SBB — New Century
(Metal Mind MMP CD 0362, 2005, CD)
SBB — Live in Theatre 2005
(Metal Mind MMP CD 0394 DG, 2005/2009, CD+DVD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2007-03-01
They began life as the Silesian Blues Band in 1971, and shortly after became the backing band for Polish superstar Czeslaw Niemen, returning as simply SBB in 1974 to ultimately become one of the legendary bands of Polish rock. Classics like SBB, Nowy Horizont, Pamiec, and others are milestones in the history of the Eastern European progressive rock movement. But in the early 80s they split for solo work and side projects, and nearly a decade passed before SBB began regrouping again in various configurations for live shows and tours. The current trio lineup, intact since 2000, features original members Józef Skrzek (bass, keyboards, vocals) and Apostolis Anthimos (guitar, drums) along with new drummer Paul Wertico (ex Pat Metheny Group). Following a number of live releases in recent years, new reissues of all their classic albums, as well as the 22 disc boxed Anthology, SBB have released a brand new studio album, plus a live DVD with companion audio disc.
New Century covers a lot of territory, from classic prog anthems and melodic rock ballads – mostly penned by Skrzek, with his knack for melody and memorable songcraft, hook and refrain, to more psychedelic workouts and extended jams, these mostly group written. Standouts in the former category include “Stary Czlowiek W Milczacym Ogrodzie,” “Golden Harp,” and “Music Is My Life,” all slow ballads that reveal themselves slowly with repeated listens. In the latter category is the title track, the blues-harp driven “PAJO,” and the sidelong psych/fusion jam monster “Carry Me Away,” where Wertico’s rhythms and Skrzek’s bass work drive the proceedings, with some serious guitar shredding by Anthimos. Lyrics are mixed between Polish and English, sometimes even within the same song. Live in Theatre 2005 is exemplary of the band’s current performances, presented both in a 15 track professionally shot DVD as well as a companion 10 track audio CD, roughly split between the ‘classic’ SBB progressive rock sound, and the newer fusion driven/jam band approach. Many of the best cuts from New Century appear in live form, and what we have here is very close to what the audience was treated to when SBB headlined at Baja Prog 2006. Both the live and studio releases are highly recommended.
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more