TRIPWAVE / Magic Theatre 

When you see a generously-priced CD compilation of Russian psychedelic progressive music you have to buy it, don’t you? Well if you ever get a chance to pick up Tripwave on Trail Records, you won’t regret it. Ten-minute-long opener ‘Celt’ by Eastern Syndrome is worth the price one. Imagine a Russian ‘The Fall’ crossed with ‘Porcupine Tree’ and you’ll be close. It’s a wonderful slab of rollicking post-punk delight. And that’s just for starters. The tracks on this collection date from late 80s up to 2010. You get a lot of variety, none of it less than fascinating. Recommended.
Compare and contrast with another purchase, picked up for the princely sum of ¬£3 – Principal Edwards Magic Theatre. They are a band new to me, whose only two albums are included on the CD I picked up. We’re talking late 60s/early 70s English psychedelic folk-rock. Apparently there guys were championed by John Peel, with the releases originally on the short-lived Dandelion label. Think more early Pink Floyd than Fairport Convention, if Pink Floyd had a female singer, flutes and violins.
You can hear why Peel was impressed. There’s real quality in the musicianship and ambition in the arrangements and song – structures, which whirl easily from lilting, menacing folk to battering drums and electric guitar. Slightly pretentious they might have been, but they possessed the clout to back up the intellectual swagger. Also recommended. 

Thoughts from my man-flu bed

I love music. I listen to all sorts and I’d bet there’s something in my CD collection (yes, I still buy them) for everyone, from jazz, blues, rock, psychedelia, classical, punk, post-punk, post-rock, German avant-garde, rap, big-beat, English roots to desert-rock, but, however much I enjoy all these and more, if I had to choose one genre as my island companion, just one, it would be have to be 50s rock and roll, and if I had to narrow it down to just one artist, it would be Elvis Presley.
I’d contradict myself in taking his entire output, which of course covers three decades, but so what. Elvis WAS rock ‘n roll, from his first day to his last (and I’ll lick the man who says it isn’t so). From the historic early sessions in the tiny Sun studios, with one mic, where Elvis first shook up the world, to the full-blown concerts of the 70s and the final home-recordings, there is more soul and talent on display than can easily be comprehended. 
What makes him so great? The humanity, the voice, the heart, the way he communicated with his audience and his musicians. Something indefinable. As a person he had many faults. But I think I would have liked him. He had a deeply spiritual side, one that was actively discouraged by his manager and his closest companions, to tragic effect. I like to think that he could have been saved from himself. I don’t believe he was ever truly happy. 
Long live the King.