The last few years have seen continued critical acclaim for Bruce Soord. The last couple of Pineapple Thief albums were largely well received by fans and critics alike, and his Wisdom of Crowds side project with Jonas Renkse cemented his popularity.
The Covid pandemic put an end to live performances, but Soord kept himself busy by performing acoustic sets from home during lockdown. Fans will finally get the opportunity to own all of these recordings in April when KScope Records issues The Pineapple Thief’s ‘The Soord Sessions, Vol 1-4’. Full details on the new box set can be found below.
For most people, British progressive rock band Curved Air are known for two things: being the first band to ever issue a picture disc and for the having the legendary Stewart Copeland having occupy their drum stool in the mid 70s. Considering that vocalist Sonja Kristina had previously been an important part of the London theatre scene in the late sixties – appearing in Hair – and Curved Air actually scored a UK top five hit single in 1971, you’d expect them to be more widely celebrated. Perhaps the reason they aren’t is due to lots of their classically- and jazz-derived music being very hard going. Their earlier work often values complexity over obvious hooks – something that makes the funky ‘Back Street Luv’ single seem like something of an anomaly – and the way they switch between different moods from track to track can, at first, be disorienting. They are very much a band that requires a lot of time and patience before most of the listening rewards become obvious.
As co-leader of Dinosaur Jr and a reluctant figurehead for the slacker movement, Joseph Donald Mascis, Jr. became a hero to a generation. In the early mid-90s his band became favourites of MTV’s 120 Minutes, were fixtures on the festival circuit and were even booked for a live in-studio performance for the BBC arts review, The Late Show. During the first part of their career, Dinosaur Jr were a vital part of the alternative music scene; in their reconvened state and with great albums like ‘I Bet On Sky’ (2012), they continued to provide a huge influence over many bands where the distortion pedal reigns.
Given how much love has been lavished upon Dinosaur Jr over the decades, it’s strange how J’s solo catalogue has barely been afforded such high praise. Far fewer people have taken time to appreciate his ‘Songs For Amma’, his albums with The Fog or the one man acoustic works that have previously circulated. His extra curricular output has been met with such an indifference (by comparison) that even his classic ‘Martin + Me’ live recording failed to get a full UK release back in 1996.
For a band that only existed for a short time and released just three studio albums during their original life span, the impact The Stooges had on the world of music was massive. Inspirational to a world of garage rock and punk bands that formed in their wake, their importance couldn’t be understated. Following their demise in 1974 and frontman Iggy Pop’s success with ‘The Idiot’ in 1977, the market was subsequently flooded with bootleg quality recordings of Stooges live shows, many of which somehow reached “official release status” on CD by the 90s. Most of those discs – with the exception of the widely circulated ‘Metallic K.O.’ 2CD set – subsequently became hard to find and began to change hands for ungodly sums of money on the second hand market.
Black Sabbath’s first two albums celebrated their 50th anniversaries this year. Half a century of anything at all is an important milestone, but for these albums – genre defining classics, both – their fifty years seemed more important than most. Barely a week goes by when, as metal fans, we don’t hear something from a new doom or stoner band that owes almost everything to the foundations built by the band back in 1970.