Linus Abrahamson of Andromeda, the very talented Swedish musician, who happens to be someone for whose musical taste I have a mad respect for…. And he was so kind to accept to write for obscure readers today! Without further ado.. over to the man himself! Cheers, LadyFrost*
For those interested in progressive rock with much focus on vocals and keyboards, Frost* is an amazing treat. Being a musician myself, I highly value people who can play their instruments properly, and Frost* is a band where all of the musicians can play pretty much anything, but don’t go over-the-top “just because”. They play what’s appropriate for the song – be it a piano-based ballad, a powerful instrumental, a 26-minute prog epic, or a straight-forward pop/rock song – the melodies and vocals are always the most important. Also, with all of them being very competent singers, actually splitting up the lead vocals between them, the variation within this band seems pretty much endless. The multi-talented Mastermind Jem Godfrey (songwriting, production, keyboards, vocals, etc.) writes most of the material for the band, but he definitely lets the other musicians add their own flavor to the songs. With John Mitchell (It Bites, Kino, Arena) on guitar/vocals, Nathan King (It Bites, Level 42) on bass/vocals, and Craig Blundell (Bruce Dickinson) on drums/vocals, the line-up is extremely solid. On the two first albums (third one in the making, as of now), Jem Godfrey, John Mitchell, John Jowitt (bass), Andy Edwards (drums), John Boyes (rhythm guitar) and Declan “Dec” Burke (guitar/vocals) made the line-up, with Nick D’Virgilio filling in for a tour (where a double live album was recorded) – they used to perform live as a quintet, but has now decided to keep the band as a quartet. Now, they may never reach mass appeal (their second album being named Experiments in Mass Appeal, taking on a less-proggy approach than their debut album), but their full-honest songs and brilliant live performances (with plenty of humor, mostly from Jem’s side) must not be missed by any kind of prog fan. Their debut album Milliontown is highly recommended!
The Reign of Kindo
One of those bands where you wonder why the h*ll they’re not super famous already?! Extremely competent musicians, a singer with a very pleasant voice, beautiful lyrics, semi-catchy (not in the traditional sense, though) jazz/pop/indie rock songs with intricate arrangements and excellent production make for a rare-to-be-heard musical experience. These Buffalo, New York-based guys describe themselves as “makers of music”, and that’s definitely the best description there is for what they do. Unfortunately, the music business being the way it is, they can’t even nearly make a living from their music, which is quite a shame. What really makes this band stand out from other bands with jazz influences is their brilliant handling of lyrics and the use of unexpected harmonies/melodies. If you’re looking for an indie band with a twist (hey, there’s even a trumpet in there!), The Reign of Kindo should be right up your alley. For starters, check out their album Rhythm, Chord & Melody.
Swedish power trio Freak Kitchen is hard to put a label on. Definitely some kind of hard rock and metal hybrid with progressive influences, but there’s so much different stuff put into their albums that it’s borderline insane – or what would you say about their self-titled third album being described as “A corny little heavy-pop-rock-Latin-world-jazz-avant-garde-metal-blues-record straight from hell!”…? Led by guitar virtuoso and singer Mattias “IA” Eklundh (known for playing guitar with chopsticks, dildos, combs, etc.), they’ve been around since the early/mid 90’s, having released seven albums so far. IA’s lyrics, although often humorous, take on serious subjects like racism, politics, violence, capitalism, etc. Although the focus is mostly on vocals and melodies, there’s plenty of good stuff going on instrument-wise. There are lots of odd-time riffs, weird tonalities (especially on the latter albums), and If you’re wondering what this musician’s up to visit his Band Pages; Andromeda, Edge of a Circle and Anton Johansson’s Galahad Suite… Wondering what else he has to say? See his blog here! The Ladyhysterical guitar solos. Those who have not yet attended a Freak Kitchen live concert should immediately check out their tour plan, as it will most likely be a life-altering experience to see them in action – not only IA’s songwriting and guitar playing is world class, but also his stand-up comedy acts in between songs during performances. The band used to be an annual act at the Sweden Rock Festival for about 10 years, with many people returning to the festival year after year for Freak Kitchen alone – that type of thing really says a lot about a band, doesn’t it? Their self-titled third album (previously mentioned) together with the heavier album Move (first album with new bass player Christer Örtefors and drummer Björn Fryklund) should provide a good overall view of what the band is about. A new album by the name of Cooking with Pagans is to be released later this year.