MY EX-WIFE’S KITCHEN, PA – It’s Tuesday, the NEW traditional day for record releases (I don’t know why Tuesday, but that’s the day so we deal), AND the day where you get your lowdown on the new and interesting singles in Rock/Metal for the week from yours truly at Bloodrock.
Steven Wilson – The Same Asylum as Before and The Song of I – So SW released 2 singles over the past week or so from his highly anticipated album “To The Bone,” which is creating tremendous buzz. Billboard.com exclusively released the single and accompanying video for “The World of I,” which is remarkable considering Steven Wilson is the current king of the Prog world. Maybe Prog Rock is having its day? First RUSH and then YES make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and gain the favor of Rolling Stone magazine (I know, I was floored too), and now Billboard is paying attention to an artist not named GaGa or Drake?
I mean, this is no real surprise to me, Prog Rock has always had a strong undercurrent in the Zeitgeist, but has never fully poked its head through except for maybe two or three times in music history. It’s always just kind of been there, as the bedrock that holds up all the other forms of music, especially pop music. I can go through the entire timeline and prove that, but this isn’t the article for that, on to the music.
“The Same Asylum as Before,” is kind of a typical rock song by Steven Wilson’s standards. I mean, nothing SW does is totally straight forward, but to me the noteworthy part of this song is SW’s use of his head voice in the verses and the infectious chorus which is reminiscent of a great 80’s song.
“The Song of I,” is a much different feel. Eerie, ominous, and dark in its tone, it’s reminiscent of an older SW tune, “Index” from the “Grace for Drowning” album. More than that though, this song strikes me as an homage to INXS, 80’s Peter Gabriel and I even sense a touch of a Prince influence. Renowned Swiss jazz singer, Sophie Hunger, duets with SW on this one. The video is uncomfortable and beautiful, and reflects the song wonderfully. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGTsN0L6x84)
Steven Wilson has put out 3 singles for “To the Bone” thus far, which is due out in August, and they are all completely different in sound, style and lyrical content, which even for SW is very unusual. Usually his albums differ from each other, not from song to song. This release will be something to watch for sure.
STYX – Gone, Gone, Gone, Hundred Million Miles From Home and Radio Silence – Yes, you read that right, THAT Styx. “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Babe,” Styx. They have a new album coming out for the first time since 2005’s “Big Bang Theory” (which was a cover album) and their first original material since “Cyclorama” came out in 2003. This is somewhat of a surprise to me seeing as I’ve interviewed Styx founder and guitarist/vocalist James “JY” Young several times over the past 5 years, and he has flat out said that Styx has no desire to spend money on a new album since nobody cares in the music industry to support it (record labels, radio, video, etc.), and all fans want to hear are Styx songs from 1975’s “Equinox” to 1981’s “Paradise Theater.”
So that’s what Styx has done for the past 5 years, and successfully so, touring the country and playing to nearly sellout crowds in most cities. But even the most content musician gets antsy to do something different, and I guess the inspiration hit these Chicago rockers just right because what I’m hearing is inspired and fresh.
Now, I’m not going to lie, the first of these singles “Gone, Gone, Gone” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1gVIBKZ6cg) worried me a tad. The Lawrence Gowan fronted tune is a rocker in the very traditional sense, which isn’t a bad thing, but it does have a very dated feel to it. Now for me, a HUGE Styx fan, I loved it from the gate, but my concern is the general public panning it immediately. All in all, it’s a great song and one that I can see them opening their shows with for a long time.
“A Hundred Million Miles from Home,” is a bluesy rocker fronted by the legendary Tommy Shaw who still sounds amazing, and a catchy chorus with those signature Styx harmonies make this a fun rock tune. This song shows off some of Lawrence Gowan’s keyboard skills with some fun piano bits in the bridge and a lot of organ during the chorus.
“Radio Silence,” is the official “Welcome Back to STYX” I’ve been waiting for. An old school sounding Prog Rock song that sounds like it could’ve been an extra song on 1979’s “Cornerstone.” Tommy Shaw again fronts this tune, with a nice, slow acoustic beginning that builds to a great harmonic chorus and that soaring Tommy Shaw voice that we’ve all loved for years. Excellent keyboards from Lawrence Gowan really contribute to the overall sound of the song. A great raunchy sounding guitar riff to launch into a Proggy, and dare I say somewhat heavy bridge by Styx standards, that leads into another great chorus rounds out this tune nicely. “Radio Silence” is clearly the best of these 3 tunes, but they are all great and have me very excited for the mid-July release of the new album “The Mission.”
Foo Fighters – Run – Ok, so its official, Dave Grohl can do no wrong. I was sensing that you wanted something heavy, and I am sad to say that I had nothing for you this week. However, this new tune by the Foo Fighters is heavy, melodic and just kicks ass. The video is bizarre and fantastic, and matches the song perfectly. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifwc5xgI3QM)
A nice slow, poppy beginning kicks into what may be the heaviest riff in the Foo Fighters catalog to date. A distorted effect on Grohl’s voice as he screams out the beginning of the verses gives this song a super heavy feel that I’ve not heard from the Fighters of Foo in quite a while.
There is no release date for a new album yet, but Grohl has been quoted as saying the Fighters will be spending 2017 recording.
You can find the playlist of these singles on Spotify at this link https://open.spotify.com/user/1232032682/playlist/5tRAMiZg6uBruBE6TZkNxS
Written by Chris Elio for Bloodrock Media on June 13, 2017