The space rock group Hawkwind are back with another album called All Aboard the Skylark. Benjamin Tapper takes a listen to this old, but new to him band.

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Well look what we have here just in time for the festive period, it’s a live double CD and DVD set from veteran spacerockers Hawkwind. I’ll be absolutely honest and say that I pre-ordered this the Day Cherry Red announced its release…I’m a bit of a fan to say the least. More »

I have to admit that this was one of my most anticipated new releases of this year so far. The debut album from Philm, a supergroup (although I don’t really like the term) of sorts featuring Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Grip Inc., Fantomas) on drums, Francisco “Pancho” Tomaselli (War) on bass and piano and Gerry Nestler (Civil Defiance) on guitar, vocals and piano.

On paper at least, it has a touch of Them Crooked Vultures about it; Bass player in legendary rock band teaming up with highly regarded contemporary drummer and guitarist/singer. Ostensibly setting out to “re-invent the power trio” this album was recorded at a combination of North Hollywood artist Paula Willigar’s home, Krillion Sound studio and NRG studios. It was produced by Lombardo himself and this just adds to the anticipation of what this record might sonically contain. More »

This is the fifth full length album from the eclectic Canadian electro/indie four piece outfit. It’s a more introspective work than previous releases, dealing with what you see when you look in the mirror. In fact, all the lyrics on the cd release are printed backwards! Don’t worry though, included is a reflective piece of foil so you can read them the right way around!

The album has been very successful commercially and peaked at twelve on the US Billboard album charts. It was produced and composed entirely by the band themselves.

Kicking off with “Artificial Nocturne”, the first lyrics you hear from slinky vocalist Emily Haines are “I’m just as fucked up as they say”, a clear indication of the personal introspection to come. This opening track is quite spooky and a general feeling of unease is generated. The very popular single “Youth Without Youth” follows suit, albeit being rather more up-tempo. This is a delicious track and contains everything a great pop song should. Hooks, melody, attitude and style. The main hook is a single chord change that tantalizingly leaves you hanging in greyness before crashing into sparkling colour. It may be a simple E minor to A major change but it is the centrepiece of the song and works marvellously. Throughout the track there is a disquieting synth line that keeps you feeling slightly uneasy. In fact much of the album has a rather bleak feel to it, a bit like a more up-tempo Portishead with a splash of ’80s new wave thrown in for good measure. More »

The Aussie electronic duo had no trouble dealing with their “difficult second album” in Apocalypso which went triple platinum in 2008. And rightly so, as it won innumerable awards and contained some of the most interesting and intriguing EDM you’re ever likely to hear. So it’s been four years since that classic and the band have had plenty of time to work on its successor. Creating an album that lived up to the bar set so high by its predecessor was always going to be a challenge. So does Pacifica continue the band’s fine form?

The album kicks off with the excellent single “Youth In Trouble”. A brooding, smouldering track that certainly harkens back to the excellence of Apocalypso. Unusually, the only other single released from this record is the second track “Ghosts”, which is slightly more lightweight but features some nice vocal work. The vocals are what sets The Presets apart from many of their EDM contemporaries. They write actual songs instead of mere repetitive dance party instrumentals (well there are no physical instruments being electronic music, but you know what I mean). More »

There have been some very impressive releases of late from thrash bands who’s glory days were ostensibly in the late ’80s, proving that persistence can really pay off, particularly in the metal sub-culture.  Fans thereof are among the most dedicated and passionate of any musical genre, if not THE most dedicated and passionate.

Metal fans will take one look at the personnel on this record and assume that it will contain unparalleled amounts of awesomeness, with good reason.  Produced by the legendary Andy Sneap, drums by the “atomic clock” Mr Gene Hoglan and Alex Skolnik and Chuck Billy on guitar and vocals respectively.  A formidable lineup to be sure!  But….names on a record sleeve count for zip if the music sucks, so how does the album stack up?

Dark Roots Of Earth is immediately Testament.  Super tight riffing and blurry solos harken back to the halcyon days of thrash metal and Chuck Billy’s voice is immediately recognizable, albeit slightly lower in pitch than in the Practice What You Preach/Souls Of Black era.   The drumming of Gene Hoglan is simply brilliant.  The man is a phenomenon, driving the band with a metronomic pulse yet utilizing the full range of his kit with hair-trigger precision and incredible speed.   He has added a whole other dimension to the band, employing brutal blast beats and insane double kick patterns offset by a powerful and tasteful rock’n’roll approach in slower phrases. More »