Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters will release a concert movie shot during his sold-out ROGER WATERS: US + THEM worldwide tour of 2017-2018. Us and Them is being released via 4K, HD and SD Digital, EST & TVOD on the 16th of June via Sony Pictures Entertainment. The tour comprised of a total of 156 shows to 2.3 million people across the globe, it features classic songs from The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Animals, Wish You Were Here, as well as his most recent album, Is This The Life We Really Want? The film was directed by Sean Evans. Viewers on digital will have access to all-new post-feature content including two additional concert songs not included in the original feature (“Comfortably Numb” and “Smell the Roses”) as well as A Fleeting Glimpse, a documentary short featuring behind-the-scenes moments from the tour. Roger recently lashed out in the press at David Gilmour of Pink Floyd for not allowing him partner access to Pink Floyd’s website and fan community access via social media. Except for the full band reunion at Live 8 in 2005, Roger Waters Was legally separated from Pink Floyd in a court case in the mid-1980s where we argued in court and lost that he “was Pink Floyd”. Watch the trailer now! Continue reading
40 Years, Still Breaking The Wall
Ever wondered what makes a “classic band” classic? Have you ever sat down and play records of bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, etc. just to analyze the components of what makes them be as magnificent as they are? Even more, how is it that forty, fifty years later their music still as intact and as relevant as ever before? This is the case with Pink Floyd, especially when we think about that four classic albums run that they had in the mid-seventies. Albums like The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Animals, brought us records that still are in the charts and are, basically, soundtracks of our current lifestyle. Continue reading
Pollstar, the music industry bible of data for recording artists has released their list of Highest-grossing Touring bands of the last decade and ranking on the list were Rock and Metal heavy hitters like Bon Jovi, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. Other top bads include U2, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Roger Waters, and The Eagles. Continue reading
“It’s Pink Floyd turned up to fifty”, my mate said. I’d never heard Waters or Gilmour roar with the same ferocity as Steff, lead vocalist of Sheffield quartet Ba’al, but the band do display a level of progression and turn of pace that would fit in with the Prog legends’ template. The phenomenal power and blackened hostility of the music, however, leaves any such comparisons in the shade. Continue reading
According to a news report from Billboard Magazine, Desert Trip, the music festival jokingly called “Oldchella” will not be making a return in 2017. The festival made a huge return on their investment, and drew an audience of over 150,000 for a high-end festival experience and had the likes of Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, Roger Waters, and Neil Young at the Empire Polo Club in Coachella Valley, Indio, California is officially not coming back for round two. Continue reading
It has been said that “the best way to predict the future is to invent it”. While I paraphrase The X-Files, there is nothing quite like an anti-hero with an existential crisis to detail that future in a chilling way. I am talking about singer Mat McNerney. Much was made the last few years of his band Beastmilk being the next great hope in underground music. They certainly acquitted themselves well over a demo, an EP and their full-length, the much-loved Climax (Napalm Records). Many bands have since picked up and jumped on the trend they started, bringing the romantic post-punk/No Wave (look it up) sound and style back in a heavy modern context. Few could do it as well as the masters. Of course such magical things cannot last and as the band gave way to lineup changes, and dissolved. What they mutated into is Grave Pleasures. While their début Dreamcrash has been out for a while in Europe, its proper release comes from Metal Blade on a more appropriate gloomy early November day.
Dreamcrash, in spite of the new players in the band is the spiritual child of Climax in many ways. The album plays with a sense of urgency and a dripping sexual swagger that makes you take notice on repeated listens. It is very consistent track after track and when you first hear it all the way through, it is a very satisfying feeling when you think of the progression from the old band to now. McNerney channels all of his energy to his rubber-voiced range, making some stunning melodic choices and killer phrasing per usual. It helps that his lyrics here are among his most biting, yet sad at the same time. Mat has all the dour charm that the Ian Curtis/Peter Murphy/Adam Ant wanna-bees all wish they had. At the same time his vocals have a deeply fragile psychosis about them, not unlike Roger Waters conveyed at his peak. Something tells me Mat would hate that I reached this comparison, but that is what is in my heart listening back to these tracks.
The music is the real equalizer on this album. Although my own jaw dropped at the thought of Linnea Olson (ex-The Oath) joining the Dreamcrash dream-team, her contribution is only part of the special equation. Juho Vanhanen (Oranssi Pazuzu) was the real difference maker in the writing. Together Olson and Vanhanen crafted beautiful menacing tracks, with layers of riffs and motifs that pop up unexpectedly. Songs like ‘Utopian Scream’, ‘New Hip Moon’, ‘Futureshock’, ‘Crisis’, and ‘Lipstick On Your Tombstone’ play like the soundtrack to the end of the world, or at least the end of your love life. If you were somehow in a group of people who were not ready for the sooth-Sayers’ words to come true about the apocalypse, this music would cut right through you.
In terms of originality, Grave Pleasures are not trying to reinvent themselves or music here, and so over time you do feel a sameness in the songs that takes this down a slight notch. However, in the view of the band re-imagining itself a bit and fulfilling their earlier bands’ glorious promise, they get full marks. Hopefully the apocalypse is everything they ever wanted and more.
With the profusion of proto-metal, stoner, psychedelic rock acts about the question is, do we really need another one? Zodiac, Blue Pills, Scorpion Child and a host of others are now joined by Stubb and their second full-length release Cry of the Ocean (Ripple). Everything fuzzed up, riffs repeated ad infinitum and laid back languid vocals it would seem that Stubb have all the ingredients to fit into the psych, blues locker and roll out success.
But there is a problem; at times it seems that all the ingredients are part of a formula. It is only by the time track four, ‘Sail Forever’ kicks in that the sense of individualism comes through, as Jack Dickinson’s vocals rise above his intricate guitar work. The ability to put together such involved work is on display on ‘Heartbreaker’, but Dickinson’s vocal performance this time is reminiscent of an off-key punk doing a ballad during the verses, however, when it kicks in it turns into a good track which displays the potential of the band. Stand-out track ‘Devil’s Brew’ has a sense of purpose to the blues tinged classic rock feel as Christopher West (drums) and Peter Holland (bass) drive the track along, though
Throughout this release there is no doubt of the potential in Stubb; but someone needs to sit them down, take that potential (and musical ability) and slap it into shape. At times they stray into early Pink Floyd, Iron Butterfly and Cream territory so much so that it might be best to take any albums they have of those acts away from them until they can work on their own sound, and Dickinson’s vocals range from bluesy to sounding like Roger Waters giving a lecture on life’s lessons.
Despite these criticisms, what Stubb have produced is a solid album within their chosen genre, with the final two tracks –‘Snake Eyes’ and ‘You’ll Never Know’ – showcasing what they can do when they focus. The space the seven-minutes plus of each track allows is enough to doff a cap at what Stubb might become. Overall, this not a bad release, but has too many flaws to make it an essential part of collections of fans of this type of rock.
We have interviewed Stavros Giannopoulos many times over the years in his career so far and we often talk of our mutual love of Pink Floyd. Particularly we both dig their weirder, instrumental work from earlier in their career as much as the hits. His band has even covered The Floyd several times. With this in mind, we put him on the spot and asked him if he could write a song with either Syd Barrett, David Gilmour or Roger Waters… whom would he choose?
“That is the hardest question I have ever heard! What a loaded question! I don’t think I could talk to Syd Barrett at all (laughs). I think I’m going to go with Roger Waters. I feel like he contributed a lot of awesome stuff to Pink Floyd, and he often gets painted the asshole! I definitely feel he wasn’t the person holding back the full-on Pink Floyd reunion, and that they never got back together all those years. I think that was David Gilmour. With present knowledge included and of course with Rick (Wright) passing away, they aren’t coming back. They can’t come back without him. So David Gilmour is probably an asshole, even though he rules! (laughs) You know I’ve seen Gilmour and I’ve seen Roger Waters solo live, and they both rule! So it’s kind of like when your parents get divorced and now you get two Christmases! David has played with Roger, and Nick Mason has played drums with Roger a few times too. So I’m going to go with Roger, especially if we are going back in the heyday, when we know for certain Roger wasn’t a complete cocksucker at the time.”
“That was really hard so fuck you! (laughs)”
KEITH (KEEFY) CHACHKES
I have waited my entire writing career, and maybe my entire life to review a Pink Floyd album.
I just wish it wasn’t The Endless River (Parlophone/Columbia).
Anyone who knows me personally or via music journalism knows “The Floyd” has been a huge part of my life, certainly as much as any metal band, and encoded to my musical DNA since I was a small child. While some people have personal relationships with deities, I have them with music and bands. Their music has meant an enormous amount to me, helped colour my worldview at a young age, and even my own attempts at musical endeavors for twenty-five plus years in one form, or another.
With the passing of Rick Wright in 2008 and David Gilmour’s reluctance to use the moniker any longer, fans have long been resigned to the fact the band was long gone. The tracks that would become this album came from a series of sessions that didn’t make it on to The Division Bell (EMI) in 1993 and from a side project called “The Big Spliff” (lol), both including a ton of Wright penned and recorded pieces for make a four sides of a record. Considering the history of Wright’s ouster from the band by Roger Waters in 1980 following The Wall, the idea of sending out a final recording in tribute to Rick, is a nice touch. The Endless River, from the bands point of view, is a way to demarcate the finish line of their long, weird journey.
The problem with the album is that it is not fully realized musically at all. At this stage Gilmour, and his co-producers Youth, Phil Manzanera, and Andy Jackson (this thing needed four producers?) should know how to make a Pink Floyd album sound, right? However, what you get is even less than a collection of half-finished songs and more like a pastiche of Floydian tropes. The slide guitar from Meddle, the delay pedal from ‘Another Brick In The Wall Part I’, the Hammond B-3 swell from ‘Great Gig In The Sky’, the backing singers, a dusky saxophone, jazzy Nick Mason back-beats from Animals and Wish You Were Here, the dour analog synth sounds of ‘Welcome To The Machine’, the space-rock “musiq concrete” of Dark Side of The Moon, the Stephen Hawking sample from The Division Bell; all carefully placed here as if someone made a “greatest hits” mixtape for you, just in case you forgot what they sounded like. Another bad mis-step is the awful ‘Louder Than Words’, the one song with full vocals on the album. This ‘Comfortably Numb’–lite track is feeble, but a well-meaning attempt to wax philosophical on life, death and the space in between. These were all topics better served lyrically by Syd Barrett’s insane whimsy and Waters’ wounded psyche rage-a-thons. This is the band that wrote ‘Bike’, ‘Childhood’s End’, ‘Echoes’, ‘Time’, ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Mother’ to name a few similar-themed tracks. By comparison, the baby boomer dribble of the hackneyed lyrics from Gilmour and wife Polly Sampson (please, just stop) wrecked it for me.
On the plus side, it’s great to hear Rick’s playing and writing one final time. Often imitated, instantly recognizable and shining brightly: he was the glue that held their music together. His peers from the 60s and 70s were concerned with virtuoso technique and speed, and making the keys sound as un-keyboard like as possible. Meanwhile good ol’ Rick knew well the balance between laying the foundation for moods, and driving the rhythm with just a few tasteful cadences and a deft touch. Along with Dave’s occasional simmering guitar solos and tasteful inflections, this helps overcome some of the tracks. Contributions from past collaborators like Bob Ezrin, Anthony Moore and Guy Pratt are all welcome. These are some of the reasons the album is not a total wash.
The Endless River is not wholly unenjoyable. Take it for what it is: an album of so-so out-takes, released in tribute to a fallen great, and the end of one the greatest bands ever with a messy thud.
KEITH (KEEFY) CHACHKES