Jethro Tull is a band that have been longer than I have, and they’re still going strong. After taking two-decade hiatus during the first part of this century, they returned last year with The Zealot Gene, which is a truly excellent album.
They have recently announced that their next album, RökFlöte, will be released in April this year.
Ian Anderson and the band are returning with a 12-track record based on the characters and roles of some of the principle gods of the old Norse paganism, and at the same time exploring the ‘RökFlöte’ – rock flute – which Jethro Tull has made iconic.
They have also released the first single from the album, Ginnungagap, which is inspired by the god Ymir, a primeval being thqt lived in the grassless void of Ginnungagap.
The video is superb, both visually and musically, and it reminded me that I haven’t talked nearly enough about The Hanged God trilogy by Thilde Kold Holdt. These are fantasy novels, but so well grounded in Norse culture and mythology that they have a solidity that really brings home the events described.
And what events they are. This trilogy tells a truly epic tale that follows multiple characters as they head towards the inevitability of Ragnarok. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone.
Often, when I reach the end of the year I start looking back over the past 12 month’s worth of posts as a way of talking about the year just gone. This year, however, posting has been a bit light, to say the least, so I don’t have much to look back over.
So instead of trying to review the year just gone, I will leave you with The Zealot Gene, from the Jethro Tull album of the same name, which just happens to be the song I have listened to more than any other this year.
Happy New Year to all, and here’s hoping we all see a little less zealotry and polarisation in 2023.
For a significant part of 2021 I have found myself rediscovering some of the bands that I listened to a lot when I was younger. Mainly Blue Öyster Cult, which I discovered all the way back in the early 80s when I bought Cultösaurus Erectus. I have to admit that I bought this album because I liked the cover, but it has dated remarkably well.
The band is still going and, after something of a recording hiatus, released The Symbol Remains at the back end of 2020. It’s an excellent album, and one that not only demonstrates just how wide a range BÖC is capable of, but also one that improves with each listen.
Not surprisingly, Last.fm informs me that this is the album to which I listened to most in 2021.
There are a bunch of truly stand-out tracks on this album, but I’m going to start the year with Box in My Head, a typically sideways take on the sort of closeness that can develop over time.
Spring has sprung, COVID infection rates are rising and, in Belgium, the anticipated easing of restrictions has been put on hold.
It’s a bit of a stretch, but now seems as good a time as any to turn to Bill McClintock who makes mashups, taking two or more songs from wildly different genres and watching what emerges. He’s really rather good.
I am sure that most people would never think that Slayer’s Chemical Warfare and Katrina and the Waves’ Walking on Sunshine might belong together, but the result is not only insanely funny, but a frighteningly catchy tune in its own right.
Lake Street Dive was formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 2004 and, according to Last.fm, is named after a street in Minneapolis. The band expanded into a quintet in 2017 and all members share writing and arrangement duties.
Their personalities, skills, and wide-ranging taste in pop, rock, R&B, and jazz have long blended together to make an impressively cohesive sound, both sophisticated and playful, combining retro influences with contemporary attitude.
Their tribute to A-Ha’s Take on Me really is rather good. Especially when the trumpet gets started.
Those of us who were around in the 1990s may well remember Sleeper, yet another Britpop band probably best known for Sale of the Century. The band broke up in 1998 but singer-songwriter, Louise Wener continued to work on material along with Andy Maclure and Jon Stewart and, by 2000, had got as far as recording some tracks.
The band reformed in 2017 and released The Modern Age in 2019. Obviously, the hoped-for tours in 2020 didn’t happen but the band didn’t remain idle. They went back to those twenty-year-old recordings and came up with the “lost” album, This Time Tomorrow.
The opening track of this album is Tell Me Where You’re Going and it does feel very much like classic Sleeper.
I’ve always liked Louise Wener’s vocals. I still do.
The album is released by the band’s own label, Gorsky Records and is available from their online store.
And finally, I need to thank We Are Cult for pointing me in this direction.
We believe in the uniqueness of each instrument. We think that the only way to achieve this is to put love, care and patience into every single hit that a sheet of metal requires to sound like it should.
She plays them as well, and her cover of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters is probably the most haunting metal cover I’ve ever heard.
Christmas is fast approaching and it’s going to be a bit strange with all of the Covid related restrictions still in place. So here’s the Dropkick Murphys to remind us all of what Christmas can be like.
Tenacious D‘s cover of Richard O’Brien’s timless classic was released in October and appears to have been released in order to encourage people to vote in the US election. I didn’t see it then, which is why I’m posting it now.
While not the greatest version of Time Warp ever recorded, the video is worth watching for the stream of celebrity cameos that keep popping up. Some of them I even recognised.