Saiichi Sugiyama Band - Melting Away
As an exclusive taster of the forthcoming Saiichi Sugiyama Band album, due in 2017, the guitarist has released this driving, emotional slice of bluesy rock, featuring bass lines contributed by late Free bassist Andy Fraser.
Speaking of his friend’s passing, Saiichi comments “When I heard the news on 16 March 2015, I couldn’t believe my ears. Andy still had so much to offer and I was really looking forward to continuing to work with him.”
“This is one of the last tracks dad worked on,” Fraser’s daughters Jasmine and Hannah note, “and it’s wonderful that his music lives on and will continue to touch people.”
Reminiscent of Free at their most powerful, this is a worthy epitaph to a legendary British rock talent.
Hiss Golden Messenger – Biloxi
Few do Americana, circa 2016, quite as beautifully as M.C. Taylor (aka Hiss Golden Messenger, supported by a cast of other musos). Taken from upcoming new album Heart Like A Levee (due out in October) Biloxi is a gorgeous shot of bittersweet sunshine – continuing the rousing momentum of 2014’s Lateness Of Dancers. Highly recommended.
Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga
Back with a brand new record, Head Carrier, and a new full-time bassist Paz Lenchantin, Black Francis and co have definitely Still Got It – as this commanding rumble of alternative hard rock attests. Razor-sharp yet pleasingly familiar and grungy, Um Chagga Lagga is as satisfying to listen to as it is to pronounce.
Airbourne – Breakin’ Outta Hell
Joel O’Keefe must have wept for days when Axl Rose got the AC/DC gig. Fronting Aussie hell-raisers Airbourne, he’s basically been training for the role for years – and as this first taste of their forthcoming album suggests, he’s still hoping for the call.
After 13 years they’re showing no signs of stopping, or changing, but when the time comes for them to belt this out on the festival circuit, who’s going to protest?
Butch Walker – Stay Gold
Georgia metalhead-turned-troubadour Butch Walker spent much of his last album, Afraid Of Ghosts, “bawling his eyes out”. Based on this upbeat new title track, and accompanying Austin Powers-esque video, it appears that he’s decided to cheer up. A jovial burst of countrified boogie and Springsteen-infused scale, Stay Gold is an upbeat cure for the disappointing-British-summer blues (even if the guy in the video, in his shiny gold pants, is a bit of a surprise).
Marillion – The New Kings
We can’t remember the last time anyone sang “Fuck everyone!” as sweetly as Steve Hogarth does on this pensive taster of the new Marillion album, titled Fuck Everyone And Run (or FEAR…see what they did there?). Either way, this quietly ragey ode to the “new kings buying up London from Monaco” bodes well for what’s to come when the full album’s released in September.
Palace Of The King – Beyond The Valley
Mixing woozy Sabbath-esque oomph, sassy verse grooves and psychedelic colour, Beyond The Valley shows Palace Of The King at their very best. As the song’s propulsive bridge climaxes into organ swirls and a stylish guitar solo, you can hear the staple classic rock influences (Sabbath, Led Zeppelin etc etc) without being irked by them. Nice.
TesseracT – Survival
Katatonia did it, Opeth did it, hell virtually all progressive metal types seem to gravitate towards less distorted sounds at some point. TesseracT have done it with new EP Errai – four tracks from latest album Polaris, reworked and stripped back – and it works brilliantly. Survival, in particular, has had a compelling, ambient facelift, with slick beats and atmospheric electronic strains.
Dan Reed Network – The Brave
After a 25-year hiatus, even Dan Reed admitted he never envisioned making another DRN record. But here we are with The Brave (taken from Fight Another Day, released last month); a tight, contemporary affirmation that the lords of funky hard rock haven’t lost their touch after all this time. Want to read more? Check out our interview with Dan Reed below…