Tag Archives: rock


Great to have new music from the Divine Comedy and ‘Queuejumper‘ is a catchy little ditty that bodes well for the upcoming double album ‘Office Politics’ due on June 7.

Creed vocalist Scott Stapp returns with a new song – an enjoyable piece of modern rock. Or as the PR blurb says…

“Purpose For Pain” is an auto-biographical rush of memories, from abuse, to escape, and going from bad to worse before finding the beauty in life’s hard-learned lessons. The single is the first from Stapp’s upcoming album “The Space Between The Shadows”, out in July 2019 on Napalm Records.

Also some bonkers space power metal from Gloryhammer, who have a new album, also released on Napalm Records, called ‘Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex’ which is out on May 31.

Incoming music…KIAN SPARKES

Kian Sparkes is a musician/audio engineer who has released a series of EPs and albums to date. The four songs on the free EP are well produced rock with a distinct country feel. Not surprising given his love of Lynyrd Skynyrd! ‘Has It Got What It Takes’ is a tasty classic rock fuelled tune, featuring plenty of loud guitar. The other stand out is the country rocker ‘Come Outside (And Hold My Hand)’, one perfect for daytime radio. Maybe not the strongest vocalist, however the songs have strong melodies and tales of the everday in the lyrics.

You can grab a free download here


Couple of upcoming releases on MelodicRock Records are in the review pile.

Cannonballz features vocalist Robbie Le Blanc (Find Me, Blanc Faces) plus Living Colour bassit Doug Wimbish and drummer Jonathan Mover (ex-GTR, Marillion) amongst its line-up. Guitarist Alan Friedman is the driving force behind it all and it has a smooth production, bringing to mind Toto and Find Me. The album is out on May 10.

LastWorld sees Jim Shepherd and David Cagle teamed up by MRR head honcho Andrew McNeice, with JK Northrup on mastering. After enjoying last year’s Cagle & Northrup and Jim Shepherd’s solo releases I am pleased to say this team-up works well. Lots of keys and anotehr chance for the vocal talents of David Cagle to come to the fore.

Music news – YES Announces “The Royal Affair Tour” Launching June 12

The 2019 summer concert calendar has just been lit up with the announcement of YES’ North American concert tour, “The Royal Affair Tour.” Headlined by prog rock pioneers and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees YES, who triumphed last year with their acclaimed and hugely successful #YES50: Celebrating 50 Years of YES tour, this must-see best-of-British-rock show will also feature Asia with the return of founding member Steve Howe in a special performance, John Lodge of The Moody Blues, and Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy with guest vocals by Arthur Brown. View the trailer:

The first set of dates for “The Royal Affair Tour” has been announced. The trek will launch Wednesday, June 12 in Bethlehem, PA and visit cities including Holmdel, NJ; Toronto; Nashville, Hollywood, FL; Phoenix; Las Vegas; and Irvine, CA before wrapping Sunday, July 28 in Saratoga, CA. Most shows go on sale Friday, April 5. More dates will be revealed in the coming weeks.

YES is Steve Howe (guitar – joined 1970), Alan White (drums since 1972), Geoff Downes (keyboards; first joined in 1980), Jon Davison (vocals since 2011) and Billy Sherwood (guitar/keyboards in the 1990s and the late Chris Squire’s choice to take over bass/vocals in 2015), with Jay Schellen on additional drums. See quotes below from YES.

Look for YES to perform songs from throughout their storied career, one of rock music’s most prized bodies of work, and their set will honor the memory of YES members Chris Squire and Peter Banks.

• Asia will play their signature songs and pay tribute to their late founding member John Wetton. A portion of their set will feature original guitarist Steve Howe in a special performance. Asia will also introduce its new line-up featuring guitarist/lead vocalist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and bassist Billy Sherwood.

• John Lodge’s set will encompass his classic hits by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Moody Blues and pay tribute to the band’s recently departed member Ray Thomas.

• Carl Palmer will honor the memory of his fellow Emerson, Lake and Palmer members Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, with vocals by British vocalist Arthur Brown.

• As part of the evening’s British theme, there will be Alan White of YES’ tribute to John Lennon; White was the drummer on Lennon’s solo material including the recording of “Imagine.”

Steve Howe: “Yes is delighted to headline this celebration of British music which has been so warmly received in America over the past five decades.”

Alan White: “I’m looking forward to joining a number of classic British talents that have delighted so many fans over the past half century.”

Geoff Downes: “This is a unique celebration of the British contribution to classic rock over many decades. It will be inspirational to be a part of. And I know it is what John Wetton would have wanted.”

Music news – BIG BIG TRAIN announce new album & tour dates

New album Big Big Train will be releasing Grand Tour, their new studio album, on May 17th 2019. It is available for pre-order now: follow the links on the front page of our website. Inspired by the 17th and 18th century custom of the Grand Tour, where young men and women travelled to broaden the mind, Big Big Train have made an album of songs set in distant lands and beyond. Grand Tour features nine new tracks which will take listeners on an epic journey over land and sea and through time and space.

Drummer Nick D’Virgilio says: “There are songs inspired by the legacy of the Italian Renaissance genius, Leonardo da Vinci; songs telling the story of the rise and fall of Rome; of the beautiful mosaics of Ravenna, and of the shipwreck of a great poet, lost in a tempest off the coast of Italy. Along the way, the story of mankind’s greatest ever journey is told.”

Vocalist David Longdon says: “Grand Tour is a celebration of the human experience, of science and art, and of what it means to be alive.” The album will be available on double heavyweight gatefold vinyl (featuring a 24 page booklet), digipack CD (featuring a 52 page booklet), on standard and hi-resolution (24/96) download, and on streaming
Track list: Novum Organum (2:33)
Alive (4:31)
The Florentine (8:14)
Roman Stone (13:33)
Pantheon (6:08)
Theodora in Green and Gold (5:38)
Ariel (14:28)
Voyager (14:03)
Homesong (5:12)

UK Tour 2019 (with special guests Sweet Billy Pilgrim)
EDINBURGH Queen’s Hall Saturday 26th October
NEWCASTLE City Hall Sunday 27th October
HALIFAX Victoria Theatre Tuesday 29th October
BIRMINGHAM Town Hall Wednesday 30th October
NEWPORT Riverfront Friday 1st November
LONDON Hackney Empire Saturday 2nd November
Tickets from venue box offices Presented by The Merch Desk

Website relaunch

The Big Big Train website has undergone a wholesale re-design by Steve Cadman of bandbutler.com. Come and pay us a visit!  

Best wishes, Danny, Dave, David, Greg, Nick, Rachel & Rikard
Big Big Train

Music news – LONELY ROBOT launch ‘Ancient Ascendant’ video; first track taken from new album ‘Under Stars’

Photo credit: Tom Barnes

Lonely Robot, the project masterminded by producer, guitarist and singer/songwriter John Mitchell (Kino, Frost*, Arena, It Bites), recently announced the release of ‘Under Stars’ for the 26th April 2019.

Today sees the launch of the first track taken from the album, and you can watch the video for ‘Ancient Ascendant’ here: https://youtu.be/zwf-bm-sd3Y

John comments: “Ancient Ascendant is a wry poke at and indeed musical equivalent of the famous ‘evolution of man’ picture. We may be evolutionary but we seem to be walking backwards into the swampy quagmire of a synthesized society. Maybe we can learn something from the simpler times and customs of our ancestors even if we can’t learn from their history. This was the first song I recorded for Under Stars and I had a ball recording it!”

The album once again features drums by long-time collaborator Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson), plus bass contributions from Steve Vantsis (Fish), with all other instrumentation on the album delivered by Mitchell himself.

John comments of the record: “It is the final part in the astronaut trilogy, and was recorded over an intensive month and a half period. This time I wanted to reference my love of 80’s synthwave pop a little more, so beware the 808! The title is derived from belief that we as humans spend far too much time not noticing the beauty around us and far too much time tethered to technology.”

‘Under Stars’ will be released as a limited edition digipak CD (featuring 3 bonus tracks), gatefold 2LP + CD & as digital album. Pre-order now here: https://lonelyrobot.lnk.to/UnderStars/

The track-listing is as follows:

1.      Terminal Earth

2.      Ancient Ascendant

3.      Icarus

4.      Under Stars

5.      Authorship Of Our Lives

6.      The Signal

7.      The Only Time I Don’t Belong Is Now

8.      When Gravity Fails

9.      How Bright Is The Sun?

10.  Inside This Machine

11.  An Ending

12.  How Bright Is The Sun? (Cosmic Mix)* CD / digital bonus track

13.  Under Stars (Cosmic Mix)* CD / digital bonus track

14.  Lonely Robot – Chapter One – Airlock* CD / digital bonus track

‘Under Stars’ is the final album in a trilogy for Lonely Robot, John Mitchell’s visionary project. This began in 2015 with the ‘Please Come Home’ album and continued two years later with ”The Big Dream’.

“I always saw this as a trilogy, and it feels like the third part of the Lonely Robot master plan has reached a natural conclusion.”

As with the two previous albums, there is a theme running across the songs here, as Mitchell explains. “On ‘Please Come Home’, the theme was about the idea that life on Earth didn’t originate from this planet, while for ‘The Big Dream’, I was really giving everyone the benefit of Zen musings according to John Mitchell. This time things are a little more down to earth. What I am doing is looking the millennial generation, and the fact that kids today are so tied to their phones and to technology. They really have no clue what is actually going on around them, and I find that worrying.”

John Mitchell is a man with a rich musical heritage and history – from musician and vocalist, to songwriter and producer. With bands like Arena, Frost*, Kino, It Bites and Lonely Robot, to name but a few, Mitchell has left his mark on the current progressive rock scene and has been involved in dozens of recordings. He is also a respected producer & mixer, running Outhouse Studios in the UK and working with artists as diverse as You Me At Six, Enter Shikari, Alter Bridge, Asia, Don Broco, Funeral For A Friend, McFly & much more.










The Beta Machine, led by bassist, vocalist and keyboardist Matt McJunkins and drummer Jeff Friedl, and featuring vocalist Claire Acey and guitarist/keyboardist Nicholas Perez, have signed a global deal with Andy Gould’s T-Boy Records and Universal Music Enterprises (UMe). The band’s debut full-length album, Intruder, will be released worldwide on 29th March by T-Boy/UMe. It will be released in the UK by UMC. Starting today, the album is available for preorder on CD, digital, and colour vinyl LP formats. The album’s lead single, “Embers,” is also released today and is available for streaming and for immediate download with album preorder. The Beta Machine is on tour throughout 2019 with headlining dates across North America and Europe.

Based in Los Angeles, The Beta Machine’s McJunkins and Friedl are well known for their roles in the rhythm section of A Perfect Circle. “Musicians’ musician” is a term that can be overused, but in the case of McJunkins and Friedl, it’s well-suited. Both accomplished and sought-after musicians, the two first rubbed shoulders when they auditioned for Ashes Divide, led by A Perfect Circle’s Billy Howerdel.

Recognising a powerful creative bond that went beyond that band’s ranks, the duo was soon asked to join Puscifer, led by Tool frontman and APC co-founder Maynard James Keenan. Their associations still extend far beyond that cluster of bands: Friedl has performed with Filter and Devo, McJunkins with Thirty Seconds to Mars, and the pair also appeared together in Eagles of Death Metal.

As Friedl puts it, he and McJunkins would take material incompatible with their other collaborations and stow it away for then-mysterious future use. As the pair continued to work together, the creative energy started flowing freely. “We just had such a good rapport with each other,” McJunkins recalls. “The ideas flowed nicely. There weren’t any ego problems along the way.”

The pair put a name to the energetic, futuristic sound they were developing: The Beta Machine. But they wouldn’t be alone in their mission. They had already worked and palled around with vocalist Claire Acey (of Nightmare of the Cat) and guitarist and keyboardist Nicholas Perez, who both gamely stepped up to join them for The Beta Machine’s lineup.

Together, The Beta Machine’s members found a respite from the public expectations of their other musical projects; creative experimentation and eclecticism were shared goals. The band established itself with the 2017 release of an EP titled “All This Time,” revealing a new, exciting sound and aesthetic, at once familiar to fans of forward-thinking rock, but without the constraints of any genre boundaries.

“It’s hard for any artist or band to exist outside of a bubble,” says McJunkins. “They get pigeonholed pretty easily into being known for one thing. We’re trying to create a wide range so we don’t fall into those traps.”

Fans might hear the Intruder album as an extension of the “All This Time” EP, springing forward into fresh and unpredictable terrain. Highlights are everywhere: the album’s lead single “Embers” rides on a haunting tandem vocal between McJunkins and Acey, “Bones,” is a shimmering ballad, and “Palindrome” kicks up the energy for a synth-driven epic.

One could draw connective lines from The Beta Machine along myriad avenues of contemporary popular music. There are shades of goth and new-wave; The Cure and Blondie here, New Order and Depeche Mode there, synthesized brooding everywhere. But the band doesn’t lay bare any specific influences in their music. Rather, a deep wellspring of collective creative experience fuels The Beta Machine’s songwriting, recording, and performance.

The Beta Machine has already toured extensively. A Perfect Circle’s recent arena tour featured the band as its only opener, with McJunkins and Friedl’s rhythmic engine revving through both sets every night.

The Beta Machine is on the road for much of 2019, bringing Intruder to cities across North America and Europe. The fledgling band’s next steps are significant and important to its founding members:

It’s such a new project. The world is our oyster,” says Friedl. “We’re hoping that at the end of the day, we have a pretty vast, varied fanbase full of people who appreciate all the vibes we put on the record.”

McJunkins adds, “We just want people to enjoy themselves and have fun. We hope we can bring an energy that moves people.”

Whether the sounds of Intruder inspire their burgeoning fanbase to dance, brood or ponder, it’s all part of the deal for The Beta Machine.


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The Beta Machine:  Intruder [CD; digital; colour vinyl]

1.  Embers

2.  Your Enemy

3.  Precious Design

4.  Someday

5.  Palindrome

6.  Ghosts

7.  Bones

8.  The Fall

9.  Intruder

10. Bleed For You