Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Night Flight Orchestra

I’m suffering from World Cup fatigue and the typical Australian problem of watching games held in Europe between midnight and 7am. Add to this fatigue, another weeks worth of football in the Australian Capital for the Kanga Cup for my U13 boys and I’m ready for a holiday.

Being a coach is not easy and on occasions I just need to make time for some feel good music, which is fun and so departed from the tense societies we live in.

What can I say, there is something about TNFO and the music they produce that hits a nostalgic spot for me. And I’m digging it.

Album number 4, “Sometimes The World Aint Enough” came out a few weeks ago and it’s full of massive sing-along choruses and derivative versions of some of the best pop songs ever written.

Actually each album has usually 4 to 6 songs that stand out and when the mood is right, they get cranked on repeat.

This Time

It was the first single dropped in the promotion run to release day and it was actually written for the “Amber Galactic” album. Somehow it didn’t fit the flow of the album. Maybe because it sounded too similar to “Midnight Flyer”.

Regardless it made this one. If you like Deep Purple, Supertramp and Rainbow, then you will like this song. And it’s been on repeat since it came out.

Turn To Miami

This is one of those songs that will also get cranked on repeat. The track by track review on YouTube from the band, mentions a Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac influence.

Also with its “Flashdance” film clip and arena rock chorus, how can you not like it. The other thing I like about TNFO is they write about places that have affected them. The city of Miami pops up on the first album via “West Ruth Ave” and “Miami 501”.

Paralyzed

This is another song to be cranked on repeat. The groovy and melodic intro riff does enough to hook me in while the disco beats and silky bass lines get the feet tapping and the body moving.

Sometimes The World Aint Enough

Yep, add this one to the list of repeats. The keyboard riff in the intro sets up the melody, and when one of one of the most simplest drum beats (yes, it reminds me of Kiss “Deuce”) starts grooving in the Chorus, the song is elevated. As the band has mentioned in interviews, the song is about escapism.

Moments Of Thunder

The track by track YouTube videos has the TNFO guys talking about the song reminding them of Yes and how 44 different snare drums got used. Yep, it’s moments of thunder.

Speedwagon

I think the title gives away it’s influence. REO Speedwagon anyone. Maybe, but not according to Bjorn Strid, as it was just a working title which stuck to the end. According to Bjorn, the song reminds him of Swedish pop bands from the 80’s and 90’s.

Lovers In The Rain

The second singled dropped in the promotion run. It reminds me of Survivor and Def Leppard, however the track by track breakdown mentions it’s like a rock version of Ultravox. Regardless, it’s pretty cool.

Can’t Be That Bad

Seriously the riff to kick it off is so addictive, I am hooked and when the Kiss “Deuce” style drumming comes in, it’s perfect.  And that Chorus reminds me of those Desmond Child choruses from Alice Cooper’s “Trash” album crossed with Belinda Carlisle “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”.

The beauty of these tracks is hearing or reading what the TNFO guys think of it. In the track by track breakdown, it’s mentioned that the song is the output if Alan Parsons hooked up with Kiss for a song writing session.

Pretty Thing Closing In

It’s got this disco drum groove that reminds me of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall”. TNFO reckon it’s a great song to listen to when you are driving in Italy.

Barcelona

Man, the riffs are addictive.

“How I need you Barcelona”

Having been to Barcelona and being really taken by the beauty of the city I can easily relate. And like “Turn To Miami”, this is TNFO writing about cities which have had an impact on them.

Winged and Serpentine

Rick Springfield influence according to the track by track breakdown as the guys watched all of his videos before they entered the studio.

The Last Of Independent Romantics

With album number 2, TNFO started to have a longer and progressive track as the closer. “The Heather Reports” appeared on “Skyline Whispers” and “Saturn In Velvet” appeared on “Amber Galactic”.

The processed electronic drums at the start underpin the “You Give Love A Bad Name” vocal melody in the verses. Yes, you read that right. They took one of Jovi’s biggest choruses and used it for a verse.

Then the riff from 2 minutes, that’s the power of music and the power of this project known as The Night Flight Orchestra.

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A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Night Flight Orchestra – Amber Galactic

“We sound like cocaine”
Bjorn Strid

If you have stopped by the blog previously, you will know of my appreciation for The Night Flight Orchestra.

“Amber Galactic” is their third release and their big label debut on Nuclear Blast.

It all started in 2012 with the excellent debut. “Internal Affairs”. It continued in 2015, with “Skyline Whispers” and in 2017, we have “Amber Galactic”. While we live in an era where the big bands don’t even take the stage without a huge investment up front from promoters and what not, it’s good to hear a band jamming and having fun.

“For me personally, song writing is one of my favourite jobs. This is something I do very often in my spare time. That’s why I always have a lot of songs lying around waiting to be realized. This time, I wrote half of the songs of “Amber Galactic”, Sebastian Forslund, our second guitarist, wrote three, Björn wrote two and “Domino” we wrote together when we were on tour bus in Austria.”
David Andersson 

Midnight Flyer

“When you find yourself on a night flight across the oceans, you’ve just left everything you love behind and once you land you know that nothing will ever be the same. You’ve got nothing left to lose, and you just want to escape reality, no matter the cost. A melancholic over the top party anthem, about the deep personal insights you can only get at 36,000 ft. with a stiff drink in your trembling hands, and the mysterious beauty that you hope will be there waiting for you when you arrive.”
Bjorn Strid 

It was the first song recorded for the album, the first single released to promote the album and it kicks the album off in a frantic style.

From the start, it reminds me of a cross between “Highway Star/Speed King” from Deep Purple and “Death Alley Driver” from Rainbow. The drum groove reminds me of a steroid versioned “Immigrant Song” from Led Zeppelin.

I remember reading an early interview that Deep Purple’s “Made In Japan” and “Made In Europe” are favourites and you can hear it in “Midnight Flyer”, how it builds from the keyboard intro, similar to how “You Fool No One” builds on the “Europe” live album or “Speed King” on the “Japan” live album.

I’m not leaving
I’m just going somewhere else
Far from the sighs and whispers
And the weakness of myself
Now is not the time
To think of all I’ve lost
There are skylines left to conquer
There are oceans left to cross

The work ethic of the TNFO members is high. Multiple bands mean more touring, more time in recording studios, more time song writing and lots of champagne. Meanwhile they are all trying to keep relationships going or families going.

I’m a midnight flyer rushing through the storm
I got lost without your loving and I can’t find my way home

I can’t function and get lost when all hell is breaking loose in my family/love life. We are all creatures of love and acceptance.

Star Of Rio
The guitar riff is infectious and the up tempo drums remind me of early Kiss like “Shout It Out Loud” and “Deuce”. Actually this drum groove appears on this album a few times as well as their previous albums. Refer to “Sad State Of Affairs”.

The chorus on this song is full on rocking, with gospellish female vocals and what not.

My Star Of Rio
You always light my empty skies

I have no idea what the star of Rio is, except for being a cool song title and an excellent song.

Gemini

“Amber Galactic” takes place in a future in where humanity explores and conquers space. The twist is that the commanders are actually commanders, just like the leaders on Earth are all female. The men are mainly responsible for mundane tasks. They worship the women. They also always fall in love with the women of the highest rank, although they are always out of reach for the men. “Jennie” and “Gemini” are both such stories, which in the case of “Gemini” is also presented in the form of the animated music video.”
David Andersson 

On each album they have a disco pop metal rock track. “West Ruth Ave” took the spot on the first album, “Living For The Night-time” took the spot on the second album and “Gemini” takes the spot on the third album.

“I just looked to the sky and sought for a sigh of glimpse of you”

In a time of terror and reality stars as leaders, all we can do is look to the sky and dream away of being with the person that doesn’t want to be with you. Brilliant.

“Bodies in orbit and a signal from a far
As I look to the skies I’m dying to be right where you are”

Relationships drive us forward.

“I’m fighting not to lose control”

It doesn’t take much for humans to lose control.

So many influences are present in this song, like Styx, The Police, Divinyls and Blondie.

Sad State Of Affairs

The drum groove from “Star In Rio” is back and musically the song reminds me of “California Morning” from their debut album, “Internal Affairs”. Additional influences that come to mind are the Rolling Stones “Jumpin Jack Flash”, “Unmasked” KISS era with a bit of Steely Dan thrown in. When the song hits the bridge its Steely Dan meets Billy Joel. Brilliant.

It’s a sad state of affairs now that my heart aint going anywhere

Lyrically, it’s a song about being in love and not being able to get out of being in love.

Jennie
It’s got a bass groove influenced by “Burning Heart” from Survivor and some strong influences from Supertramp and Elton John.

Who’s Jennie?

It’s one of those mysterious women the band likes to write about.

Any other day I would long for the sound
Every little noise that was you
But it was silence we used to come by
Just simply sharing the truth

Relationships are a tough gig. We love being in one and we hate it when it doesn’t go as plan.

And I saw your face on the screen just tonight
Telling us all what to do

Is Jennie one of those female leaders that the men are all in love with but can’t have?

Domino

The keys are superb and the bass playing is groovy and brilliant. The whole song has this vibe from the Sylvester Stallone directed movie “Staying Alive”. The intro also reminds me of “Lorelei” from Styx and there is a Toto “Africa” vibe happening as well under a disco pop rock feel.

I was lost in Vienna with the devil on my trail
I just arrived from Venice, got your letter in the mail

The scene is set.

Domino
For games we play I fell away
It’s time you know
You can’t play with my heart

Gene Simmons had a man size predicament about Domino. I guess it still continues.

Josephine
Here is a song about another mysterious woman. According to the guys in the band the song has this “Hill Street Blues” TV theme happening. And I don’t disagree.

Trying to get me some action
I was drunk and lost in a dream
I was asking the DJ to play
Edge of Seventeen

“Edge Of Seventeen” is a Stevie Nicks song. Love the reference to it and how trying to get some action meant playing a song that the opposite sex would like and dance to.

Josephine
Your song was written long ago

Digging the guitar solo and Richard Larsson rocks the keys on the outro.

Space Whisperer

There’s that drum groove again that appears multiple times throughout the album.

Why not?

It’s the best groove in town.

And the riffs just enhance it.

Like a shadow in your sunset
Radiating from your gaze
I could feel you in the distance

“Space Whisperer” is about being alone in space.

A satellite transmission from a world I didn’t see
Space Whisperer

The section before the guitar solo that’s like a drum solo reminds me of “Radar Love” and the guitar solo is one of those “songs within a song” guitar solos.

Something Mysterious

The intro is a cross between “Reason To Live” from Kiss and “Burning Heart” from Survivor. But when the verse rolls around, it’s full on like “Burning Heart”. It’s fantastic how they tie up so many influences into a super catchy song.

“Light up the sky like something mysterious”

Plus it’s got a cool retro 80’s film clip to go with it.

Saturn In Velvet
The normal epic closer and a verse riff that reminds me of another song and it’s killing me because I cannot come up with the title.

What ya trying to do with me
I never saw it coming
You left me dragging my own misery
Around the circle of habit

I am pretty sure Bjorn sings the above. Maybe he doesn’t sing it, but my ears want to hear the last two lines in that way.

Remember back in the day, when you would get music dubbed from a friend and then you would spend hours deciphering/writing the lyrics of the song. Well, we are back to those days with streaming. You see, with less physical product doing the rounds and access to music at all-time highs, the lyric sheet is a thing of the past. Yeah I know the bigger artists have their lyrics all over the web and eventually the lyrics to this song would also get there, but a week has passed since the album release and still no lyrics.

Just Another Night
A cover of Mick Jagger’s solo hit from “She’s The Boss” released in 1985 and to be honest it bloody rocks. In saying that, I am a fan of Jagger’s original version as well. It was a song that crossed over to the hard rock audiences.

Just another night
Just another night with you
Just another kiss
Just before the dark breaks through

Brilliant.

On a final note, David Andersson churns out basically any guitar style and for me he deserves special praise here. Bjorn Strid on vocals cements himself as the most versatile and fun-loving singer on planet Earth. The rhythm section of Sharlee D’Angelo on bass and Jonas Kallsback is tighter than a G-string tuned to A. Keyboardist Richard Larsson has become an important cog in the TNFO machine while newest member Sebastian Forslund delivers any other instrument needed plus he wrote a few songs for the record.

Overall, it’s one of the best listens I have had since their debut “Internal Affairs” caught me by total surprise and suckered punched me into fandom.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2015

“Progress is made by improving on what came before”.

Music is no different. If you want a career, if you want to make progress, you need to improve on what came before. The class of 2015 so far is doing just that.

NUMBER 0:
Protest The Hero – Pacific Myth Subscription Series

PTH is one band (of many) that are using different ways of connecting and engaging with their fan base.

I was one of those fans that contributed to their Indiegogo campaign for the “Volition” album, watched em live when they came to Oz, purchased merch and now I am one of those fans that is contributing to the “Pacific Myth” subscription series. The way PTH geared it up is they have two packages for a one of fee of $12 and $25. On both packages, the subscriber would receive a monthly song (for a period of 6 months) to stream, or download. In addition, you will also receive the instrumental version, along with artwork, lyrics, music scores and notes. The $25 package also includes a six part doc series.

As vocalist Rody mentioned in the video launching the series, “think of it as an EP spread over six months”.

“We have done the full-length album and ensuing record cycle four times now. While they all had their benefits, they all dragged on. Most record cycles are at least 2 years. That’s two years of promoting 40-or-so minutes of music. Music that you may have written two years before that! We have never been able to release what we want to release NOW. So that’s exactly what this is. These are songs we love now, songs we are proud of now, and songs which are inherently more candid than our other material. Don’t get us wrong, this is very much the pth you either know and love or know and hate. If you like what we do, we are pretty sure you are going to dig this crap. I guess we’ll let these little lullabies speak for themselves…”

This again is another innovative way for the band to connect directly with the fans. It’s a brave new world out there for monetizing your fan base. You can scream and complain about royalty payments or you can innovate, adapt and connect with your audience like PTH, for it is your audience that sustains you, keeps you employed.

Now, if you like a hard rock song or a metal song that sticks to formula, then you will probably not like Protest The Hero. If you are into progressive and technical music with different moods, that could have melodic vocals and harsh vocals (especially in the earlier days) with intelligent lyrics, then PTH is a band you would like.

“Begging the questions “why?””, why do we work until we die” ….. from “Tidal”
“A drop into the sea whose ripple turns to a tidal wave and sweeps the shores it once forgave” ….. from “Tidal”
“The sun, the moon, the Earth, conversed and agreed, the people of the world must pay for its atrophy” ….. from “Tidal”

Here is the link for “Tidal”.
Here is the link for “Ragged Tooth”.

NUMBER 1:
The Night Flight Orchestra – Skyline Whispers
This is the best album for 2015 by far.

For the ones that don’t know, TNFO is a very classic AOR rock sounding side-project. From “Soilwork”, Björn “Speed” Strid and David Andersson are on vocals and guitar. From “Arch Enemy”, Sharlee D’Angelo is on bass. From Swedish rock group “Von Benzo” comes Richard Larsson on keyboards. From Swedish metal band “Meanstreak and Swedish rock group “Orchid” comes Jonas Källsbäck on drums. Rounding out the band for the second album is Sebastian Forslund from “Kadawatha” on congas, percussion and guitar.

So way back in 2012, TNFO released an incredible album called “Internal Affairs”. It was a throwback to the Classic Rock era of the Seventies and a joy to listen to from start to finish. Fast forward to 2015, and we have the second album, “Skyline Whispers”. Like the debut album, it is a trip down memory lane. However in this case, instead of being a throwback to the sounds of the Seventies, it is a throwback to the sound those Seventies bands did towards the end of the Seventies and into the Eighties.

Check out “Sail On”, “Living for the Night-time”, “I Ain’t Old, I Ain’t Young”, “Spanish Ghosts” and “The Heather Reports” for essential listening.

“I have crossed too many oceans
I was born a rambling man
And I’ve caused a lot of heartaches
But I never gave a damn

Now the road that lies before me
Gives no answers to my prayers
But I still have hopes that surely
Things will add up in the end

Sail on, sail on”

NUMBER 2:
Whitesnake – The Purple Album

To be honest, Whitesnake has had a tough run. When the band and Coverdale got that huge success in the U.S (thanks to MTV) between 1987 and 1989, no one really had a clue about Coverdale’s origin story.

The majority of the 7 million people in the U.S that purchased the 1987 album were clueless that Coverdale had released over 10 albums prior to that and that he was even in Deep Purple. And who would have thought that “Here I Go Again”, “Still Of The Night” and “Is This Love” would take that much mindshare and become a soundtrack to people’s lives.

Which brings me to “The Purple Album”.

I have read a lot of comments on social media that either hate “The Purple Album” or love it. There is no in-between. I’m confused as to why it is causing such a great divide. “The Purple Album” is the perfect bridge to bring Coverdale’s Deep Purple legacy into his Whitesnake legacy.

Who better to do remakes of those great songs than Coverdale himself?

With the help of John Kalodner at Geffen Records, Coverdale proved himself a master at doing remakes. Remember “Crying In The Rain” and “Here I Go Again”.

People also forget that Jimi Hendrix’s biggest songs were remakes of songs already released. Think “Hey Joe” and “All Along The Watchtower”. Hell, Def Leppard did their own remakes of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Rock Of Ages”, due to a record label “licensing vs sales monies to be paid dispute”. Anyway, whatever peoples’ views on remakes/forgeries are, “The Purple Album” is a classic modern sounding album with no filler, that a new generation of fans would gravitate to.

“The Purple Album” project was birthed by tragedy. After the death of Jon Lord, Coverdale reached out to Ritchie Blackmore to discuss a possible get together and to thank Blackmore for giving an unknown an opportunity to be the lead singer in Deep Purple. When that new collaboration didn’t eventuate, the project would go on to become a new Whitesnake project. With the backing of Frontiers Records, who just love to wrap up new sound recordings of songs written in the Seventies and Eighties for another 100 years of copyright, the project was a go.

“People are sayin’ the woman is damned, She makes you burn with a wave of her hand” ….. from “Burn”

“Ride the rainbow, Crack the sky, Stormbringer coming, Time to die” ….. from “Stormbringer”

“Many times I’ve been a traveller, I looked for something new” ….. from “Soldier Of Fortune”

“My mama showed me how to rock in the cradle, but I learned how to roll along,
My papa said “son, gotta git some fun, Cos when your old it ain’t too good on your own” ….. from “Coming Home”

NUMBER 3:
Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
What can I say, it’s the mighty Maiden. Hell, the football Summer Comp team my boys are in is called Iron Maiden. Plus I purchased 5 tickets to their concert next year, so that I can take my whole family to watch them. Enough said.

It’s been five years from the “The Final Frontier” album. During that period, Maiden has hit the road in support of “The Final Frontier” and they hit the road to celebrate a milestone from the past. Add to that, live DVD releases, the writing and recording process of the new album, Bruce Dickinson’s cancer diagnosis, and the result is “The Book Of Souls”.

First, the album doesn’t sound like a professional mega band recording. It is raw and with mistakes.

Second, I do wish that on some of the songs some editing was employed. And that is a difficult thing for me to say as a lot of my favourite songs clock in at over 10 minutes. However, the Maiden concerts are known for fans chanting and singing along with the riffs and the chants, and “The Book Of Souls” is full of songs that have those chants.

It’s funny, but Iron Maiden is one of those bands that has a fan base that loves them. That is evident by the ticket sales and merch sales they rack up in each city they hit. They could make a career of revisiting their legacy on each tour, like the “Caught Somewhere Back In Time” tour. But Maiden doesn’t want to be a nostalgic act.

The album is number three on my list because each song has an idea that is like a lightning strike, a moment that makes me tap my foot, nod my head and take notice. And it could have been a perfect 60 minute album, instead of a 93 minute album.

“The red and the black
People don’t want the truth
Look in their eyes and you send them away” ….. from “The Red And The Black”

“If you should sell your soul as cheaply as I did then
The road to ruin is a long road to hide in
We signed our lives away to have an escape
It’s something that will be whatever our fate” ….. from “When The River Runs Deep”

“We must go now, we must take our chance with fate” ….. from “Empire Of The Clouds”

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