Wednesday, January 14, 2015

GFreedom's 2014 Top-10 Rock & Prog albums list. (Part.1)

At the end of 2013 I wrote here 2 posts with my Top-10 album releases for that year. As far as I saw these posts were highly visited and appreciated by many people, so I'm doing it again this year.
In case you are interested, you can check them here:  
Part.1: http://gfreedomathina.blogspot.gr/2013/12/my-personal-top-10-prog-orientated-rock.html  
Part.2: http://gfreedomathina.blogspot.gr/2013/12/my-personal-top-10-prog-orientated-rock_30.html
My top10 albums list for 2014 will be in alphabetical order, and it will be again in 2 or maybe 3 parts.
Let's get started...
          ANTON ROOLAART: The Plight of Lady Oona
   Born to Dutch father and Belgian mother on Persian ground in 1969, the life of Anton Roolaart was destined to be adventurous from his first second on Earth. After spending time in Holland and Spain he finally settled in the United States where he studied music among other things.
  In 2007 he released his debut album 'Dreamer', and 7 years later the wonderful 'The Plight of Lady Oona'. The album is in general a very melodic one, "screaming" that the composer surely is or was a fan of Symphonic Prog. Anton wrote all the songs, he sings and plays a big variety of instruments as well. (Guitars, mandolin, bass, piano etc). There are many good musicians participating here, like for example Rave Tesar (Renaissance & Annie Haslam). But the greatest  "star" here is no other than Annie Haslam herself, who sings in the same-titled song.
  The album contains 6 songs and has a total running time of almost 45 minutes. Almost all the songs are wonderful, each one for different reasons. If I had to choose the best ones, I would say 'Gravity', 'The Plight of Lady Oona', and 'Memoirs'.
  We had the honor of having Anton as a guest on our radio show Prog & Roll around 7-8 months ago, during which we made a presentation on this album, and I must say that he was a very friendly and pleasant guy. As far as it seems he enjoyed our show, and a few days later he send us a picture of the album's cover with a few words writen on it. It is the picture you see on the top. Let's not forget that Anton has his own Prog-Rock web radio as well, named ProgRock Radio. In case you are interested, here's the link: http://www.progrockradio.com/
 The album is highly recommended, not only to those who are fans of Progressive Rock or Symphonic Prog, but to all those who can appreciate a beautiful album filled with very nice melodies.
 I'm adding here the song 'Gravity' which I uploaded in my channel on youtube a few months ago, together with 2-3 other songs from this album.

                                 BLUES PILLS: Blues Pills
  Second in my list comes this brand new Swedish band and their excellent debut album. Blues Pills were formed in 2011, and for starters they released a couple of very promising EP's. The band's line up is a classic rock one, with guitar bass drums and a female singer with a really good voice.Their style reminds the classic rock style of the late '60's and early '70's, and it brings to mind bands like 'Mountain' for example. But above all, their sound seems influenced by their countrymen 'Siena Root'. Their compositions are powerful, with a raw sound, which "grabs" you from the start. The album includes 15 songs, and has a total running time of almost an hour. Inside the album you can also find  the songs which were released as Ep's in the previous years. The album achieved a rather big sucess in Europe, climbing at No.4 in Germany's album charts, and at No.10 in Switzerland. Blues Pills were a really great surprise for me, because I discovered them in the last months of 2014. I highly recommend them to all those who are fans of Rock music in general. In the following video you can listen to the song 'No hope left for me'.
                                   
                                       CURVED AIR: North Star

  One of the great Progressive Rock bands of the '70's were without a doubt Curved Air. Driven by their former member and leader Sonja Kristina, released 6 albums between 1970 - 1976, almost all of them very good ones. They were one of the first bands (together with 'It's a beautiful day' and United States of America') to feature a violin as a main instrument in their sound. Also, their first 3 albums 'Air Conditioning', 'Second Album' and 'Phantasmagoria' climbed in UK's album charts, ranking from 8 - 20. A few years ago the band made a reunion, and North Star is actually their first official release with new material since 1976. (I'm not counting albums like 'Lovechild').
  It includes 14 songs and has a total running time of almost 75 minutes. From these 14 songs 7 are new compositions, 3 are older Curved Air songs which were re-recorded, one is from the personal album Sonja Kristina released in 1980, and 3 are very interesting cover versions in songs by Police, Snow Patrol and The Beatles.
  In the band's line up there are 3 members (including Sonja Kristina) from the 70's, and a few new ones. And of course the violin is present once more!
 The album's style is mostly melodic and soft, and there are some very beautiful compositions included, such as 'Stay Human', 'Colder than a Rose in Snow', and 'Interplay' to name a few.
  We had the honor and great pleasure of having Sonja Kristina as a guest (in the chatbox) in our radio show Prog & Roll twice so far. The first time we made a presentation on 'North Star' in an extended (almost 3-hour long) show before almost 6 months, and the second time she logged in for the last show we did in 2014. Both times she was very gentle and cool, and we spoke about many things including the band and her memories from the '70's among other subjects.
  Finishing this I must say that North Star is a really good album, which in my opinion all the fans of Curved Air and Progressive Rock should own.
In the following video you can listen to the song 'Stay human' which I uploaded in my channel on YouTube a few months ago...