50 years on, and after all of the technological advances since, the moon landing still seems like cutting edge stuff. With all of the scifi films where ships are like large motor homes with all of the comforts from home, and journeys across the galaxy seem to take a few hours it’s easy to forget that it wouldn’t be a far cry to describe this adventure as three guys stuffed in a cupboard, strapped to a controlled bomb, before being thrown at another planet and hoping to hit it. Here’s to the geniuses that made it happen, in space and on the ground.

I love the Eno album, it’s quite zen, and really gives you an impression of how quiet/lonely I imagine it must have felt like. But then… what do I know.

The Public Service Broadcasting album is a 10/10 album. From the opener, which uses Kennedy’s speech, it’s totally engaging. ‘The Other Side’ is fabulous and the section in the middle when Apollo 8 has gone behind the moon, and is out of touch with Mission Control, is done so well you have to remind yourself to breathe. I’m sure most people will know the album. Give it another listen today. If you haven’t heard it, get a copy… NOW!… there is no more auspicious day to give it a first listen than today.

TO INFINITY AND BEYOND! What do you mean that wasn’t Neil Armstrong…

Bands from my younger days that you typically don’t hear a lot about these days 
 and then suddenly 
.

Nektar

Reformed Nektar launch Kickstarter for new studio album. – without Roy? It won’t be a ‘Tab In The Ocean’ 😊

Mark-Almond

Remember that UMG fire in 2008 – turn out MarkAlmond’s back catalogue was destroyed in it. – I know – so did a lot of other artists (including another favorite Colosseum), but Mark-Almond were special to me, so I’m taking it personally.

The Enid

A new album – with Robert John Godfrey at the helm 
 surprising – given that he was diagnosed with Alzheimers three years ago and handed over the control of the band to others 
 still – need to visit this when available and give it a listen.

This is exactly what it looks like
 weird. A one man production, literally recorded in his garden shed in Hull over a 6 year period (’79-’85) and released as a cassette advertised in the back of computer magazines. Those were the days, eh?

It’s a home written and recorded War of the Worlds type affair where all of the characters, including the aliens, have various Hull-type accents. What starts off being quite twee actually grabs your attention and becomes really enjoyable and all the more amazing for the fact that there was clearly no big budget or production team, and this is waaaaay before Garageband. It was all done on a Tascam 8-track,

It ultimately came to the attention of Trunk Records years later
 indeed, in the next century!, and it was given a remaster and a limited release on vinyl (500 copies). I managed to snag one and it has pride of place in my record collection. Although sold out, you can download an mp3 version from Trunk Records website for ÂŁ4.99. It runs to nearly 90 minutes in total so that’s not a bad deal.

If you want some more info I’d suggested checking out Trunk Records at https://trunkrecords.greedbag.com/buy/galactic-nightmare-0/ and there’s some additional information at http://trunkrecords.com/turntable/galactic_nightmare.shtml

If you search on Galactic Nightmare on YouTube, it’s actually been uploaded in 4 parts if you want to check it out.

No idea what happened to the author though.

The other night I had reason to hang around the International Arrivals gate at MSP airport for several hours while the person we were waiting for was being hassled by customs agents.

We were sitting near the spot where oversized checked luggage is deposited. A guitar case appeared. Acoustic dreadnought case by the looks of it — sturdy enough to be thrown around the hold of a plane, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Huge stenciled letters along one side: JSONDARA. Soon, a very dapper young man retrieved the case. He wore skinny slacks, short boots, a jacket, fedora. He gathered one or two other items from the nearby carousel and was on his way.

Later, I searched for JSONDARA — which for some reason I had interpreted as an artfully misspelled Jason Dara. Nope: JS Ondara. His website tells me that he’s from Nairobi and that he eventually settled in Minneapolis — because Bob Dylan is from Minnesota.

You can find a selection of videos at his website. (The guitar case from the airport is in the opening shot of the video for Torch Song.) And here’s a spectacular cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit that evokes — and arguably surpasses — Tori Amos’s early and transformative version.

He’s the real thing.

As a long time fan of Nice, I am surprised that this one got away from me at the time, but is now available through Burning Shed.

Remastered 3CD set featuring the one and only Refugee album from 1974.

Formed in 1973 by Lee Jackson and Brian Davison – both former members of The Nice – alongside future Yes keyboard virtuoso Patrick Moraz, Refugee quickly established itself as a Progressive powerhouse.

Featuring the studio album and two complete concert recordings, this 2019 edition of Refugee provides a dazzling document of the brilliant but short-lived group.

Pre-order for 30th August release.

Then again … maybe not!

There is quite a number of people who do metal covers of songs that are not. But this one, which I discovered just today had me (and the singer in my cover band) go OMG! Check out the cover of Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi by Exit Eden.

Their channel has some more clips from this cover album of theirs, so go and explore.

And if you’re not familiar with Nightwish and their former singer Tarja Turunen, that’s some more homework for you. Or material for another post.

One of the bands I am happy to have recently discovered is The Main Squeeze – a funk and rock band, based in the US. I first discovered them through their covers on their YouTube channel, like this one for Pink Floyd’s Have a Cigar. They have a wonderful singer and the rest of this five-piece band is top-notch as well.

But while I liked to watch their cover videos, I didn’t explore further, namely I didn’t go to listen their original material. Then, out the blue, my former/currently-remote bandmate of my late 90ies band, Gray Eclipse, Michael, asked me if I heard a specific song by them, called I’ll Take Another (Apple Music link). It’s a song from their first eponymous EP, released in 2012. This song surprised me, in a good way. My main taste in music is based on classic/progressive/art rock and jazz/rock fusion. This song didn’t disappoint. It’s a 9-minute track that has it all – heavy guitar riffs, interesting singing, funk, and mellower, fusion parts.

The Main Squeeze album cover

I then listened to the whole album and it’s all good – not something common these days. Mostly it’s well-done funk, with a prominent brass section, drum and bass solos, in additional to the more traditional guitar and keyboard ones.

Now I need to try check out their next two albums.