The US progressive rock quartet OXBOW release the LP THIN BLACK DUKE on the 5th of May.

OXBOW - photocredit - Meow's Imaginarium

OXBOW – photocredit – Meow’s Imaginarium

For those who read the previous article there will be a stark difference prior to listening to the music – from a band who never uses capital letters to a band who only use capital letters.

OXBOW have been around for many a year though it is over a decade since their last LP and THIN BLACK DUKE, on the basis of the first track to surface, COLD & WELL-LIT PLACE, will be something to eagerly add to the ‘music for grown-up moments’ playlist.

COLD & WELL-LIT PLACE has an expansive flow which is bounded within a corralling drum-kit enabling the mesmeric guitar and expressive five string bass room to shine, without ever becoming lost in their own disportment whilst the graceful vocal spills dulcet tones through the ears.

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Panchita La Pistolera

Pablo Caballero (Guitar / Vocals), Dante Sultani (Guitar), Lautaro Vallilengua (Bass) and Fernán Mareque (Drums) from Buenos Aires in Argentina form the progressive rock band Panchita la Pistolera.

Panchita La Pistolera - progressive rock from Argentina

Panchita La Pistolera

Allowing themselves plenty of space in which to deliver their ideas Panchita la Pistolera do not however steal time from the audience, as each side-step invites the ears in to a new warren of exploration in which there is much to discover.

These are seasoned musicians who are more than able to create their own recipe from scratch and the resulting pitches of almost vertical yawing of guitar laid against an undulating bass which congress around a busy drum provides ample opportunity for the vocals to spiral into a new burrow to furrow.

Having been around for a few years now Panchita la Pistolera have both the confidence and ability to grab hold of the listener and lead them on a journey of intrigue.

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Beautiful Noize

From Munich in Germany arise Igor Kljujic (Vocals / Bass), Raffael Holzhauser (Guitar) and Christoph Holzhauser (Drums) who make up the progressive rock band Beautiful Noize.

Beautiful Noize - alt-rock from Germany

Beautiful Noize

An ascorbic lyric adds a dimension to the floating sounds of Beautiful Noize, that sears into the minds-eye. Extravagant guitar parades around the room with a percussion that seeks to usher out the largesse, whilst bass connects the flights of fancy with visceral vocal.

Beautiful Noize have the ability to bring the disparate strands together in a culmination of sound that allows the listener to follow the psychedelic blues whilst focussing on the threshing mill of vituperation. The conundrums of contexts do not leave the audience in a quandary as the trio thread a well conceived journey for the audience to enjoy.

Perhaps a little to fanciful for my everyday play-list, nonetheless, Beautiful Noize live up to their name with smart compositions that retain attention whilst leading the brain on a journey of fascination.

I am somehow minded of my days of journeys between London and The Cairngorms for ice-climbing sessions when the accompany soundtrack in the overnight car drive was provided by the radio station out of Ireland – Atlantic 252 – the automated playlist of The Big Mattress. Somehow wrong – but equally just so right.


Rainbow Angels – Beautiful Noize is available on iTunes.*

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The Art Of Amputation

The Art Of Amputation from London in England is the five piece progressive rock quintet of Freddy de Lord (Keyboards / Vocals / Saxophone), Hugh Fox (Drums), Allan Harrod (Vocals / Guitar /  Keyboards), Mark Hyden (Guitar / Vocals) and recent addition –  Tim Harrod (Vocals / Percussion) – so recent there are no images of the quintet, hence the four below.

The Art Of Amputation - Progressive-rock from England

The Art Of Amputation

Mystical and mythical pirouettes of smoke spiral towards the ceiling as The Art Of Amputation deliver their contemplative sounds. I always feel that I must finally being growing up when I find myself writing about Prog-rock as the lingering notes are so far away from three chord ’70s punk, that one gets the feeling there should be more than one word for the general concept of ‘music’.

The superbly textured eddies of calmness that define The Art Of Amputation luxuriantly float around the timpani, but there is no pretentious over-play as the quintet utilise the instruments and voices to develop the theme of the composition not confuse it and the exquisite caresses between keys and semi-electronic percussion provides the audience with harmonics that need continually replay.

Whilst not – unsurprisingly – something for my everyday playlist, when in more considered mood, I can’t think of a much finer recommendation to accompany an evening with those of artistic and musical leaning.

A new single – Distorted Pop Song is slated for release on the 17th November and is most certainly a piece of music to get to know and hold close.

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Voyager from Perth, Australia, is the progressive rock quintet of Daniel Estrin (Vocals / Keytar), Simone Dow (Guitar), Alex Canion (Bass / Vocals), Scott Kay (Guitar) and Ashley Doodkorte (Drums).

Voyager - Progressive Rock from Australia


As always, when taking a listen to progressive rock I felt the need to to sit up straight and look grown up, but Voyager don’t demand me to do that, as although there is a sophistication in the sounds, it is easily absorbed by the listener.

‘Beautiful’ is a strange word to apply to music, but somehow suits. There is an aural-beauty to the compositions, which are delivered with a gentleness that is enhanced by the powerful under-currents. It makes little difference, which style of music you personally prefer, as you well know I have a penchant for the chaotic, I would be amazed if you too weren’t transfixed by the majesty of it all.

Given that Voyager have been around for much longer than the majority of bands reviewed, this ability to both write and play in recording, with such coherence, comes as no surprise. What is of far more note is the prescience that their live  performance, will find this cohesion replicated.

Their thirteen track, just under an hour fifth and appropriately named LP – V – is due for release in June and is something to look forward to. Having had the opportunity to hear the full LP, I would recommend adding this to your collection for those ‘grown-up, but still relaxing moments’ in life.

Track two on the LP is Breaking Down.


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