Thursday, 27 June 2013


A Plea to My Musician friends: Please stop recording such great albums!

So, this week began with Kodaline's album. It's nice. It's a bit superficial and I thought it might be more of a grower. Too late, Poltergeist's album took over my IPod. Think of a 90s Britpop version of Krautrock and that comes slightly near to what this instrumental album is like. Then, thanks to an FB friend, I discovered Pearl Handled Revolver. Intrigued by the band name, I looked them up and like the fusion of blues rock with a singer that sounds like Lemmy with throat cancer. The bummer? They're playing London's Borderline tonight! Sometimes, fate is a cruel mistress. However, an album dropped on the mat that trumps the lot;  Shineback's Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed; let's just call it Shineback's album ;)

I don't do music reviews (I don't do movie reviews anymore which is another sad story). I'm not great at reviewing albums as I have no technical musical ability to speak of but I can relate how an album makes me feel. If you want a proper music review, see my friend Chris McGarel. He is the music journalist of our time. Don't just take my word for it. Actually, you'll have to as I can't be arsed to look up a link.

So, Shineback's album. I loved Tinyfish - a tiny prog band with exceptional talent, not those little fishes that nibble the dead skin from your feet in booths stuck in the middle of malls. That's Creepy. No, Tinyfish was fronted (as in they had a lead singer) by Simon Godfrey. I was hoping that Shineback would have ended up being pants so that I couldn't rave on about it. It would somehow seem disloyal to Tinyfish, but...bugger, the kid went and made a hugely enjoyable album.

I expected more of the same that I'd heard through the Tinyfish material. What I got was a similar pleasant "WTF?" that reminded me of listening to Devin Townsend's Epicloud for the first time (you know, how can an album be so over produced but still very good? Epicloud dis that). I was a bit floored by Simon's direction. It's a bit like DBA - pop prog.'s not really prog (we could argue this, as it has a ten minute track that can easily fall into the P bracket). At least with DBA, it was spot the Yes moment, or The Buggles. With Shineback, the lyrical format resembles Tinyfish, but anything else - forget it.

This is an album that prog loving Fathers can listen to, without fear that their kids are going to whinge. You could pretend that it's the new Justin Bieber album but that would be a stretch. It does go a bit Blade Runner on track 14 which is never a bad thing.

It has some top quality guest stars on it including Matt Stevens.

Shineback gets a whopping, but not incredulous 10/10 from me!

Buy the album here:

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Movie News: Vendetta, starring Danny Dyer

Richwater Films present
A Jonathan
 Sothcott Production of
A Stephen Reynolds Film
Josef Altin, Roxanne McKee, Alistair Petrie, Nick Nevern, Bruce Payne,
Emma Samms, Tony Denham, Simona Bhrlikova
with Ricci Harnett and Vincent Regan
Produced by Jonathan Sothcott
Written & Directed by Stephen Reynolds
Production begins on VENDETTA
Principal photography has begun in London on Richwater Films’ Vendetta starring Danny Dyer.
Produced by Jonathan Sothcott (White Collar Hooligan, Fall Of The Essex Boys) and written and directed byStephen Reynolds (The Fall Of The Essex Boys) Vendetta is a hard-hitting vigilante action thriller set in a world where the only response to incomprehensible violence is an ‘eye for an eye’.
Dyer features as a former SAS soldier and interrogation officer Jimmy Vickers, who uses his combat skills to track down a feral gang who have brutally murdered his parents in a terrifying home invasion. With police closing in and his old unit on his trail, he has to evade capture long enough to complete his gruesome crusade.
Vendetta marks a return to form for Dyer, who is best known for his starring roles in movies such as The Football Factory, The Business and Outlaw.
Producer Jonathan Sothcott explained “audiences love Danny, he’s kind of like a 21st Century Michael Caine for my generation, but they love seeing him in a certain type of film and that’s something gritty, urban and violent. We felt it was about time for a really tough vigilante movie in the style of ‘Death Wish’ and ‘Harry Brown’ and Danny was the only choice. London can be a horrible place these days, with gangs of lads running riot, and lives are affected on a daily basis. I think anyone who has been wronged and not seen traditional justice has thought about taking the law into their own hands, even if it was just for a second. Imagine if a crack SAS soldier with all the associated skills that go with that decided to take revenge. It’s a terrifying prospect but it will make a great movie.”
Vendetta also stars Vincent Regan (Clash of the Titans), Bruce Payne (Passenger 57), Roxanne Mckee (Game of Thrones), Josef Altin (Game of Thrones), Nick Nevern (The Sweeney), Emma Samms and Tamaryn Payne.

More information can be found on the official website:

Coming Soon: Rob Zombie's Lords of Salem

The Lords of Salem
Opens in UK cinemas 19 Apr 2013

From the producers of “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious” comes writer-director Rob Zombie’s most highly anticipated shocker to date – a brilliantly envisioned and haunting tale of witchcraft and Satanism.

What's it all about?
A former drug user, Heidi is now clean and works as a rock DJ at the local radio station along with fellow DJs, Herman Whitey Salvador and Herman Jackson. Following one of their regular evening shows, Heidi receives a square wooden box containing a vinyl record, the only indication as to its origin is a note proclaiming “A gift from the Lords”. Assuming it is merely a PR stunt by an ambitious band, Heidi gives the record a spin and immediately begins to experience bizarre flashbacks to a past, long-forgotten trauma triggered by the haunting sounds contained on the record.

What does Fangoria say about it?
“A psychological horror treat that burrows into the brain and tickles with ideas. This is satanic horror done right, carefully twisting the knife until the big finale without sacrificing scares along the way.”

Sunday, 3 March 2013

News Story: Bieber Bashed by Barnsley

In shock news last week, ( Justin Bieber was accused of copying what was a soon to be revealed secret costume element of the world famous Marillion fan group "The Parrotheads". Andreas Barnsley Woodrow accused Bieber of stealing the idea and then flaunting it all over London. The gas mask look was due to be part of a surprise costume idea to celebrate the Marillion album, Radiation, or R10, to 30,000 fans (including those sneaking in) in Holland this coming weekend.
Woodrow is no stranger to controversy. He has been accused of stealing costume ideas before. Brent Smithers, well renowned English/Scottish/Irish/Italian/Actually we really don't quite know where he's from, writer for "I C U" security magazine and Twitter acount, had this to say:

"It wouldn't surprise me if Woodrow nicked this off Bieber. Woodrow stole my idea of bringing inflatables to gigs years ago. I like to wave an inflatable Strat in the air at gigs, so does he. But he always has to go one better."

Woodrow is currently hiding out ahead of this weekend's Marillion gathering, citing that he will not be drinking and will be keeping a "low profile".
Meanwhile, Bieber who is President of the Making Sure Music is Mundane group is upset that his birthday didn't go according to plan. Close friends said that they didn't know who Corey Haim was. How were they to know that Bieber was going in Fancy Dress?

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Music: Mr MoonJune Recommends Vol 1

 Everyone likes something free, let's be honest, especially music but not all of us are happy to illegally download, so when an offer like this comes along to sample some refreshingly different music, it's well worth having a look at. I downloaded the previous comp that Leonardo provided and it was an interesting mix. Sure, I didn't get on with all of it but most of it appealed. If the genres match with your taste in music, experiment for a dollar! I'll let Mr MoonJune himself explain it all from his newsletter:

After the great success of the "MoonJune Compilation: $1 and then $2 min. donation for 60 tunes" promotion launched in November of 2012, I'm now ready to offer another selection of extraordinary sounds. Over the years I have received more than 1,500 albums from artists all around the world soliciting a CD release, trying to find a proper 'home' for their projects. I've done my best to answer every single solicitation, and to listen to every single album, although I must admit that some of the listening was done in 'fast-forward mode.' I suggested to some of the artists that they approach other labels that might be more appropriate for their music, or that they self-release their albums, and some, simoly I couldn't afford and they are now on bigger labels.
"Mr. MoonJune Recommends - Volume 1" will be the first in a series of 25-track compilations drawn from these submissions plus few tunes from few of my friends, legendary musicians. It features one track from each CD that over the past few years I have wanted, even yearned, to release on MoonJune but couldn't for a variety of reasons: lack of time, the fact that the label can only release a limited number of albums per year, I'm busy on tour with a band, or involved with my other two businesses. Except for a few musicians who are known to fans of progressive music, most of these artists are only known in their own country or region, and some not even in their own city; however, they are all musicians whom I respect and whose music I dig.
The whole purpose of this compilation is to expose these musicians' recently recorded music to the constantly growing MoonJune audience, and also to pay due respect to their artistry. Each track comes with complete information about the artist and the album from which the tune was selected, and most importantly a direct link to the artists' sites where those albums can be purchased. "Mr. MoonJune Recommends - Volume 1" features the music of legends, special friends I've known for many years, others I've met and heard on my travels, and artists recommended by knowledgeable peers, whose impressive albums I'm introducing through this compilation, including the following:
  • I've traveled worldwide and shared friendship and exceptional live music with Chad Wackerman, Jan Akkerman, the late Elton Dean, Beppe Crovella, and the musicians they've been involved with across the globe, many of whom are featured here.
  • Some musicians, such as Beledo, the Uruguayan master guitarist based in NYC, with whom I've been good friends for years.
  • Some musicians I've friended on my innumerous travels like Ernesto Holman from Santiago de Chile, and John Sund from Copenhagen or they came to visit me in NYC, like Daniele Cavalca from Claudio Scolari's projects.
  • Personal discoveries such as the Swedish "mystery" band Nude Fox Ensemble; a Serbian axeman based in Barcelona, Dusan Jevtovic; and El Trio, a power trio from an unexpected tropical latitude, the Dominican Republic.
  • A few fantastic guitarists suggested by my reviewer friends, such as Mustafa Dönmez from Turkey and his band Atmosfer, Michel Sajrawy a Palestinian from Israel, and Mark Wingfield from the UK.
  • Two phenomenal UK-based musicians, the Swiss guitarist Nicolas Meier and the Israeli drummer Asaf Sirkis, who were suggested to me by my friend the legendary Bill Bruford.
  • I had known of Welsh jazz pianist Geoff Eales, but it was thanks to my longtime friends Roy Babbington (ex-Soft Machine and now with Soft Machine Legacy) and Mark Fletcher (Phil Miller, Elton Dean) that I finally got in touch with Geoff.
  • October Equus from Spain and guitar fusionist from Luxembourg Claude Pauly, whom I discovered thanks to the great buzz about them on the Internet.
  • Finally, one of my absolutely favorite bands on MoonJune, Marbin. I was instantly enamored of the two stunning, brave Israeli youngsters, guitarist Dani Rabin and saxophonist Danny Markovich, when I saw them perform as a duo in their Chicago base two years ago; they were signed to MoonJune that same night!
All the featured music represents in some way the philosophy of MoonJune Records - progressive music exploring the boundaries of jazz, rock, avant, ethno, and the unknown - and anything in between. In the world we live in, with its oversaturated music market, rapidly disappearing record stores, and a record business that ignores real musicianship, and with fewer and fewer outlets where quality progressive music can be exposed, it's becoming more and more difficult for artists to be noticed unless they have a well-known legacy or they tour frequently and intensively, which many are unable to do.
This compilation (the first of many) is my tribute to these musicians and contribution to their cause. I hope that all who download and listen to this remarkable music can appreciate the artistry of these musicians and their determination to keep great music alive. Note that the tunes chosen for this compilation do not necessarily represent the best tracks from the featured CDs; they're purely my personal choice.
Yours in Music
Leonardo Pavkovic Mr. MoonJune
(Note: this compilation does not include any artists from Indonesia. Because they deserve a very special chapter of their own, a special 25-track compilation of Indonesian progressive jazz-fusion will be launched in February.)
The whole compilation has over three hrs of music and iis priced at only $1 (or more - whatever you would like to or can afford to pay) for 25 tunes. The tracks are downloadable in any (or all) of the following formats: MP3 320, FLAC, MP3 VBR (V0), AAC, Ogg Vorbis, or ALAC. If that list leaves you scratching your head, you probably want the default, MP3 320, which will play back beautifully in iTunes, Windows Media Player, your iPod, etc.
More info on downloading procedure:

Review: Big Finish Audio's Doctor Who Story: Dark Eyes

I wasn’t interested in audio plays. The first one that I listened to, and did enjoy was an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist. It boasted “3D sound!” and did sound very effective. Many years later I took a punt on the reboot of Blake’s 7. Despite a good cast, it was a horrible update of a much loved TV show. It put me off exploring the world of audio adventures.
So, skip to the present day. I’ve had a surge of interest in Doctor Who. I’ve been a fan since I can remember but as the 50th Anniversary got nearer I decided to watch as much Doctor Who as possible. I was very disappointed that some of the best stories were lost and decided to listen to the BBC Audio soundtracks. I was wary of doing this but found myself thoroughly enjoying them. 

Going slightly away from the focus on the audio, in 1996 I watched the TV movie that was expected to be the pilot of a new BBC America TV show. Thank the maker, in hindsight, this never happened. The production values were superb. Finally, we got to see the inside of the TARDIS that really sold us on the concept of “bigger on the inside”. Trouble is, the story leaved a lot to be desired. First off, we have The Master tried on Skaro, by Daleks, before being transmuted into some kind of gooey slug (a forerunner to Patient Zero perhaps?) and allowed to be transported by The Doctor. Yes, the Daleks that are little more than psychotic alien squids in a powerful exo-robot. What made matters worse was a romance with his companion (God forbid!) and the laziness in the writing by saying that the Doctor is half-human. So that’s why he spent so much time on Earth: rolleyes.
So whilst the movie wasn’t that good, McGann made a very watchable Doctor. The fact that he only got to make this 90 minute film was a great crime. Fans, like myself, wanted Paul McGann to be able to continue as the Eighth Doctor.

I saw a picture advertising Dark Eyes, with the Eighth Doctors new look, designed by WETA. It piqued my interest and I ordered the box set. I then ordered the last two CDs from Season 4 to find out what made the Eighth a darker character.
Dark Eyes picks up the Eighth’s story after In Death. The Doctor has lost much in a battle with the Daleks. It has caused him to feel a great deal and with this loss, become angry at himself and the universe. He pushes the TARDIS into taking him to the end of everything. He’s intercepted by a fellow Timelord who offers him a job that he promises will give him hope. This plunges the Doctor into an adventure where nothing is what it seems.
As usual, the cast are excellent voice actors, conveying the story without tedious exposition and unnecessary narration. The new companion is typically strong and unafraid to speak her mind. Her accent is a bit Father Ted and some might get irritated at her pronunciation of “The Daa-leks” and calling the TARDIS “The TARDY-BOX”. It didn’t bother me and I found her to be an interesting character and a fitting replacement for the no-nonsense Lucie Miller.
McGann performs energetically and enthusiastically, who's clearly into the plot and enjoying himself. Nicholas Briggs, once again, is a revelation…of Dalek voices. There’s a brilliant WTF moment that I won’t spoil but, trust me, you’ve never heard Daleks sound like this before. I’ve always admired Brigg’s voicework. Citing two examples in the Ninth’s episode “Dalek” and the recent “Asylum of the Daleks”. In the latter, Briggs effectively conveys Oswin’s emotion and anguish through the modulator.
There are some cool additions to continuity such as the explanation of why the sonic screwdriver is much more than it used to be (during Classic continuity) and how events in Dark Eyes may fit in with the Great Time War, that is an off-screen battle in the back story of the Ninth Doctor. Briggs and McGann show us how the Eighth Doctor became the “Oncoming Storm”.
All of this, more than ever, makes me wish that Steven Moffat would include McGann in a 50th anniversary. McGann has proven himself to be a genuine Doctor and not a one film wonder. I would like to see, at the very least, a scene referencing the Time War and showing the Eighth’s regeneration into Eccleston. If RTD isn’t involved it probably won't happen.