Nowhere I’d Rather Be by Gregory Jones

Nowhere I’d Rather Be by Gregory Jones, a singer and songwriter from Oxford (UK), is a pleasant summer, sipping a cool one on the deck type of album. With influences such as Simon & Garfunkel, George Harrison, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Jimmy Webb and Burt Bacharach, Gregory’s timeless sound and ability to tell a story will pick you up and drop you back down in places that feel familiar, but you’ve not been to before.

Nowhere I’d Rather Be is the title track from Gregory Jones’ debut solo album, released on 15 May 2023 on the Italian label Other Eyes Records, butIt’s not his first release by any means. It follows three successful singles as a solo artist and a critically acclaimed catalogue of work as a guitarist in the Bristol-based band Modesty Blaise. 

Bristol is where the music all began for Gregory. Raised in a household of musicians, he played every orchestral instrument he could lay his hands on until he discovered the guitar and three chords to a Kinks song, setting him on a different trajectory.

Then came a meeting with Modesty Blaise’s front-man and songwriter, Jonny Collins, who taught him everything there is and isn’t worth knowing about rock ‘n’ roll. Jonny Collins also introduced him to his friend and namesake, Edwyn Collins (of Orange Juice fame), and a new world of music opened up before him.

Two tours of Germany and Spain followed as Gregory honed his stagecraft and tolerance for long journeys in transit vans and hanging around a studio drinking tea. Countless hours in the control room, learning from the best, shaped him into a highly accomplished engineer and producer.

Fast forward to Oxford 2023, another hotbed of indie music, and we find Gregory’s Nowhere I’d Rather Be. His first long-player, packed full of harmony-laden, melodic indie-pop tunes, with a generous helping of folk-rock and Americana for good measure!

It’s not a typical first album – not an eclectic creaming-off of the best songs he’s written. Instead, it’s more of a tricky second album, written with a beginning, middle and end, with a narrative that weaves its way from heartache to homecoming. It’s also an LP in the traditional sense, with two sides. An outbound and a homeward-bound journey through the experiences life throws our way. Sometimes uplifting and other times downright melancholy, there’s sure to be something we can all relate to in this story.

With influences such as Simon & Garfunkel, George Harrison, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Jimmy Webb and Burt Bacharach, Gregory’s timeless sound and ability to tell a story will pick you up and drop you back down in places that feel familiar, but you’ve not been to before. 

Nowhere I’d Rather Be was released on 15 May 2023 on Other Eyes Records and is available on CD, digital platforms and online at 

For press and other inquiries, please get in touch with or @iamgregoryjones








b0ka, or etymologically correct, boka, is “the book” in English, my language of choice. I wish I were fluent in Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish. I will use Google Translate instead of learning them at this point in my life. Never mind my rant. This blog is about a band named b0ka and the infectious pop music on their debut album, Forever, My Friend.

Pop music and top ten radio often get a bad rap due to the formulaic nature of the songs. Some websites are devoted to making a pop song, and they walk a person through creating your own top 10 radio hit song. 

They start by picking the topic, which usually revolves around three main themes, love found, being in love, and love lost—songs that tug at our heartstrings, which most of us can relate to. The remainder of the process builds on this and adds catchy melodies for the lyrics to be delivered. Most pop music is in the three to three and one half minute range. And with all of that and some good promoters, a hit pop song might emerge.

Is making pop music terrible? Is listening to pop music wrong? Do I have an agenda against pop music?

No, No, No, Norman. No, no, no is an excellent start to your million-dollar hit pop song. A gazillion songs revolve around “no, no, no.” There are a lot fewer when you add Norman. The closest I found was, Oh No, Norman, on Office Politics, the twelfth studio album by Northern Irish chamber pop band the Divine Comedy, released on 7 June 2019 by Divine Comedy Records.

This blog is not about that. This blog is about b0ka, a band that has made an excellent pop album. Sure, they say “Oh No” several times and repeat some choruses, but that is about as close as they get to being a formula band. They also don’t mention Norman, not even once.

The album opens with the tender ballad Oh Baby. Gentle lyrics are more spoken than sung, making for an interesting opener. If I were cruising for songs to play, which I frequently do and sampled Oh Baby, I might have rejected it because it sounded like it would be a soft rock ballad album. It isn’t.

Listening to the next track, Stone Cold Girl, we get an uptempo track with plenty of synths, sampling and digital drums. The vocals are more vigorous, and there are background singers. These assets bring the music to a pleasant pitch contrasting the darker lyrics. Falling apart, rain on holidays, heartbreak, worlds of empty colours, sadness. Yeah, these are not uplifting lyrics, unlike the catchy instruments. There are two parts to Stone Cold Girl; the second is less energetic. Both use repetition extensively.

When You Touch Me repeats, “I said I didn’t like it when you touched me,” 19 times. A bit repetitive, but in the context of an R&B, Soul, Jazz & Funk track, it works. It is also hilarious, and I hope they meant the song to be humorous because that is how I received it. I won’t bother trying to tell you what it is about. Listen to it and draw your conclusion.

The title track, Forever My Friend, alternates between English and Norwegian. I am not fluent in either, but I know significantly more English.

Want Me To has the focal character sitting on the fence and saying, Can’t make up my mind about you. The music don’t feel like it did when I was with you. Music is a powerful medium that can add memories, hold memories associated with certain songs and drag our emotions up or down. Want Me To is neutral.

I will fast-track over a couple of songs and jump into the groove of Fjompin’ 67. I had to look up what Fjompin’ was. It is a jerk, goof, silly or idiotic person. “Do you like the beat?

Yeah, I like the beat.

Drink beer, and listen to house music.”

I don’t drink beer and seldom listen to house music, but I like music with a strong beat. Fjompin’ 67 isn’t heavy on house music, but it is an excellent introduction to the next song, Last Night (On Earth), which does have a strong beat.

The album closes with the song, Life With Me, a softer synth-driven track about falling in love, being in love and the questions.

Is it wonderful?

Can I enjoy it?

Can I control it?

I like the final line that closes the album, “I can’t choose who I love, but I choose you.”

I can see myself looking into my wife’s eyes and telling her, “I choose you.”

Final word? Yeah, this is radio-friendly pop music. It has been an excellent introduction for me to the world of Norwegian pop music. Easy to listen to, soft synth music over the eternal human topic, love.

‘Forever, My Friend’ will be available to stream from the 12th May 2023 via Beatservice Records with vinyl release to follow on 9th June 2023.


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våra liv

våra liv is the album that I have been patiently waiting for ever since I wrote about Sole Gipp Ossler‘s single that was released in February. I did a favourable report back then, and I have only good things to say about her album, våra liv.

Photo credit to Ulf Zetterlund

I don’t understand the Swedish language, but I do understand good music. Maybe not your definition of good music, but it certainly ensconced itself in my ear. The music is powerful. It wanders about in different styles of music that go from gentle ballads to epic movements. Never a dull moment. This album kept me glued to the speakers as I engaged with what I heard.

I like what I hear because I listen to våra liv as I type this out. It makes the writing emerge slowly because I keep getting interrupted by songs and passages that I must stop and listen to. It’s all good. I don’t hear a negative bit in the whole album. våra liv has significant passages such as we hear in the song ven. It is an ambient track with synthesized bits that move from gentle to high-pitched bits that take the song to another level of intensity—well done, Sole.

du jag tiden” opens with gentle piano notes, a quiet guitar someplace behind the piano slips into the soundscape, and an equally subtle synth joins them. And then SOLE starts singing in a delicate, rhythmic pattern that builds along with the music, rising and rising with percussion driving them all forward. SOLE’s voice soon changes into a plaintive call, and the music continues to build higher and higher and faster and faster. It gets frantic. The distortion is all-encompassing. I am out of breath from trying to keep up with the pace of “du jag tiden.” And then it stops with her gentle voice reclaiming the focus only to lose it in the distortion that gives the impression of a steal locomotive braking hard to stop at the station. Steel grinds on steel, and then they all fade to nothing. I hit repeat. “du jag tiden” opens with…etc.

våra liv is a passionate album. SOLE shares:

“The main idea behind the album was to turn outwards, instead of inwards like on the debut album. This time, I involved more people in the creation process, both musicians and songwriters, to see what happens when there is a meeting between two lives, two expressions. Suddenly, it becomes a shared space, no longer just my own. So, it’s important for me to emphasize that this album couldn’t have been possible without these individuals. Everyone has had an essential part in the creation.”

våra liv and Sole have given me another reason to visit Sweden, apart from visiting my cousins the live there. Until then I will continue hitting the repeat button and wait for SOLE‘s next album.


Telenovela is Sofia Monroy‘s debut EP, released independently on May 12th. During her upbringing in Luleå, far up north in Sweden, Telenovelas were repeatedly shown on TV due to her family’s Mexican origins. A telenovela is a type of television serial drama or soap opera produced primarily in Latin America. The word combines tele (for “television”) and novela (meaning “novel”).

Cover Art photo credit: Caroline Hägg

Sofia’s own Telenovela contains the artist’s own stories and experiences, but just like an honest Latin American Telenovela, her Telenovela contains, among other things, drama, jealousy, comedy and sadness. The last few years have been decisive for the artist’s musical expression, increasingly experimenting with Spanish and English. At the same time, the Scandinavian melodies are heard through, set to music in a soulful way. The lyrics contain a mixture of English with a touch of Spanish – something that describes the artist’s identity and background.

Sofia Monroy‘s latest single ‘Control‘ was picked up on rotation on Swedish national radio P3 and mentioned by Per Sinding-Larsen in Sweden’s second biggest morning show SVT Morgonstudion, as well as giving her interviews both on Swedish national radio and an extensive interview and music video premiere in SVT Play. She also did an extensive interview in Mexico’s and was covered by many other music blogs worldwide. Since Sofia Monroy debuted as a solo artist in 2019 with the single’ Cautious,’ she has gained attention worldwide for her impressive live performances, beautiful visuals and bilingual and fenceless and fearless lyrics.

Telenovela is an EP of infectious music guaranteed to get you bobbing your head and wanting to hear more. Put Sofia Monroy‘s music on repeat and give yourself a soundtrack for the summer.

Dark GreenWing

GreenWing is a band.

GreenWing is a band that I listen to.

GreenWing is a band from Saskatchewan.

GreenWing is a band that I blogged about in October of last year, October 3, 2022.

GreenWing has a new single that is bound to get some traction on the internet of all things musical. That single is Dark.

Yeah, really. The song’s name is Dark, and they spell their band name as one word GreenWing, not Green Wing.

Here is how I recommend that you listen to Dark the first time.

I recommend finding a nice chill track and making a folder with that chill track as the opener. And without listening to it, add Dark as the second track. And then add the debut album from GreenWing, Late Bloomer. Now, sit back in a comfortable chair/sofa/whatever, and put on your earbuds. I prefer over-ear headphones, but whatever you have will work just fine. And prepare for launch. Hit play for the chill track and allow yourself to drift away with the music. 

GreenWing is announcing the release of their new single, “Dark.” It seems like just yesterday that I listened to GreenWings’ debut album, Late Bloomer, when it was actually this morning with my cup of joe.

I liked Late Bloomer. It felt very organic. Homegrown. Let’s sit on the deck out back and strum a guitar feel to it. That’s kind of how it sounded to me. GreenWing came across as a genuine, honest, down-to-earth bunch of guys. That long and winding preamble leads us to some new music from the boys of Saskatchewan—the single Dark.

Dark still sounds like Late Bloomer, but it is not a cut-and-paste track. Drummer Kolt Kimbley describes the band’s sound as “energetic with a dark but hopeful feeling.” Guitarist Anthony Allegretto aptly sums up Dark as being a song about “feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and pushing through with a hopeful desperation.”

I know everyone hears different things in the lyrics of a song. What I hear is a person staring down the temptations of this world. These are temptations that the lyricist has given into in the past, “so we meet again.” There’s no one guilty other than the lyricist who fights against their “intrusive thoughts.” The mind is a dangerous place to be alone in.

so we meet again

intrusive thoughts 

friend of a friend

and you keep whispering

I can make it stop

if I just jump in

It would be easy to avoid the struggle and give in to the whispers that lure and tempt us. It would be oh-so-easy to make the whispers stop. We just have to jump in. Give in to the whispers. Give in to the temptations. Give in to the sirens’ song. Just jump in. You’ve been there before. You know you can make it stop.

yeah you’re calling 

come to the Dark with me 

I don’t want to die 

but I long to be free

come to the Dark with me 

I don’t want to die 

but I long to be free

There is a tug-of-war going on within us. The call to come to the Dark is pitted against the desire to live and be free. The following two verses are a litany of reasons that make going Dark a temptation.

Pop music, which is why I listen to GreenWing; intelligent lyrics and good music.

TV. I love the Groucho Marx quote: “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” The economy, the rich and richer and the rest of us get cable tv. “My friend shot dead.” Ouch, that is one strong reason to lean into the Dark, but the short-lived benefit could lead us down the same road, which is not cool.

I long to be free

from all the stress and anxiety 

is that too much to ask 

for me

to see a future, that’s not so goddamn bleak

just give me a chance

to catch my breath and breath 

The song ends with a glimmer of hope, “I long to be free.”There you have it: intelligent lyrics, great music, and a song that leaves me longing to hear the album and to hear them live; we only live a 6 hour’s drive apart. GreenWing is a band with a commanding knowledge of building a great piece of music that quickly becomes an earworm.

“Dark” was self-produced by the band at Rainy Day Recording Co, recorded and mixed by Matt Stinn and mastered by Trevor Case (Jon Batiste, Rita Ora, Orgy)

“GreenWing started its musical journey in 2021. GreenWing’s early days saw them living through Covid lockdowns and the harsh Saskatchewan winter while finding sanity through collaborating on a collection of songs and hoping to return to stages and touring one day. The band’s debut album “Late Bloomer,” leans heavily on driving rhythms and pop-laden hooks. Reminiscent of the punk and post-rock they grew up listening to, the band interweaves themes of self-reflection, grief, and a newfound sense of self into a crushing wall of sound.” – from the PR sheet.

Stream our music! 





Look for GreenWing on tour across Canada in 2023 to support “Late Bloomer” and their subsequent single, “Dark.” 

As a late add-on, Joel and I went to see GreenWing live in a local coffee bar, Kaffa Roaster and Studio. Joel took some photos, and I got my groove going with the songs. It felt good to be listening live. The openers were ok, and some local bands were getting into the live music scene; Lauriers, Gratuitous Platypus, and No Such Thing As Ghost. I missed the first band, and I thought Lauriers was good. The lead singer had the energy to spare, and the rest of the band was tight.

Greenwing rocked the house and pumped up the energy. I found myself singing along; it’s a good thing I listened to them as often as I did. We met after the show for some friendly banter, and we left after buying some merch and getting the boys in the band to sign a setlist for us. Nice fellas.


Atmospheric dream-pop trio Emmecosta released their debut album ‘Overnight’ on 14th April 2023 alongside the focus single ‘Overnight.’ The album includes recently released singles’ Laek’, ‘UmaybeU’ and ‘Effort’ and is being released through boutique label Icons Creating Evil Art.

Emmecosta opens their Overnight album with the track Effort. I could relate. “I need an effort on this.” I needed an effort to get writing this week, and I am starting with Emmecosta and their album, Overnight. It is not laborious to listen to this album. It is easy listening, literally. The song Effort is a smooth-as-silk effort that floats along on the synth waves that hold the lyrics up above the waves. It’s a lazy song that doesn’t get much speed up, but it is a great song to chill along with.

 The second track, Overnight, gets more energy with a ping-pong synth. Lyrically it is another broken heart song.

The third track Laek gave me an earworm that I found myself nodding my head to at various times during the day, which without saying, led to another listening session. The song starts rather pedestrian but builds up a head of steam that pushes the track forward with more and more energy. The song has an interesting pace heard in the lyrics more than the instruments. I like it.

Horsedust is a song about letting go. I believe it is about letting go of a relationship, but I heard words about letting go of whatever we were clinging to. For example: “everything I felt now, it’s gone. I’ve been faith, but I’m done.” Everything that I had faith in is gone. I have had faith in many things, but now they are done. They have turned to dust. Dust in the wind, perhaps.

The following songs are love found, love lost, love experienced. They keep the synth music going with their musical accent all through it. The album closes with the song Ghosts, which opens with a guitar, which is mainly unheard of in the other pieces. It works as a good closer, which is as essential as a good opener.

Overall this is an album that is easy to listen to. Any time of day works. Plug in the buds and go for a jog or a walk in the park with Emmacosta as the soundtrack. Put the album on as a background as you work, and it works with you. Put the buds on again at night as you read a book and drift off into the land of dreams. In short, Overnight is a solid album that works its magic anytime and anywhere.

The trio said of their debut album, “Our aim is to create an introspective and thought-provoking experience by exploring the complexities of human emotions and relationships through themes of lost love, regret, and self-discovery. We’ll delve into the nuances of each theme, examining the impact they have on our lives and relationships. Through our exploration, we hope to inspire a deeper understanding of ourselves and our connections with others.”

Hailing from the small Italian town of Positano, the post-club outfit has been based in Sweden for the past seven years. Now self-proclaimed Swedish nationals, two-thirds of the trio have followed their Italian roots back to Milan as the group discovered a newfound need to portray and develop their Swedish/Italian link through their future work. Now the trio is ready for the long-awaited release of their debut album, Overnight

Discover more about Emmecosta


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Mr. King

Once again, my friends, you find me posting a blog centred on a single. Not even a few extra songs on an EP; nope, I am doing a single today. But it is a good song. It would necessitate being a very good song for me to write a blog about it. If you follow me, you will see that most of my entries are for LPs or EPs. This one isn’t. It is for a single.

I am stumbling through this rough introduction to present a song that goes by the name Mr. King. From the first listen, this song had me in a musical headlock, pushing an earworm into my thick skull with all its might.

 Mr. King’s sound is reminiscent of The Beatles in their Abbey Road days. Reminiscent, they are not a Beatles clone. Nor are they a tribute band. They are The Bablers, and Mr. King is their brand new single.

Mr. King opens with a crescendo of piano, and this is really cool; they do the song 100% live with original instruments: upright piano, electric guitar, bass and drums. If I tried to do that in this blog, it would read like alphabet soup.

The Bablers founder, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Arto Tamminen – who’s led the band, now alongside Janne Haavisto (drums, vocals), Pekka Gröhn (bass, keyboards, vocals), and Hannu Pikkarainen (guitar, vocals) since its late ’70s genesis – tells us about the track and how it differs from the boisterous guitar pop of the two prior single. “It’s built to be a classic big piano pop ballad, the kind you’ve rarely heard since the golden days of pop.” 

Arto Tamminen lays out the backstory behind the emotive lyrics, offering insight into the choice to release the song as the English monarchy – and so much of the world – enters a new era. “It’s been a long day. A lot of public activities. Horses and soldiers. Roaring audiences. Applause. Flags. Smiling faces,” explains Arto. “Finally, at the castle, someone is knocking at the door. It’s troubadour asking permission to sing a song, crafted especially for the occasion. Permission is granted. He starts to sing, and in the chorus asks the most important question…” 

The most important question. It is relevant not only to the coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as king and queen of the United Kingdom but to everyone. The most important question is this, “How happy are you?”

I probably wouldn’t be too far from the truth if I said that many of us go about our day with faked smiles and an uneasy balance between happiness and wanting to pull a blanket over our heads and tell the world to go away. I like to quote a favourite song, “Stop The World (And Let Me Off.”

So, how happy are you? What makes you happy? Is your happiness dependent on external circumstances that you have no control over?

We have no control over other people, so why depend on them to make us happy? People will let us down. But we do not have to let them control our happiness. So, how happy are you?

Do I have enough money to keep me happy? Do I have enough drugs? Do I have enough records? The “Do I have enough” list goes on and on. Will we ever have enough things to keep us happy?

How happy are you?

That’s a good question and the crucial hinge point for the song Mr. King. Both the deft handling of the subject matter and the richness of the music marked a change of pace after the last two singles from The Bablers. That versatility won’t surprise longtime fans or anyone who’s heard the band’s thrillingly eclectic and lovingly crafted 2021 Big Stir Records album Psychadilly Circus. I highly recommend listening to this album if you haven’t already.

Mr. King added a touch of extra happiness to my already happy day. Mr. King will be released and streaming everywhere worldwide on May 5, just one day before the coronation of King Charles in the UK. Mr. King is now up for pre-order/pre-save at and all major streaming platforms. It follows the hits “You Are The One For Me” (which reigned as The Coolest Song In The World on Little Steven’s Underground Garage last year) and “Holding You Tight Tonight” as the latest track to hit the international airwaves from the out-of-print album Like The First Time, previously released to great acclaim only in Japan and slated for international reissue by Big Stir.

I hope you will be happier after listening to Mr. King. I was.


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The Flowers Of Hell

When I blog for a band/artist I am unfamiliar with, I will do some backpedalling to hear where they are coming from to inform me better where they are todayThe Flowers Of Hell hit that nail on the head because they are issuing the first vinyl pressing of their cult classic ‘Odes’ album from 2012 and an album of new material, Keshakhtaran.

Lou Reed began the final episode of his BBC6 / Sirius-XM New York Shuffle radio show in 2012, premiering three tracks from Odes, declaring the release to be “An amazing, amazing album” and praising it as “So beautiful and great” and “Exquisite.” 

On ‘Odes,’ The Flowers Of Hell pays tribute to some of their favourite songs and influences, creating covers of works by Bob DylanKlaatuStereolabLaurie AndersonThe Velvet UndergroundSiouxsie & the Banshees and Neutral Milk Hotel, among others.

Let’s get back to the music, shall we? Odes is a decent album. As is the case in 90% of all albums, there are some excellent songs, some OK songs and some that you question why they were ever recorded in the first place, let alone covered. Here is the tracklist. I wish I had it on vinyl so I could physically flip it over at the end of side one. Alas, I am poor, and steaming will suffice.


1. Avery Island / Neutral Milk Hotel cover)

2. Atmosphere (Joy Division cover)

3. Muchomůrky Bílé (Plastic People Of The Universe)

4. Walk On The Wild Side (Lou Reed cover)

5. Run Run Run (Velvet Underground cover)

6. The Last Beat Of My Heart (Siouxsie & The Banshees cover)


7. Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan cover)

8. Super-Electric (Stereolab cover)

9. O Superheroin (Laurie Anderson/Velvet Underground cover)

10. Over & Over (Fleetwood Mac cover)

11. Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (Klaatu cover)

Let’s take it from the top and move our listening down the list. Avery Island is OK; I am only a casual listener to Neutral Milk Hotel, so I listened to the original and the cover back to back. I like the original more. Better bass throughout, plus an emotional connection and energy without words, but you will know it when you hear it.

Atmosphere, the Joy Divison cover, didn’t do anything for me. I like Joy Division, but The Flowers Of Hell version left me wanting to listen to more Joy Division

Muchomůrky Bílé (Plastic People Of The Universe cover) is quite good, and it restored my faith in the music of TFOHMuchomůrky Bílé translates as “toadstools white.”

A man of despair, You easily lose your mind. White toadstools I will collect them in Dmléta.

Toadstools are white, Whiter than snow. I dream them to satisfy my needs in Dmléta.

I will not wake up here, Except in another world, White toadstools, I will collect in Dmléta.” – Egon Bondy.

“I’d go in and test the mixes while over-micro dosing on mushrooms for a truly immersive experience that transported me from the bleak times.” – Greg Jarvis.

The best I could find about Dmléta is a small shopping mall on the outskirts of Prague. I do not know if they have mushrooms on sale there, perhaps at the back of the stalls.

Toadstools or mushrooms? There isn’t much of a difference.

Smoking weed and using shooms do not magically infer quality to anything. I can attest to that from experience. Trust me on this one. There is also the risk of picking the wrong mushroom. I can’t help but use a favourite quote of mine. “All mushrooms are edible, but there are some that you can only eat once.”

Run Run Run (Velvet Underground, I am going to take a wild swing in the dark, but I think The Flowers Of Hell are fond of Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. I’m OK with that, and their cover of Run Run Run is quite good. I am going to upvote Run Run Run, it is my favourite on this album.

The Last Beat Of My Heart (Siouxsie & The Banshees cover) IMHO is great. The Last Beat Of My Heart is one of those rare occasions when I like the cover more than the original. Why do I like it more? I don’t know. I was never big on Siouxsie & The Banshees, so the bar starts low but goes up for this cover.

Mr. Tamborine Man is a song that has been covered so many times that if each cover were a blanket, Mr. Tamborine Man could survive a winter at -40. The original was good, which is why it was covered so often. And some of those covers were good, but I’m not overly fond of this effort.

I will skip over some tracks in the E for effort category and land squarely on the second to last track, a cover of a song I feel was done right the first time and can not be improved. Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft.

I am a Klaatu fan. I have all their albums and listen to them frequently. I didn’t care for the Carpenters‘ cover and don’t know why it was a commercial success. I like this cover even less than the Carpenters‘ cover.

The album closes with an original song by Greg Jarvis that has no connection to the cover songs. It is a lonely orphan that should have been given a home elsewhere.

Well, that turned out to be a lot longer than I anticipated. The good thing is that Keshakhtaran only has two tracks and a short radio edit that I will completely ignore. Once again, if this were a perfect world, I would listen to Keshakhtaran via vinyl, and the two tracks would neatly fit with one on each side. I am streaming this album because the world is what it is and is generally indifferent to me.

Toronto-London-based experimental group, The Flowers Of Hell, announced that they would release their new album ‘Keshakhtaran’ via UK cult label Space Age Recordings (home to Spacemen 3) and Spectrum, Chapterhouse, Acid Mothers Temple and The Telescopes) on May 12th.

Keshakhtaran? Chill? Atmospheric? Easy Listening? Background? Ambient? Drone Music? Electronica? Electro Jazz? Meditative? None Of The Above? All Of The Above? It Doesn’t matter?

Keshakhtaran is a word used to describe the situation where you reach Nirvana through primordial sound meditation. Nirvana is an ideal or idyllic state or place in Buddhism akin to Heaven in most Christian faith groups. I did not experience Keshakhtaran while listening to this album, even though I experimented by listening to it numerous times and at different times of the day. That does not make it a bad album for not taking me to Nirvana; it did take me to la-la land. It was a pleasant listening experience that helped me drift to sleep. It also functioned as excellent background music while I did other tasks.

Keshakhtaran is a like watching sand on a windy day. It shifts and swirls, lifts and falls. Ebbs and flows. That is Keshakhtaran. The music moves. It is a compilation of sounds that never stay in one place. There are sax, flugelhorn, chimes, harp, sitar and opera soprano vocals, augmented with tremolos, flutters, horns, woodwinds, strings and percussion. Keshakhtaran involves 20 artists, including Rishi Dhir (Elephant Stone, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Angels, Beck) and Avant-Garde Accordion legend Angel Corpus Christi (Suicide, Spiritualized, Dean Wareham).

On May 12th, the group also releases their sixth and first studio album in six years. ‘Keshakhtaran’ is a 42-minute meditation piece in two parts. The advance taster single ‘Foray Through Keshakhtaran’ is available now across digital platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify and Bandcamp.

Despite relative obscurity, they have been championed by music legends such as Lou Reed, Sonic Boom, Kevin Shields and members of The Legendary Pink Dots, Death In Vegas, The Wedding Present, The Fugs and The Plastic People Of The Universe, not to mention support from NASA’s mission control team and the Tate Gallery with an album installation and concert just a fortnight before London locked down.

Keshakhtaran began as a 40 minute ‘space guitar’ piece I’d done out of bits and bobs I’d been playing in my home studio for a girlfriend to meditate to in the months before Covid. During the pandemic, I found I couldn’t write anything new (nothing in, nothing out), but I pulled out the guitar track and started sending it to caged up band members and friends to add layers to, and soon I was mixing and editing away, creating a sonic world to escape off into,” – Greg Jarvis.

“With massages being some of the only human contact allowed in Toronto at the time and with one of my bandmates being a masseuse, I’d go in and test the mixes while over-micro dosing on mushrooms for a truly immersive experience that transported me from the bleak times. I’d then play the work-in-progress for bandmates in my ‘semi outdoor contact’ garage that I’d converted into a psychedelic shack with a lightshow and a fog machine, tweaking things until it reached its final form that you’ll hear”.- Greg Jarvis.

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‘Foray Through Keshakhtaran’




‘Odes’ LP

The Bellwether Syndicate

Hailing from ChicagoThe Bellwether Syndicate has released the single ‘Golden Age, as a teaser for their anticipated album, ‘Vigil & Vestige (album out April 28).

The Bellwether Syndicate is William Faith (vox, guitars), Sarah Rose Faith (vox, guitars), Philly Peroxide (keyboards, percussion), Stevyn Grey (drums), and Corey Gorey (guitars).

Six years in the making, the ‘Vestige & Vigil‘ LP comes nine years after their debut EP, “The Night Watch.”

Golden Age‘ is a rare gift in that I received nearly the entire song in a dream… the beat, the guitar and bass melody, and the chorus lyric were all just there in my head when I woke up and, without saying a word to Sarah, I ran down to the studio to capture it before I lost it,” explains William Faith.

“It has a haunting quality which felt very nostalgic to me, so the lyric is really about the danger of getting lost in nostalgia and losing the present as a result. This is a conversation we have a lot, as so many people seem to stop looking ahead, content to rummage through the past. I’ve always said that tomorrow is way more interesting to me than yesterday, so this song warns about getting stuck there. As for the chorus, it’s anyone’s guess what it means, as it’s all a dream!” 

Golden Age is indeed a rare gift, and we, the listeners, are the beneficiaries of that rare gift. The lyrics tell us about the golden age of information where the internet spreads “the truth” far and wide, and I am prone to “follow every echo I hear.”

I love this line from Golden Age; “The truth of what is remembered is yours and yours alone.” We take in the information from all around us, but in the end, we each have our take on history; it is yours and yours alone. “Steal every second and all it brings my friend.” There is no “alternative history” but I see the history as uniquely mine.

However, we all must “rise up from the ashes” of “the great and unwashed masses.” Have the courage to “swim against the tide,” to reject the narrative,” and “to break convention.”

Being retired and spending the vast majority of my time listening to music, the song “Dystopian Mirror” resonated with me. “Hiding out in this space,” “when every day is the same.”

In the end, “All Is Forgiven.”

As I listened to Vestige & Vigil again while writing, I felt an echo of Black Sabbath running through this album. Perhaps it is from “poisoning their brainwashed minds” or “Generals gathered in the masses.” Not plagiarism, just an influence, maybe, in my opinion. I could be wrong.

Whether Black Sabbath influenced The Bellwether Syndicate or not is of little import. The important thing is this, The Bellweather Syndicate rock, and they rock it hard. If you want hardcore metal music, I recommend the album Vestige & Vigil.

The full ‘Vestige & Vigil‘ album will be released on April 28.

Keep up with The Bellwether Syndicate

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You can order the ‘Vestige & Vigil’ LP @

Golden Age

Order the single @



 ‘We All Rise’


 ‘Dystopian Mirror’

Sett Records / Nexilis Records / Schubert Music Europe. ‘Vigil & Vestige’ LP out April 28

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Written and performed by The Bellwether Syndicate

Produced by William Faith & Chad Blinman

Recorded by William Faith at 13 Studio in Chicago

Mixed by Chad Blinman at The Eye Socket

Additional programming and treatments by Chad Blinman

Mastered by Josh Sebek

William Faith – Vox and guitars

Sarah Rose Faith – Vox and guitars

Corey Gorey – Guitars (live)

Philly Peroxide – Keyboards and percussion (live)

Stevyn Grey – Drums (live)

‘Dystopian Mirror’ video filmed by William Faith & David Staudacher

‘Beacons’ video filmed by William Faith & Sarah Rose Faith

‘We All Rise’ video filmed by Sidney Strong

All videos directed by William Faith

Captain Cougar

For the last ten days I have been listening to a new album from the Finnish band Captain Cougar, the album name is Bonnie. I like the album, it is a great easy listening album. They don’t crank up the volume much, they just add some extra juice in all the right place, but that can be a good thing when it is done well. And Captain Cougar do it well.. This is an album that I can put on, sit back and let the music wash over me. All good, right?

No, it isn’t all right. Captain Cougar have given me an album that is so good, I am left wordless. I literally do not know what to say.

This band is good?

This album is good?

The recording is sonically good?

The lyrics are good?

Yes, to all of the above! But what is left to say?

Give them a listen and see if you like them as much as I do. Bonnie is a well composed album that walks between folk music with more than one stringed instrument. I think I can hear mandolin on the song Liquid Helping Hand. There are some more progressive sounds here and there and some gentle pop sensibilities. Fortunately for us, Captain Cougar bring it all together seamlessly on the album Bonnie. Their music is hard to categorise, I suggest giving them a listen you can decide what to call them.

In the place of pages of rhetoric and platitudes about how this should be on everyone’s best of the year charts and so forth, instead of me posting empty content about how much I like this album, I thought I would have a bit of fun with it. I made a crossword puzzle using song titles, some of them are broken down into two parts.

Enjoy the music, that’s it. Enjoy Captain Cougar, they are good.

3Large north American cat1Forlorn and broken hearted
6Rhymic movers2Skipper of a ship
9Rise and shine4Make one’s exit
10I’ve been to many5Assistant
11Her and Clyde7Between words
13Fluid that pours8Lighter than air
14Cold-hearted and pale12A nun is one of these

Lyrics written by Jussi Petäjä

Captain Cougar are:

Juha Kujanpää: keyboards

Laura Lehtola: vocals

Jussi Petäjä: guitars, stringed instruments

Juha-Matti Rautiainen: bass, synths

Janne Torvikoski: drums, percussion

Julia Vuorinen: vocals


Jussi Petäjä

Pinetree Records

Captain A skipper of a ship *

Cougar Large north American cat *

Bonnie Her and Clyde *

Dancers Rhythmic movers *

Liquid Fluid that pours *

Helping Hand Assistant *

Places I’ve been to many*

Sister A nun is one of these *

Spaces Between words *

Wakeup Rise and shine *

Walk away Make one’s exit *

Weightless. Lighter than air *

Loveless Forlorn, and broken-hearted *

Bloodless. Cold-hearted and pale *