Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week, there’s unreleased stuff from The Boss, some prog, pop-rock, Brit goth metal…oh., and a cool book from The Human Riff. It’s all go as we head towards Christmas
Words: Malcolm Dome
Bruce Springsteen gives his fans a real pre-Christmas treat with a double album of 21 previously unreleased songs on The Promise (Sony). These were all recorded during the sessions for the Darkness On The Edge Of Town sessions, and the only puzzle is why it’s taken so long for them to come out. Most are really high quality, capturing the spirit of The Boss at the time. And they beat the hell out of some of the dross released by Bruce wannabes over the last 30 years or so.
Creation’s Tears are yet another bunch of Brit goth metallers. You can’t move for the somnabulance, soliloquys and mournful tones of these bands right now. But Methods To End It All (Cure For Poison) is actually rather decent. Imagine a cross between Lacuna Coil and Anathema, and there you have the template. The track Creation’s Tears itself is really effective and affecting. Make a note of the name.
Seagull Kinevil gave a way a song recently as a Track of The Day. Now check out their whole album. To Insanity And Beyond (Seagull Kinevil) is occasionally wacky, certainly wacked out and combines camp moments of vocal harmony with some gypsy rhythms filtered through The Pogues…it’s like Sparks gone crazy in Gogol Bordello’s lavatory.
Judge Smith was in a very early version of Van Der Graaf Generator, but has since ploughed his own prog furrow. Curly’s Airships (Cadiz) is a reissue of the double CD concept album from 2000, with a storyline about the early pioneers of the airships in the 1920s. Featuring guests like Peter Hammill, Arthur Brown and Hugh Banton, it’s an eccentric yet fascinating journey, with some wonderfully sweeping moments. It’s a broad canvas of history and music. Smith also just put out The Climber (Cadiz), a songstory about an English mountaineer tackling the Italian alps – typically whimsical with a strangely dark and obsessive underbelly.
The Gracious Few feature members of Live and Candlebox. Their self-titled, debut album (earMUSIC) harks back to the late 90s post-grunge era, when bands such as Live and Candlebox were making more commercially oriented music, albeit with an edge. This is stuffed with easily accessible songs, yet the musicianship is such that each listen peels away different layers. The Rest Of You and Silly Thing are real growers. Their gig at The Barfly in London on January 27 should be a goodie.
Hammers Of Misfortune are a cult progressive metal band from San Francisco who seem to have passed many by. Yet they are among the finest exponents of this genre in the 21st century. The albums mix some beautifully baroque moments with quiet glides and some blaring metal. Thankfully, all four of their albums have now been reissued by Metal Blade. A wealth of wonderful music.
Cheap Trick are right on form with The Latest, one of their best studio releases over the past 20 years. And you can get it for free with the current issue of Classic Rock. It’s a masterclass in pop rock from acknowledged masters.
Finally, a book every rock fan should read is Life (Weidenfeld & Nicholson), Keith Richards’ autobiography. It’s honest, funny, informative , occasionally callous and gives perhaps the best possible insight into the legend and the man that is Keef
Tags: Anathema, Arthur Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Candlebox, Cheap Trick, Creation's Tears, Gogol Bordello, Hammers Of Misfortune, Hugh Banton, Judge Smith, keith Richards, Lacuna Coil, Live, Peter Hammill, Seagull Kinevil, The Gracious Few, The Pogues, Van Der Graaf Generator