Reviews roundup – Steven Tyler vs. Mick Kolassa vs. Sedulus vs. Sevi vs. Afenginn

91qtexeaitl-_sl1400_STEVEN TYLER
We’re All Somebody From Somewhere
Big Machine

So Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has gone country.  Well actually he hasn’t.  But with country music having spent the last couple of decades moving towards stadium rock, it’s now ended up where Aerosmith were twenty years ago.  With fiddles.

So it’s not that big a change from the mid-tempo rock and lighter in the air ballads that Aerosmith ended up performing in their MTV years.  With fiddles.  In fact he’s still collaborating with Marti Frederiksen from their radio hit days, although he’s also brought in T Bone Burnett and Jaren Johnston (The Cadillac Three), as well as one time AOR legend Dann Huff who made the sideways move a long time ago.

And it’s alright.  I’ve always liked his voice and even in his 69th year he’s still got the chops.  Nashville must like what he’s doing as the first single off the album, “Love Is Your Name” got to #1 on the Billboard Country Streaming Songs chart, whatever that is.  The follow up was better, as “Red, White & You” was a cracking piece of country pop.

The most country-ish tune is the opening “My Own Worst Enemy” along with “I Make My Own Sunshine”, but elsewhere there is little to scare off old school Aerosmith fans.  It’s down the middle, blues tinged melodic rock.  At one point he remembers that he is STEVEN TYLER GODDAMIT, which makes the title track a real treat.

Ultimately, this could easily have been any latter day Aerosmith album, although to it’s credit, the songs are a wee bit stronger than anything on “Music from Another Dimension!” or “Just Push Play”.  Enjoyable, without being great.

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51igi2z9oml-_ss500_ss280MICK KOLASSA
Taylor Made Blues
Swingsuit

Off to Mississippi now to catch up with veteran bluesman Mick Kolassa, who when he’s not playing the blues can be found on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation.  And he’s made a very enjoyable album.

It’s all quite old fashioned and rootsy which makes a pleasant change from some of the more raucous blues rock out there, with a lot of laid bad picking and playing.  The title of the album refers to Taylor, Mississippi, the place he calls home and it’s a prime example of his style.

It’s mainly originals but he has an interesting take on Graham Nash’s “Prison Song”, a less interesting go at “Lungs” by Townes Van Zandt and a slowed down version of The Temptations “I Can’t Get Next to You” alongside his own excellent songs of which “Left Too Soon” and “My Hurry Done Broke” are probably the best.  A good one.

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41l2ssv83sl-_ss500_ss280SEDULUS
The Sleepers Awaken
When Planets Collide Presents

Stoner time.  And for that we’re listening to Sedulus, a band from London who formed back in 2005 and who, prior to this, self-released a handful of EPs. If you’re in that neck of the woods you might have seen them opening for the likes of Karma to Burn, Brant Bjork, Nebula and many others.

And they’ve certainly got the riffs, which is the be all and end all of this genre of music.  No riff, no music.  Well Sedulus have nothing to worry about on that score.  So well played Will Wichanski – Bass & Vocals, Rich Williams – Guitar, Amit Patel – Guitar & BV’s and Mithun Shah – Drums.

They certainly know how to get a southern sludge vibe going on the likes of “Machinations” and the cracking instrumental “Nomadi Del Mare” which gurns along at a snails place before erupting in volcano type style.  There is nothing not to like if stoner and sludge is your music of choice, so you need to be buying this now.

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51hcxzti4nl-_ss500_ss280SEVI
The Battle Never Ends
independent

Some female fronted hard rock meets melodic metal from Bulgaria.  The country, not the Uncle (Womble related joke for people over 45).

They’ve been on the go since 2010, and this is the second album from Svetlana “Sevi” Bliznakova (lead vocals), Temelko Temelkov (lead guitar), Rally Velinov (bass guitar), Pavlin Ivanov (drums, percussion) and Dessy Markova (keyboards, backing vocals).

They’ve coined the phrase “heart rock” for their music, which is a bit meh, but they’re trying to show that their music has an emotional content.  Which is music.  They’re quite good at what they do, especially when they keel over into eighties AOR / melodic rock as they do on album highlight “Destiny”.

It’s a good album, without ever being great, but if will appeal to fans of the aforementioned eighties melodic rock scene.

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61en2b09yewl-_sl1200_AFENGINN
Opus
Westpark

I don’t even know where to begin with this one.  Afenginn, which means intoxication and strength in old Norse, appear to be a folk / world / prog / classical ensemble who formed in Copenhagen back in 2002.

They’d put out a handful of releases, when they’re not busy creating music for modern ballets and collaborating with symphony orchestras.  The music never stays in the same place for long, and just when you think you’re getting a handle on things, they lurch off in a completely different direction.

Their own term for the band’s musical style is “Bastard Ethno”, which is interesting, and when they’re not freeing up space on the mantel for awards, they’re creating things like their current double album ‘Opus’.  And an opus it certainly is, in both definitions of the word.  It comprises four interrelated movements, which between them encompass everything I said up type.

They start off a bit prog, then go all classical, flirt with rock before ending up in a post classical, neo ambient world of their own.  It’s certainly not easy listening, but if you like your music to resemble modern art, then this would be worth a go.

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