Pandora's Piñata

“Diablo Swing Orchestra could be Tim Burton’s dream band” – Outburn

“Diablo Swing Orchestra are a Swedish band straight out of a Tom Waits nightmare. They sound exactly like their name suggests, making dirty, raucous swing, updated with some punky power chords, but the operatic Swedish vocals and nearly death-metal growls separate the band from the swing revivalists of the late ’90s. Definitely not the kind of band one would expect coming out of a Scandinavian country. But hell, there’s no rule that says creepers and fuzzy dice don’t go well with Viking helmets.” – Lost At E Minor

The music of Sweden’s Diablo Swing Orchestra is unlike any other group on the planet. Their music is an eclectic mash up of metal, opera, swing jazz, tango, and spaghetti western soundtrack. DSO is fronted by the glass shattering voice of Annelouice Wolgers, a metal queen at night but an actual opera singer by day.

The band’s third album, Pandora’s Pinata, finds the band expanded into an 8 piece lineup with the permanent addition of two horn players. The new album is a smörgåsbord of different levels of musical insanity building on the foundation laid down on their previous album, Sing Along Songs For The Damned And Delerious.

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  • "After the breakup of Deep Purple in 1976, guitarist Tommy Bolin wasted little time beginning work on his second solo album, Private Eyes. While it was more of a conventional rock album than its predecessor, Teaser (which served primarily as a showcase for his guitar skills and contained several jazz/rock instrumentals), it was not as potent. The performances aren't as inspired as those on Teaser or even those on Bolin's lone album with Deep Purple, Come Taste the Band, although there a few highlights could be found. The nine-minute rocker "Post Toastee" merges a long jam section with lyrics concerning the dangers of drug addiction, while "Shake the Devil" is similar stylistically. But Bolin wasn't simply a hard-rocker; he was extremely talented with other kinds of music: the quiet, acoustic-based compositions "Hello, Again" and "Gypsy Soul," and the heartbroken ballad "Sweet Burgundy." With his solo career starting to take shape (after the album's release, he opened for some of rock's biggest names: Peter Frampton, Jeff Beck, Rush, ZZ Top, etc.), Bolin's life was tragically cut short at the end of the year due to a drug overdose in Miami, FL." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • Wonderful new reunion album from Hans Lundin and Roine Stolt that recaptures the flavor of their first 3 albums from the mid-70s. If you first instinct is to ask yourself what the difference is between this release and a Flower Kings disc you should know that all the material was written by Hans Lundin. Roine is the guitarist but it's pretty much Lundin's show here. Drums are handled by Morgan Agren (ex-Zappa) and Jonas Reingold of Flower Kings plays all basses. This is pure Kaipa in execution - loads of Mellotron, organ and analog synth sounds. 79 minutes of prime epic prog.
    $14.00
  • "Maxi Nil (ex Visions of Atlantis) and Raphael Saini (ex Iced Earth) after touring the world and captivating audiences along the way, decided to join forces and re enter the music world as Jaded Star!Exploding with energy, experience and drive the band's debut album "Memories From The Future" is ready.Produced by Maxi Nil, mixed and mastered by Fredrik Nordstrom at the legendary Fredman Studios in Sweden, this album showcases Maxi's electrifying vocals and the masterful drum work Saini is known for.Guitar hero Kosta Vreto with his unique finger strumming style, eschews the plectrum in favor of a raw, organic sound that literally comes straight through his hands. Babis Nikou on the bass brings a solid foundation and the chemistry between he and Maxi as the song writing team provides emotion to match the power of the sound.The elements are there, the forces have aligned, the Jaded Star is ready to shine!" 
    $13.00
  • "Back in the late eighties and early nineties I was a huge fan of that eras best thrash metal. Bands like Slayer, Testament, Death Angel, and Forbidden drew me in with machine gun double bass drums, lighting fast rhythms, and aggressive vocals. One Machine is the brainchild of guitarist Steve Smyth, best known for his stints in some of metals finest bands including Nevermore, Forbidden, Dragonlord, Vicious Rumours, and Testament, a stellar resume to be certain! For One Machine’s debut album, Smyth has formed a band that is compromised of a who’s who in the world of extreme/underground metal who were carefully selected by Smyth: Mikkel Sandager (Mercenary) on vocals, Jamie Hunt (Biomechanical) sharing guitar duties, rounded out by a powerhouse rhythm section with Tomas “O’Beast” Koefoed (Mnemic) on bass guitar and Michele Sanna on drums (although former drummer Raphael Saini of Italian progressive metallers Chaoswave played on the album). The Distortion Of Lies And The Overdriven Truth was recorded and produced by Steve Smyth. Mixing was handled by guitarist extraordinaire Roy Z (Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, Halford), mastered by Alan Douches (Three Inches Of Blood, Firewind, Sepultura) from West West Side Music with artwork created by Niklas Sundin from Cabin Fever Media (Dark Tranquillity, Arch Enemy), complimented with photography from Anthony Dubois (Meshuggah, Mnemic).The songs harken back to the 80′s Bay Area thrash movement of bands like Early Metallica, Testament, Death Angel, Exodus, and Forbidden and melds it with the classic metal style of Painkiller era Judas Priest and the melody of Vicious Rumours. Lead vocalist Sandager sings clean for the majority of the album but can growl out some extreme growl vocals as well as ear piercing screams that would make Rob Halford proud. He also has a vocal similarity to Russ from Forbidden in places (Crossed Over). Unlike a lot of their thrash metal forefathers, the band has a penchant for writing choruses with melodic and catchy hooks (Armchair Warriors). The music is chaotic at times (Killing The Hope Inside) almost to the point of no return, only to transition into a melodic passage that brings things back from the abyss. The guitar solos are as frenzied and speedy as the songs, at times reminding me of classic Slayer. What you have here are ten no nonsense slamming brutally heavy tracks that will make you want to jump in the pit. The title track sets the tone for the album with neck snapping, whiplash inducing headbanging thrash metal. There are some lighter moments such as in Kill The Light Inside and most notably the dark and moody mid-tempo of Last Star Alights, but for the most part, each song on the album takes a turn pummeling the listener with heavy riffs and brutal rhythms (see Evict the Enemy).One Machine is a band with a tremendous upside and possible crossover potential in the mainstream metal market with the right promotional push. Fans of Smyth’s revious work in Testament, Forbidden, and Nevermore will find a lot to love about this band, while fans of more melodic fare might be surprised to find lots of catchy melodies and hook laden choruses to sink their teeth into!" - Lady Obscure
    $15.00
  • "‘Map of the Past‘, the fifth studio album from Cumbrian prog rockers It Bites, will most likely inhabit a strange, disturbing place in your heart. It’s a release that is obscurely beautiful and tender, but also one that can occasionally sound incongruous and lost in time. Very often, when it comes to progressive music, people will often justify anything odd by defending it with its genre. In the case of It Bites, there is a temptation to lean on a sound from their 80s heyday, which occasionally makes ‘Map of the Past’ seem staid and not just a little cheesy.In places this album is a wonderful, soaring retrospect vision of a forgotten generation, built around the ‘discovery of an old family photograph’. Although not a concept album per se, ‘Map of the Past’ explores the idea of lives captured within photographs, and reflects these contemplative visions with equally thoughtful music; album opener, ‘Man In the Photograph’ opens with the fuzz of radio static and soon leads into sound of organs and John Mitchell’s recollections borne from this one picture. The song blends into the more progressive sounding fare of ‘Wallflower‘ and its indulgent synth solo. The title track is more engaging, with soaring chorus vocals and disorientating time signatures, showcasing the tight musicianship and richly mature songwriting ability that has grown from their 30 years of existence.The strength of this album falters with ‘Flag’ and its irrepressibly outdated smattering of 80s memorabilia and Sting powered vocal lines, although the lyrics are undoubtedly more engaging than any Police offshoot. The album does have a tendency to wander into these unpalatable territories, but more than often than not redeems itself; as the grandiose, irresistible flounce of ‘Send No Flowers‘ resurrects its orchestral bombast and moves into ‘Meadow and the Stream’s artistically detailed backdrop, it’s clear that this album is more rollercoaster than record. The album finishes, as it started, relying on simply constructed songs and that radio static to bookmark the end; ‘The Last Escape’ is honestly beautiful, and seems even more so in contrast to the tumult of the remainder of the record.‘Map of the Past’ shifts between temporal paradigms rather than changing between tracks; it’s a scintillating album that is honest to itself, and stays true to It Bites’ form, even if it does rely on sounds from their back backcatalogue occasionally. Despite this, the depth of the album is phenomenal and is genuinely rich in its storyline, with music that peaks and troughs fittingly. Well worth a listen if you find yourself pointed at the progosphere." - Bring The Noise
    $5.00
  • Remastered with 3 bonus tracks."Electric Light Orchestra continued on their winning Top 40 ways with the release of Discovery. Now pared down to the basic four-piece unit, Jeff Lynne continued to dominate the band and they still got their hits (this time around it was the smash "Don't Bring Me Down"). Elsewhere on the disc there was, of note, "Last Train to London" and "Confusion." Though Discovery charted well, it was becoming obvious that ELO were starting to run themselves out of useful Beatles hooks with which to fuel their hit-making machine." - Allmusic
    $5.00
  • Numbered limited edition hybrid SACD of this late 80s Rush title.  The key here is in the mastering.  Kevin Gray is at the controls and he does a consistently great job.  I would expect this to be the definitive digital edition.
    $27.00
  • This was a pleasant surprise and frankly a return to form. "Room V" is actually a sequel to 1998's "Tyranny" and in many ways betters it. I find the album to be a bit laid back - by Shadow Gallery standards. I would say that this leans more towards the prog rock side rather than metal reminding me of a heavier version of Glass Hammer although lots of similarities to Dream Theater are evident. The album is filled with warmth, perhaps due to the emphasis at times on keyboards. So this one straddles the line between symphonic rock and progressive metal doing both with panache - this one is easily recommended.
    $12.00
  • "The first Primus album to achieve much widespread airplay (thanks to its release on a major), and the one that broke them on MTV, Sailing the Seas of Cheese completely redefined the possibilities of the electric bass in rock music for those who'd never heard the group before. Slapping like a funk player, but strumming power chords and finger-tapping like a metal guitar hero, Les Claypool coaxed sounds from his instrument that had rarely if ever been made the focus of a rock band. Claypool's riffs were so full and dominant that they hardly needed to be doubled by guitarist Larry LaLonde (and wouldn't have had the same effect anyway), which freed him up on most songs to launch into dissonant, atonal solos that essentially functioned as texture, complementing Claypool's oddly whimsical sense of melody. The combination results in a weird atmosphere that could be transformed into something dark or eerie, but Claypool's thin, nasal voice and demented blue-collar persona place the record firmly in the realm of the cheerfully bizarre. The compositions are mostly riff-driven, fleshing out their heavy metal roots with prog rock tricks from Rush and Frank Zappa, as well as the novelty side of Zappa's sense of humor. The willful goofiness may alienate some listeners, but it can also obscure some genuinely dark humor, and it never detracts from the band's frequently stunning musicianship. Somewhat analogous to jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, Claypool hasn't inspired many direct imitators because of his tremendous feats of dexterity. But his stature as a virtuoso able to take his instrument into previously undreamed-of realms is without question. Though Sailing the Seas of Cheese tones down Primus' penchant for jamming, it's the tightest, most song-oriented representation of their jaw-dropping, one-of-a-kind style." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "Here's an unusual progressive-rock project. Spearheaded by drummer François Bernatchez, Qwaarn isn't just the name of a band with members rotating in and out as needed; it's also the main character in the sci-fi-meets-real-world story spanning Aberrations and its predecessor, 2004's The Word of Qwaarn. While some of the Canadian band's influences from that debut album remain on Aberrations (including Genesis and Yes), the new disc is being billed as a "pop-gressive" record by its label, Unicorn Digital, with echoes of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Tears for Fears and The Cure. Didier Berthuit often sings with a heavy accent, and his lengthy carnival-esque soliloquy on "The High Muckity-Mucks" grates after only a few seconds (even though it's meant to be satirical). Guitarists Antoine Bernatchez and Martin Bleau, however, evoke David Gilmour on tracks like "Privilege" and "Dream in Am," and their warm, acoustic material also helps set Aberrations apart from some of the other artists on Unicorn's roster. While the Middle-Eastern flavor of the murky alt-rocker "Mr. Lotto" unveils another side of Qwaarn, the epic "Did You Say Salmon?" proves this collective is first and foremost a progressive-rock band. A bit of an odd progressive-rock band, but a progressive-rock band nonetheless." - sea of tranquility.com
    $15.00
  • "Esoteric Recordings are proud to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded edition of the classic 1969 album A SALTY DOG by PROCOL HARUM. Released in June 1969, the record followed on from the huge international success of the band’s debut single "A Whiter Shade of Pale” and the follow up single "Homburg” and the superb albums PROCOL HARUM and SHINE ON BRIGHTLY.  One of the finest releases of the era "A Salty Dog” saw the exquisite song writing of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid honed to perfection on highlights such as the album’s title track, "The Devil Came From Kansas”, "Wreck of the Hesperus”, "The Milk of Human Kindness” and more.  Recorded at Abbey Road studios, the album captured the excellence of the musicians in the group, namely Gary Brooker (voice, piano), Robin Trower (lead guitar), David Knights (bass guitar), B.J. Wilson (drums) and Matthew Fisher (Hammond organ).Newly re-mastered from the original tapes, this Deluxe edition of "A Salty Dog” has been expanded to include 12 bonus tracks (5 previously unreleased) over two CDs, including the mono single mix of the title track and its non-album B-side; an early take of ‘The Milk Of Human Kindness’, plus five previously unreleased tracks from BBC Radio sessions from October 1968 & May 1969 along with four live tracks recorded in the USA in April 1969.This expanded deluxe edition of "A Salty Dog” also includes a lavishly illustrated booklet that fully restores the original album artwork and features a new essay by Procol Harum biographer Henry Scott-Irvine"
    $19.00
  • Christian Vander has been opening up the tape vaults releasing some prime (and some not so prime) Magma material. Mekanik Kommandoh is the previously unreleased original version of Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh which was rejected by their record label.
    $18.00
  • Daevid Allen is back with a reconstituted version of Gong.  Part of the new lineup features Kavus Korabi (Knifeworld, Cardiacs) and Dave Sturt (Jade Warrior).  There is a great vibe to the album and it doesn't stray from the classic sound."The enduring legend that is Gong multi National, multi dimensional Psychedelic combo enters yet another new phase on their four decades plus journey with I See You, a brand new album to be released on the Madfish label.The current incarnation of Gong comprises vocalist / lyricist Daevid Allen, who, even at the age of seventy five, still radiates an incandescent creativity, the original anarchic vibe that was born out of counter culture revolution in the Paris commune in 1968. His co conspirators on I See You comprise Orlando Allen on drums, new guitarist Kavus Torabi (formerly of The Cardiacs) and the latest guitar incumbent in a band whose ranks have included the likes of Steve Hillage and Mark Hewins, horn player Ian East Wind , sinuous bass propulsion provided by Dave Sturt (the sonic manipulator), and Brazilian Fabio Golfetti who weaves his own lysergic patterns on guitar. This collective create an impressive, multi layered and irrepressible sound that creates its own world and then populates it with a series of dazzling musical gems, melodically rich, lyrically engaging and musically refreshed.I See You is both timeless and timely, a welcome antidote to an increasingly homogenised musical mainstream. Tracks such as This Revolution, a spoken piece which name checks Gil Scott Heron and picks up on the vibe of his The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, articulates the kind of concerns and theories that have always inspired Daevid Allen and informed the Gong worldview, contrasts with the ferocious inter stellar Funk of You See Me, which is sure to be a live favourite. Thank You is a heavy slab of Psychedelicised Blues, whilst Shakti Yoni Dingo Virgin is a moody, melodic instrumental piece that serves to illustrate the immense musical firepower and musical diversity that lurks within the current line up of Gong."
    $8.00
  • "Their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, was first released in Canada and then in the United States on February 14, 1976. It was an immediate hit, reaching number seven on the United States album charts, and achieved a platinum award for sales.At this point in its career, Heart was still a band, but the Wilson sisters had already begun to exert control. They co-wrote wrote nine of the 10 tracks on the record and wrote the remaining track with the rest of the band. In addition, Ann, as the lead vocalist, was the centerpiece and main focus of the band.It was an auspicious first album. The music had a rawer feel than their later polished sound that would propel them to further stardom. It was hard rock with a bluesy sound mixed in. It all added up to one of the better debut albums of the seventiesThe album's first track was the Top 10 hit single “Magic Man.” Ann Wilson’s vocal immediately grabs you. It was instantly recognized that she possessed one of those rare voices that was a gift. The other Top 40 single, “Crazy On You,” was an anxious and urgent rocker. The acoustic intro led to a building electric guitar sound with a repeated riff that continued throughout the song.There is a lot to like about the album. “Soul Of The Sea” is a nice guitar ballad with strings. “White Lightning and Wine” is a bluesy rocker and a forgotten gem in their large catalog of material. “Sing Child,” which is the only group composition on the album, has a guitar jam in the middle that presents early Heart as a true band. “How Deep It Goes” is another rock/blues outing.When this debut effort was first released, it seemed as if Heart just appeared on the music scene out of nowhere. Thirty-four years later, the Wilson sisters are now recognized as lasting rock superstars. If you want to explore the music of Heart, Dreamboat Annie is the place to start." - Seattle Pi
    $7.00