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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The VAN HALEN reunion has been "postponed indefinitely" as apparently Dave Lee Roth and the promoters Live Nation have not signed contracts yet!

The Isle of Wight Festival which takes place at Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th June 2007 has announced the first acts, including the Friday and Saturday headliners. Confirmed for the Friday are headliner Snow Patrol, plus The Feeling.
Confirmed for the Saturday are headliner Muse, plus special guests Kasabian, Amy Winehouse, Ash, and Arno Carstens.
For the Sunday the headliner is still to be announced (although the Rolling Stones are 99% confirmed). Acts so far confirmed for this day are Keane, the Fratellis, Paolo Nutini and James Morrison. Wolfmother are also confirmed, but no day was given.

Tori Amos is to return with her ninth studio album on April 30 entitled American Doll Posse.

Ian Astbury has officially finished his stint with ex-Doors members in Riders of the Strom, to concentrate solely on the Cult.

Former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle is back with a new album. It's called Artimus Venomus, and it features him on lead vocals, as well as drums. Pyle has put four of the new songs on his official site at www.myspace.com/artimuspyleband

PRESS RELEASES

Lion Music will release the following two titles on March 23:
Sun Caged - Artemisia - Artemisia is a metaphorical place. In some ways it's akin to Neverland, and in other ways, its opposite. People we've lost and dreams' we've let go find themselves here. There's sadness about the place, and yet a warm glow as we stroll among memories of what might've been. The music paints the landscape, and the lyrics serve as our guide as we tour this place. The classical met aphors and allegories are stripped of their pretence and rejoined with their humanistic origins. Pain and loss are recurring themes, as is the never-ending quest for the understanding, strength and humility that living in the real world demands.
Back with a virtually new line-up, yet a musical nod to the past, Sun Caged return with Artemisia, their second album and four years after their self titled debut (LMC070).
Since the debut the band have seen almost wholesale changes in personnel with only guitarist and band founder Marcel Coenen remaining from the debut. Yet the typical Sun Caged sound is still present, if anything even richer with even more different sounds and styles than heard on the debut. The new band members and Coenen have delved deep to deliver an album that acts on creative impulses, without limiting themselves to the standard bag of tricks often heard in the progressive genre. Artemisia delivers an album full of unstoppable vocal melody, virtuoso guitar work, odd time signatures and complex chord sequences all topped off with an ultra powerful production.
Track Listing - 01. Lyre's Harmony, 02. A Fair Trade, 03. Unborn, 04. Bloodline, 05. Painted Eyes, 06. Engelbert the Inchworm, 07. Afraid to Fly, 08. Dialogue, 09. Departing Words, 10. Doldrums.
Band Members: Paul Adrian Villarreal – Vocals and Acoustic Guitar, Marcel Coenen – Guitars and Backing Vocals, Roel Vink – Bass Guitar, Rene Kroon – Keyboards and Backing Vocals, Roel Van Helden – Drums and Percussion.

Francesco Fareri - Secrets Within - Italian guitar blazer Francesco Fareri will release his second album on Lion Music on March 23rd 2007. Entitled "Secrets Within". The new album contains 2 contrasting sides of Francesco's musical vision and is quite different from Francesco's previous release "Forbidden Dimension" (LMC147) in his playing, ideas and approach to music in general.
Secrets Within is divided into two movements, one heavy and one acoustic to better show all of Francesco's ideas, feelings and the way he considers music. Francesco simply comments, "I believe this album to be the best material I've ever released and the one that best represents me. This album is really introspective and very important for me, it was inspired from the experience of the impossible things happened in the last years and from everyday stuff. This isn't a guitar album, as I wanted all the instruments to have the same importance in every song. I really care recording all music in general with particular attention".
"Secrets Within" two movements are sub titled, "Into The Dark Line" which is the heavy part of the album and is more into shred and progressive metal yet with a lot of themes, melodies and unison passages. Whilst the second movement of the album "Out Of The Dark Line" is acoustic and is only guitar and piano/keyboards with more delicate melodies and some really introspective moments.
"Secrets Within" sees Francesco team up with a wealth of virtuoso musicians in Kyle Honea on Bass and Lucrezio de Seta on Drums. On these musicians contribution Francesco states, "The experience and confidence of players like Kyle Honea and Lucrezio de Seta improved the songs because they understood exactly what I wanted to record and they played with their style but focusing on my main idea. They are the best rhythm section ever heard!"
"Secrets Within also features guest keyboard/piano solos from Vitalij Kuprij (Artension / ex Ring Of Fire / Solo) and Bob Katsionis (Imaginery / Firewind / Solo).
The CD also contains extra material with photos, transcriptions, videos, a diary of the making of "Secrets Within" and much more.
Track Listing: Into the Dark Line - Secrets Within, Circle, Lies, Sonic Garden, The Waves, Destiny, Liquid World, Present Glow, Scenes; Out of the Dark Line - Parallel Lives, Wood of Silence, Masquerade, Undefined, Seasons, Secret World.
Musicians: Francesco Fareri - Guitars & Keyboards, Kyle Honea - Bass, Lucrezio de Seta - Drums; Guest players: Vitalij Kuprij - Keyboards solos & Piano on 'Secrets Within' and Bob Katsionis - Keyboards solos on 'Liquid World'.

GIG NEWS

THE WILDHEARTS
23RD APRIL - THE BROOK - SOUTHAMPTON
24TH APRIL - ANSON ROOMS - BRISTOL
25TH APRIL - THE POINT - CARDIFF
28TH APRIL - OXFORD ZODIAC - OXFORD
30TH APRIL - WULFRUN HALL - WOLVERHAMPTON
3RD MAY - THE CORPORATION - SHEFFIELD
4TH MAY - MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY - MANCHESTER
5TH MAY - ROCK CITY - NOTTINGHAM
7TH MAY - CARLING ACADEMY - NEWCASTLE
8TH MAY - CATHOUSE – GLASGOW

BLONDIE, JAMES and MADNESS are rumoured for this year’s Guilfest in July.

PEARL JAM
June 23rd Hyde Park, London (TBC)

REVIEWS

MOSTLY AUTUMN ‘Heart Full Of Sky’ (2007) www.mostly-autumn.com

Mostly Autumn are back and now on their own record label. There are also some guest musicians on here including Steeleye Span’s Peter Knight on violin, session musician David ‘Munch’ Moore (Gary Moore/Bo Diddley/Colosseum) and ex-Karnataka vocalist Anne-Marie Helder.
This album is classic Mostly Autumn – glorious musical passages, everything from folk through to rock tunes and the wonderful vocals of Heather Findlay. Opener ‘Fading Colours’ is simply stunning from the opening keyboards right through to the closing notes. You can’t quite pinpoint what makes Mostly Autumn so good but this track is a good as intro as to why they are so special (they revisit part of this song in ‘Further From Home’ later on in the album). ‘Pocket Watch’ is another gem, with Bryan Josh taking the vocal spotlight (his guitar work is as ever stunning). ‘Dreaming’ sees the band rock out at the start before drifting into a very progressive piece of music. ‘Walk With A Storm’ has a neat Hammond organ run courtesy of David Moore plus the violin of Peter Knight. Personally I love it when they do their folk ballads and this album doesn’t disappoint as ‘Find The Sun’ amply satisfies.
Basically if you have any albums by Fairport Convention, Pink Floyd, Marillion, Blackmore’s Night, Camel or Clannad in your collection then add this album pronto as you won’t be disappointed. They do their own thing and do it so well.

*****
Jason Ritchie

BLOOM ‘Shoulder to Cry On’ (CDS 2007) www.myspace.com/bloomonline

The band release their debut album in the summer but prior to this comes this single released in March. Along with a tune by Snow Patrol this has been chosen as part of the anti-bullying campaign and a worthy song it is too. Hints of Pearl Jam (but with a decent vocalist!) and even Coldplay in the backing arrangements. Worthy of chart success on the tune alone and their debut will be one to watch out for this summer.

****
Jason Ritchie

CAPDOWN ‘Surviving the Death of A Genre’ Fierce Panda (CDS 2007) www.fiercepanda.co.uk

Doubtless they have their fans but Capdown’s indie/ska sound does little for me I am afraid. It is listenable enough but not a tune you’d be playing in a year’s time IO am sure. Like many a band they will be here today gone tomorrow…

**1/2
Jason Ritchie

THE ANSWER ‘Be What You Want’ Albert Productions (CDS 2007)

Possibly one of the weakest tracks on the band’s excellent debut album from last year, although still a good tune and one sure to gain wide airplay due to its slower vibe. Also on here are a cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Sweet Emotion’ – great fun, an acoustic take on ‘Into The Gutter’ and a live version of the excellent ‘No questions Asked’. Can’t wait for the band’s second album…

****
Jason Ritchie

ED WINSLET (Demo 2007) www.myspace.com/edwinslet

A very talented young singer/songwriter based in southern England. This three track sampler CD is very good and he is streets above the blandness of James Blunt. Pick of the tracks has to be ‘Changing Now’, with Winslett hitting the high notes towards the end of the tack. Not unlike REM is sound at times, whilst ‘Imaginary Friend’ is another fine tune and Winslet again displays a very rich, strong voice. Highly recommended and worth a listen on his MySpace site.

****
Jason Ritchie

THE DOOBIE BROTHERS ‘The Very Best Of’ (2007 2 CD) Rhino www.rhino.com

The Doobie Brothers have a long and varied history and back in 2000 released a new studio album. This two disc collection covers their entire career, although personally I don’t really like the Michael McDonald years! Disc one is of most interest, with the hits ‘Listen To The Music’, ‘Long Train Runnin’ and ‘China Grove’, featuring a great guitar riff throughout he song. The band had a great sense of harmony as well as you can hear on ‘Another Park, Another Sunday’ and ‘Black Water’, the latter similar to the Little River Band. When Michael McDonald joined in the late 70’s their music really goes bland for me and a tad to jazz/easy listening. Although ‘Minute By Minute’ is the pick of the McDonald years. Disc two includes songs from their three albums released after 1989, with ‘The Doctor’ seeing the rock quota increased (and Michael McDonald out of the band!). With its piano and guitar solos you could easily imagine Lynyrd Skynyrd playing this one. ‘Rollin’ On’ highlights the band’s harmonies once more, with ‘Ordinary Man’ lifted of their last studio album.
Depends on your musical taste really as I love the band’s early and later years but steer well clear of the McDonald years, which many will doubtless love. A good collection for the casual/new fan and worth it for disc one alone.

***1/2
Jason Ritchie

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