www.tm3am.com . Another stand out track is “Kemosabe” and is also available now on the “Cough Cough” EP on iTunes. If you like those 2 tracks you’ll love the entire record. If you don’t, well, what in the world is wrong with you?
Check it out here: http://www.everything-everything.co.uk/home

COMING SOON: New podcast with new music and more!

 


Corin Ashley’s Power Pop Dream

CorinAshleyNewLionTerracesCorin’s dream comes true with his New Lion Terraces release. This is the album he’s always wanted to make. His dream was to record at Abbey Road studios in the shadows of his musical heroes like The Beatles and Badfinger. I have to say he’s living the dream and has to be happy with the results. Sure, the fact that he scraped and saved to fulfill a dream of recording there is a neat story, but it wouldn’t matter if the songs and final results were not good. Fortunately this fantastic album is a power pop masterpiece. Fans of Badfinger, Matthew Sweet, The Beatles and Jellyfish need to grab this one. Don’t get me wrong, the recording sounds like it was done like a classic album in a great studio, you know right away this is not a bedroom recording, so there is something still to be said about Abbey Road...But again, it’s the songs that make it. The hooks and the wonderful arrangements are the highlight here. With each listen I find something new to enjoy. "Geeze Louise" is the obvious single that will be played on the ObviousPopCast, but it’s a tough call when every song sounds like an A-Side. "Second Hand Halo" is a close second.  There’s still time to donate to his Pledge Music drive and get a copy. I recommend the CD and Vinyl!

Check it out here: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/corinashley