New release round-up

Five more Queen re-issues from Island including ‘News Of The World’, ‘Jazz’ and my all-time fave Queen album ‘The Game’. Some decent live bonus tracks plus a couple of B-sides. Pagan’s Mind are new to me listening wise and their new album ‘Heavenly Ecstasy’ is a right good melodic/power metal romp. Sits nicely along with Power Quest’s new album.

Tommy Shaw (Styx) has a new solo album out, ‘The Great Divide’ but it’s a bluegrass/Americana one, still with his voice and some name musicians it is very enjoyable indeed. Sarah Jarosz ‘Follow Me Down’ is another wonderful bluegrass/Americana album and features an inspired Radiohead cover.

Hanson ‘Shout It Out’ yes those US boy pop rockers have grown up and produced an enjoyable set of pop rock tunes. They have added a horn section to many of the songs, a modern day Chicago anyone? Williams/Friestedt is one for lovers of Toto circa Joseph Williams (no surprise given he sings on this album!) fronting the band. Perfect AOR for a summer’s day.

Styx have a ‘best of’ collection out in time for their UK tour and it leans nicely towards the heavier end of their catalogue. Pendragon ‘Passion’ will again feature in my year end best of as it is another enjoyable slice of progressive music. Includes some of their heaviest music to date. Credo ‘Against Reason’ shows the band keep getting better and better. A perfect mix of classic 80’s UK prog with modern touches.

The Trews ‘Hope & Ruin’ is another good album form these underrated Canadians and one that seems they dip their toe into a little country rock with good results. Black Stone Cherry are back and they have got some sure fire crowd pleasers on their new album none more so than lead single ‘White Trash Millionaire’. In Legend ‘Ballads ‘N’ Bullets’ sees a band led by a pianist and no guitars in sight! Sounds bizarre but it works and it is very heavier in places as the piano almost works like a lead guitar solo.

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