EP Review – InHibit’s Debut “Blinded”

Part rock, part funk, part punk, Brussels-based InHibit’s debut is unique and fun. The simple but funky baseline on “Shadows of Fire” reminded me of days gone by in popular music, but it sounds extremely fresh and clear. Uk-based journalist Chloe Mogg has more below:

By Chloe Mogg

InHibit’s latest EP Blinded is an appetising hybrid attempt at an 80s classic rock record, embroiled with metal riffs and drums beats and in-your-face vocals. The artist also rightfully takes influence from some of the greatest rock bands of late, and throws into the mix familiar elements from some of the best to ever do it, ensuring his EP has enough proven musicianship that’s sure to win him some points.

“Shame On Humans” crosses between charismatic, full bodied riffs and a squeaky, whining sound that’s almost like a sinister laugh; a villainous mock giving nod to the poor societal state of humanity that has encompassed most headlines in the turmoil that was 2020. The eponymous chorus is not unlike a Foo Fighters verse at all, while the most noteworthy section of the EP’s opener is its unravelling into a power ballad of a guitar solo that’s met in unison with InHibit’s discordant vocals, which break form from the established singing style and bring an endearing passion. InHibit’s aggressive vocals also seen in ‘Settings’ further help to determine that this is the best style for the artist, who should take pride in singing in a full-hearted, no-holds-barred style, which is definitely his forte in contrast to his softened, more intricate attempts seen in ‘The Quest’.

A jazzy, funk-filled bassline provides a fitting backdrop throughout ‘Shadows of Fire’, and ties the tracks surprising choice of instrumental sound together. The simple snare, hi-hat drum beat in parts, combined with the prevalent bass and the different layers of backing in vocals, does genuinely draw some resemblance to Queen’s infamously distinct style seen on the likes of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which is only furthered through the whispered vocals and call and response claps which come toward the end of the track. Though InHibit’s work on this EP is far from the mastery of both Dave Ghrol and Freddie Mercury, the fact that the artist has attempted to replicate their superior musical notoriety and has found a place for it amongst his own style is a massive compliment alone.


Sarah McLachlan’s FUMBLING at 25

sarahmclachlan fumbling
1993’s FUMBLING.  One of the all-time great albums of the rock era.

Let me throw down the mother of gauntlets as I start this piece.

Of all the bands and artists I’ve seen perform live over my fifty years of life, no one has ever exceeded Sarah McLachlan in intensity and performance.  And, yes, I’m comparing her to Rush, to Yes, to Tears for Fears, to Neal Morse, to Kansas, and to a whole host of others.  I’ve seen McLachlan numerous times, and I’ve yet to see anyone give as much as she does.

She gives every single thing she has, and she always has.

There.  The gauntlet has been thrown down.

Sadly, too many readers—and, undoubtedly, progarchy readers—know her for her somewhat sappy and quasi-ideological songs from the late 1990s and after.

Yet, to look at her first three studio albums is to see an artist as artist, an artist before the fame, an artist who knew and loved the art, an artist who simply wanted to become one with her art.  No angels, no building mysteries, and nothing fallen.  Just pure intensity–an artist, her heart, her soul, her words, her bandmates, her engineer, and her producer.

McLachlan’s first, TOUCH (1989).

McLachlan’s first album, 1989’s TOUCH, remains a delicate masterpiece, fragile yet held together invincibly by sheer force of honesty.  Just in her 20s, she already offered the Canadian equivalent of Mark Hollis on this album, full of proggy pop worthy of XTC and Tears for Fears.  Indeed, TOUCH—with its piano and 12-string guitars—might very well have been the perfect mix of Hackett-era Genesis and later Talk Talk.  Though each song on TOUCH is a pop song, the album as a whole is a prog album, having created the most coherent and unique of atmospheres.

Continue reading “Sarah McLachlan’s FUMBLING at 25”

MVDnEWS: Max’s Kansas City

Max’s Kansas City: 1976 & Beyond 
coming to CD ad Vinyl on May 5th via Jungle Records
The original Max’s Kansas City 1976 pioneering punk club album,
extended with an extra 30 tracks and historical notes

Max’s Kansas City is the legendary New York City nightclub that became the focal point for the city’s hip artistic community from the late 60’s until the early 80’s. In its initial period, it was famously often populated by Andy Warhol’s Factory crowd, and played host to new artists such as the Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, the Stooges, Bruce Springsteen and countless others. It became a base for jet-setters, glam rockers and celebs, until the scene faded and it shut its doors at the end of 1974.

Reopened in 1975 under new management, Peter Crowley was hired as music director. The new young bands he booked helped spawn, in tandem with CBGBs, the New York City punk scene. In 1976 Peter compiled a studio album of acts associated with the club, Max’s Kansas City 1976, to help promote the club. It featured the first released recordings of Suicide, The Fast and Warhol-era veteran Wayne County, whose title-track gave a roll-call of many of the famous acts who’d regularly performed there.
Now the original album is reissued as Max’s Kansas City 1976 & Beyond, greatly extended to 40 tracks on a double-CD and a selection of 25 tracks on a double-LP. As well as the aforementioned Suicide, Fast and Wayne County, the new extended album features the New York Dolls, the Stillettos, the Offs, the Senders, Philip Rambow, VON LMO, Iggy Pop, Knots, Roland Alphonso, Cherry Vanilla, Nico, Joy Ryder, Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers and Sid Vicious amongst many others. It includes many previously unreleased tracks and rarities. Compiled by Peter Crowley, who also contributes notes detailing the history of the album. Writer, musician and Max’s scenester Jimi LaLumia provides historical overview sleeve-notes along with biographies of the artists in a 20-page booklet.

Jimi LaLumia writes:

Max’s Kansas City 1976 as an expanded edition two record vinyl and double CD collection, celebrates the historic first compilation of recordings by bands that were making big noise in New York City, and, thanks to a hyper active UK music press, around the world in a pre internet, truly underground manner. Melody Maker, a British music weekly, was especially keen on the post Velvet Underground / New York Dolls / Alice Cooper / Iggy & The Stooges scene that was inspiring the most unusual creatures to want to be in bands.
The Max’s album was my go to album for months; finally, tracks from Wayne County, Cherry Vanilla, and The Fast… Not to mention Suicide and Pere Ubu. I got introduced to Harry Toledo and the John Collins band: I won’t go into all the details here, because I wrote extensive detailed liner notes for the Jungle Records UK re issue coming in May, with additional notes from Peter Crowley, which are worth the price of the album, not to mention all the added extra tracks, so I’ll simply say that if you think you know everything about the late 70’s downtown scene, some additional reading material and bonus tracks are headed your way.”
Complete details, hi-res cover art, specs, etc can be found HERE and additional assets HERE
This item can be pre-ordered via MVD Shop or on Amazon

What Do You Do With a Problem Like Elbow?


Elbow has yet to make it big in Jap. . . the United States.  I’m not sure why.  Their sensibilities should be perfect for a variety of radio formats here.  But, sadly, Elbow remains generally unknown.  I first came across them because Greg Spawton of Big Big Train recommended Elbow as well as Mew as two of his favorite bands.

Then, of course, Peter Gabriel produced a stunning version of the band’s “Mirrorball.”

Since 2009, I’ve ordered the bands complete catalogue, much to my own personal happiness.  For whatever reasons (and I’m sure there are several, but they remain unexamined; Socrates would not approve), my favorite albums from the band are THE SELDOM SEEN KID and BUILD A ROCKET BOYS!

Continue reading “What Do You Do With a Problem Like Elbow?”

If 1982 Came to 2015: The Receiver’s ALL BURN (Kscope)

Review of The Receiver, All Burn (Kscope, 2015).  11 tracks.

All Burn (Kscope, 2015).
All Burn (Kscope, 2015).

Formed a decade ago, The Receiver is the brothers Cooper – vocals, synths/keyboards, bass.  Each of the brothers handles vocals while Casey plays keyboards and bass and Jesse plays drums.  ALL BURN is the band’s third album, the first with Kscope.  The thing that strikes the listener immediately upon hearing the new album is the quality of the vocals and the vocal lines and melodies.  They are gorgeous.  Absolutely and completely gorgeous.  So gorgeous in fact that one could drown in their beauty.

Kscope has labeled The Receiver as “symphonic dream-prog” and if they had to be compared to another Kscope band, they would come closest to Sam Healy’s always-stunning North Atlantic Oscillation.  The Receiver resides on the pop end of Kscope’s offerings, they’re still far more pop than NAO.  Indeed, the best comparison would be to Thomas Dolby’s first album or something from mid-period OMD. Though the production—for the most part—is 2015, the sound is very 1982.

[As a side note, I’ve often wondered what a Big Big Train or a Porcupine Tree would do with One of Our Submarines.]

A moment ago, I mentioned the vocals.  Again, let me state: they are amazing, and these two brothers know how to sing together, and they especially know how to write vocal lines.  They use their voices rather perfectly for the lyrics.  In this way, they are far superior to Dolby or OMD.

If there’s a problem with the album, it’s the production of the bass and keyboards.  The musicianship is excellent, but the end product sounds tinny.  Frankly, I’m having a hard time gauging what’s exactly “not right” with them.  I think it’s that the vocals are so good and so well done that the bass and drums sound a bit thin and superficial, as though they were added on merely to make this a pop album.  It’s possible this is also due to the limitations of streaming the music—I’m listening to it streamed through an online promo on my MacBook Pro.  So, not ideal listening conditions.

Back to the good.  All Burn is pop in the best sense.  There are lots and lots of catchy hooks and lots of returns and repeats to key sections in the music. Still, there’s enough mystery and variety in the music to make it not simply another pop outing.  Songs such as “Dark Matter” have a Steven Wilson feel, and “April Blades” might have come from a Vangelis album.  The music grows moodier and moodier as the album progresses.  My favorite song, by far, is the penultimate track, “How to Be Young,” an existentialist pop navel gazer with lots of backwards production.  The final song, “These Days,” is probably the poppiest, taking us back to an Alphaville moment.

Don’t let my criticisms hold you back.  If you like good pop or pop prog, this album is for you.  If you want to imagine what a “Golden Age of Wireless” would sound like in 2015, buy this.  Or, if you simply love glorious vocals and vocalists, get this.  I probably won’t come back to this album too often, but I am quite interested to see what they do next.