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BLURRED VISION/Organized Insanity: Youngsters discovered by Roger Waters and on tour with Uriah Heep, they might sing about modern concerns but they sound like a classic, malcontent prog rock bunch who looked forward to a career as road warriors back in the day when people cared. Giving voice to suburban/exurban voiceless, this trio rocks it up hard and can be expected to cut through the dross not being an opening act for long.

DREAMING TREE/Silverfade: Funny how you can hear New Order, Brian Auger and Chip Davis lurking in the mix here. All the while staying true to their alt.rock/prog heritages, the stateside youth that looks up to English malcontents won't have to share dad or big brother's albums anymore since this will serve as a sound of their own. This is a bunch of pros that know how to move forward in the service of the sound and they do a great job of it.

KERN PRATT/Broken Chains: One of those fine regional cats that you probably never would have heard of before Internet, Kern is a white boy shot full of Delta blues. With the area's show band roots on his musical DNA, there's no clichés or dust on this recent local musical hall of fame inductee. Bringing to bear the originality that made his musical forbearers such originals, Pratt is a find the Delta needs to share with the rest of us. Well done.

BLESSID UNION OF SOULS/Live at Never on Sunday: One of those funny alt.rock bands the never had a lot of big hits but had a devoted following that stayed with them through thick and thin, BUOS treats those fans right here with a cd-dvd combo pack that presents them in full arena rock glory---even if those days are in the rear view mirror. Not playing it like a victory lap, the band still maintains a solid presence allowing them to apply all the right moves at all the right times quite appropriately. 90s nostalgia? Who'da think it when the modern nostalgia machine started rolling? All that aside, these cats do not play like fossils.

KYRBGRINDER/Chronicles of a Dark Machine: I haven't heard power thrash like this since Metalica was just another hard core band on an indie label. Hard hitting stuff that kids will love, this is the sound of the suburbs no matter what part of the world it comes from. And it's so much better because these cats know what they're doing. You like it hard and heavy and going places other than in circles? If so, check it out.

LUCIFER'S FRIEND/Awakening: It hardly seems like 40 years have gone by since LF launched their sonic attack on America via Chicago's small but mightily intentioned Billingsgate Records. The label's reach and grasp were not in synch and LF was a beloved band well on it's way to an episode of "Behind the Music". Reforming for the first time in 20 years, you can't make fun of this power rock trio for being geezers because they just don't play like it. Skateboarders have been behind the band's renaissance as these grandfathers of hard prog just give the kids the extreme sonic fuel they need/want. Always music to release pent up hormones to, these guys helped write the book on power trio rock and their new stuff points to the future as well. Classic hard rock without the clichés, dad and lad have bonded over weirder things. Check it out.

QUILL/Brush With the Moon: This English folk rock band has an interesting enough background that you should Google it if you like stuff that falls somewhere between early Fairport Convention and Brinsley Schwarz. With a bunch of classic rockers on board for this incarnation, the lead vocalist makes this a tribute to her late husband who was also her band mate and chief writer. Easily one of the best modern folk vocalists in England, Joy Strachan-Brain has lived this sound and music and applies her talents to it in a wonderful way. Like nothing you'd expect from the crew on board here, this is a killer gate way into what feels like the English country side where all the various fairy dust of the various UK locales comes together to create real magic. Well done.

JOHN WETTON/Anthology V. 1-The Studio Recordings: Because he was never in a band that had a name that sounded like a law firm, America is such a big country that you can find plenty of people who would answer "John Who?" when asked if they ever heard of him----this after fronting three huge bands and a successful solo career. To save licensing headaches, these cuts are culled from his 6 solo albums. With a lot of memories not going back 45 years or more, these tracks sound very much like real deal recordings even when totally original. A solid chap with solid chops, he's a real reminder of what it was to be a real muso back in the day. What a sound that recalls when prog met AOR, this is a sound any self-respecting boomer can reel in with pride. Killer stuff, and he's calling it V. 1? Wow.

JOHN WETTON & the Les Paul Trio/New York Minute: What an interesting off the clock bag breaker. Playing Les Paul's Monday night stomping ground with Paul's standing trio, Wetton plays a bunch of songs he likes he had nothing to do with because he's on a busman's holiday. Also interesting---we get to hear Arbors' all star bass player, Nikki Parrott, doing something other than playing polite, on point mainstream jazz. The set list might look random to the non-hardcore music fan, but it just proves that high spots and quality were not meant to be contained. We could use more holidays like this one.

LANDMARQ/Roadskill Live in the Netherlands: Prog rockers with 25 years in, this second generation prog rock crew is in prime position to ride the nu wave of prog. Playing like they were to the manor born, this crew delivers. With a lady vocalist fronting it all, she brings a nice change of pace that the ears really appreciate. A show band in prog rock clothes, these cats remember their first mission is to entertain and they really to it. Killer stuff throughout--and the included DVD only adds to the fun.

Volume 38/Number 232
June 20, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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