Tin Spirits News

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The first.

It seems way too long since we heard from one of the best bands too few folks know about, Tin Spirits.  Adventurous poppy prog with seriously meaningful lyrics.  The first two albums are must owns, and I’m sure the third will be as well.

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The second.

Here’s the post that appeared on social media about an hour ago:

Dear Tins fans, we are delighted to let you know that after a lengthy leave of absence, work on the new album has begun. Will keep you updated but it’s so great to be back in a room making music

Let me offer a hearty: “Amen!!!”

 

Beyond Prog: GRIMSPOUND by Big Big Train

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Artwork by Sarah Ewing.

Big Big Train, GRIMSPOUND (Giant Electric Pea, 2017).  Tracks: Brave Captain; On the Racing Line; Experimental Gentleman; Meadowland; Grimspound; The Ivy Gate; A Mead Hall in Winter; and As the Crow Flies.

The band: Greg Spawton; Andy Poole; David Longdon; Nick D’Virgilio; Rachel Hall; Danny Manners; Dave Gregory; and Rikard Sjöblom.

The Rating: Perfect.  Beyond prog.

Go, go, go said the bird: human kind

Cannot bear very much reality.

Time past and time future

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

–T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton.”

There can be no doubt that Big Big Train is not just one of the best bands of third-wave prog, but also one of the best bands of the rock era.  I suspected this when I first heard THE UNDERFALL YARD back in 2009 and was moved at every good level of my being.  Subsequent releases from the band have only confirmed this for me.  Every note, every lyric, and every brushstroke matter for the band.  They take their music seriously, and they take us—their followers—seriously.  Aside from the music (if there is, in any reality, such an “aside”), it’s clear that the two founders and mainstays of the band, Greg Spawton and Andy Poole, know how to form and leaven communities.

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The Gatefold Vinyl Glory of Big Big Train: Folklore ★★★★★

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In terms of perfectly integrated, fully coherent masterpieces, I thought BBT might have peaked with The Underfall Yard. The Far Skies and Wassail EPs, and the multiple versions of English Electric (with no definitive track order), all contained fantastic music, but evinced an unmistakable prog version of ADD, as BBT and their fans were fiendishly enabled by the latest technology to “build your own” concept album, with your own favorite track order: S, M, L, XL, XXL, Full Power, whatever.

But now with Folklore, we have a stunningly coherent concept album that has absolutely perfect flow. And here’s the best part: the perfect flow is found not on the CD version (because “London Plane” works best not coming after “Folklore” but after “Salisbury Giant”) but on the glorious vinyl gatefold edition that has the definitive order for the tracks.

Continue reading “The Gatefold Vinyl Glory of Big Big Train: Folklore ★★★★★”

Without Compare: FOLKLORE by Big Big Train

Big Big Train, FOLKLORE (Giant Electric Pea, 2016). 

The band: Greg Spawton; Andy Poole; Danny Manners; David Longdon; Dave Gregory; Rachel Hall; Nick D’Virgilio; and Rikard Sjöblom.  Engineered by Rob Aubrey.

Tracks: Folklore; London Plane; Along the Ridgeway; Salisbury Giant; The Transit of Venus Across the Sun; Wassail; Winkie; Brooklands; and Telling the Bees.

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By chance, the new issue of PROG arrived at the same time as FOLKLORE.  A glorious day.

The centerpiece of third-wave prog, Big Big Train, matters.  How they write music matters; how they write lyrics matters; how often they perform live matters; how they package their music matters; and how they market what they do matters.  They are a band that has evolved significantly over twenty-plus years of existence, a restless band that never quite settles on this or that, but rather keeps moving forward even as they never stop looking back.  In their art, they move forward; in their ideas, they move backward.  All to the good.

Continue reading “Without Compare: FOLKLORE by Big Big Train”

Big Big Train’s FOLKLORE Arrives in Michigan

It’s not everyday that a Big Big Train album appears in my mailbox.  An immense thanks to Kathy Spawton and Greg Spawton for sending it, and to the band for signing it!

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Veronica Rose celebrates with SONGS FROM THE BIG CHAIR, BBT style.

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The Incomparable Gift of Excellence: Big Big Train’s STONE AND STEEL

Big Big Train, STONE AND STEEL (GEP, 2016), blu-ray; and Big Big Train, FROM STONE AND STEEL (GEP, 2016), download.

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The band’s first blu-ray.

Twelve stones from the water. . . .

Yesterday, thanks to the fine folks at Burning Shed, the first blu-ray release from Big Big Train, STONE AND STEEL, arrived safely on American soil.  Then, today, thanks to the crazy miracle of the internet, Bandcamp allowed me to download FROM STONE AND STEEL.

In a span of twenty-four hours, my musical world has been thrown into a bit of majestic ecstasy.

2016 might yet be the best year yet to be a fan/devotee/admirer/fanatic (oh, yeah: fan) of the band, Big Big Train.  I’ve proudly been a Passenger since Carl Olson first introduced me to the band’s music around 2009.  And, admittedly, not just A fan, but, here’s hoping, THE American fan.  At least that’s what I wanted to be moments after hearing THE UNDERFALL YARD for the first time.

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All Rise! The Feast of St. Dave Gregory

Mister Lazy he's not.  Photo borrowed from guitargonauts.info.
Mister Lazy he’s not. Photo borrowed from guitargonauts.info.

I’m not sure if I could exactly articulate my reasons as to why, but I’m not the least surprised that Dave Gregory’s birthday is two days away from the Autumnal Equinox.  There’s a fullness and a force of the seasons not only in the calmness that radiates from Gregory’s humane qualities (he’s a true gentleman), but there’s also an intensity of life in all of his art.

Clearly, his music resides somewhere in that last joyous blast of summer love and freedom.

Regardless, happy birthday, Mr. Gregory.  I know I speak for many upon many when I thank you for all you’ve given to the music world over the past four decades.  Whether it’s pop, punk, new wave, rock, chamber, or prog, you give your absolute all.

The best way to celebrate such a feast?  Listen and watch away!

And best of all, a brilliant interview with Dave.  Well worth watching it all.