Back in 2018, multi-instrumentalist, producer and one-time member of The Cure launched a new project, Astral Drive. The “band” acted as an outlet for Thornalley to revisit the kind of 70s AM radio pop he’d always loved. The album marked itself out as an instant classic, often inviting comparisons to the best works by Todd Rundgren and Jeff Lynne; the kind of record that would keep fans of classic retro pop entertained for years.
The album was then represented in stripped back arrangements on a digital release (self-titled, referred to as “The Green Album”), but it didn’t seem as if the world would see brand new music from Astral Drive again for some time…or possibly ever. The original LP almost sounded like a flash in the pan for retro cool; a perfect statement of the past, recreated for the present. To follow it up with anything as perfect would be a tall order after all.
In 2018, Real Gone celebrated its ninth birthday. It’s been a long and hard road to this point, but we’re pleased to be celebrating our most successful year online to date. Hundreds of new albums have been heard and a record number of gigs have been attended. Not only has this year been our biggest success…it’s also been our favourite.
Nearing the close of 2018, it’s time to look back and celebrate our favourite events – including our top ten album releases…
Normally, each year has an album that’s a clear stand out. Making that distinction this time around has been somewhat trickier, so we’re awarding a joint “album of the year” to two very different albums. If that seems like a cop-out, we don’t care…there really was only a hair’s breadth between them.
Previously at this point in December, it has become the custom for Real Gone to issue a free download containing some of the best underground tracks of the year. For the past seven or eight years, these downloads have been a popular fixture on the Real Gone calendar, turning people on to all kinds of artists.
With the changing times, we regret to say the era of the free sampler has come to an end. It seems that people much prefer streaming and with that in mind, we’ve made the decision to highlight some of our favourite tunes in an eighty minute playlist.
A musician, songwriter and producer, Phil Thornalley will be familiar to most for his brief stint with The Cure in 1983. His other credits include production work for Natalie Imbruglia and Bryan Adams. While not one of the music world’s most obvious faces, he’s worked within the industry since the late 70s. Taking the idea to create “a lost seventies classic”, his Astral Drive project is a world away from many of the musicians he’s been associated with previously. The material within is rich and densely layered; a work completely immersed in studio techniques. Its eleven songs draw influence from a lot of great long players released in the decade of brown and orange, and occasionally, influence crosses a line into…loving plagiarism, but the results are guaranteed to thrill fans of the style.