Monday, September 5, 2016

The September Playlist: Kansas Is A Band

Kansas is a band--a band whose songs are played every day on classic rock radio ("Carry On Wayward Son," "Dust In The Wind"), who have toured frequently throughout their existence, and who return to the album charts this month (hopefully) with The Prelude Implicit, their first new studio album in 16 years.
In celebration of this monumental release, we've compiled a playlist of one song from each of Kansas' previous studio albums, arranged chronologically. You may hear some songs you recognize, while others may turn you on to albums you forgot existed. These selections run the gamut of Kansas' classic sounds, from outright prog to southern boogie to ballads and harder-edged rock.

1. "Bringing It Back" from Kansas
2. "Lamplight Symphony" from Song For America
3. "Mysteries And Mayhem" from Masque
4. "Opus Insert" from Leftoverture
5. "Closet Chronicles" from Point Of Know Return
6. "Angels Have Fallen" from Monolith
7. "No One Together" from Audio-Visions
8. "Chasing Shadows" from Vinyl Confessions
9. "End Of The Age" from Drastic Measures
10. "We're Not Alone Anymore" from Power
11. "Inside Of Me" from In The Spirit Of Things
12. "Black Fathom 4" from Freaks Of Nature
13. "The Sky Is Falling" from Always Never The Same
14. "When The World Was Young" from Somewhere To Elsewhere
15. "Blood In The Water" from Native Window

Friday, September 2, 2016

area251 Records Seeks a Kickstart to Reissue The Clingers' 1969 Single "Gonna Have A Good Time"

The Clingers--Melody, Patsy, Peggie, and Debbie--were one of the early all-female rock 'n' roll groups. With Kim Fowley producing their cover of The Easybeats, they can also be seen as something of a proto-proto-punk predecessor of The Runaways.

Now, area251 Records wants to re-issue The Clingers' 1969 single, "Gonna Have A Good Time," on 7" vinyl, with a couple of color options. The Kickstarter campaign is straightforward: area251 Records is looking to raise enough money for licensing and manufacturing. This is a cool opportunity to bring a bit of history into the present, while bringing the spotlight to a group whose importance has not been reflected in their place in popular consciousness.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Tangent Release Short Film Reacting To Brexit

Progger Andy Tillison and his top-notch outfit, The Tangent, have released a 20 minute short film (i.e., a standard-length prog song) raging against the popular rhetoric and racist vitriol surrounding the recent vote in England for that country to renounce its membership in the European Union. "A Few Steps Down The Wrong Road" is loud, brash, and unapologetic in its intensity, featuring alternating narration, singing, and instrumental passages. It's about as punk as a prog song can get.

On his Facebook page, Tillison offered the following dedication: "So For all those people, for Marie Eve, for Dagmara, For Tushar, for my amazing students from countries I don't even know how to pronounce. who teach me more than I teach them - this song is for you. It's a song from a man who loves his Yorkshire, his England, his Britain and his Europe more than the self serving hacks from the tabloid press seem to love anything. This is The Tangent. We are a PROGRESSIVE ROCK BAND. This is our new song. Play as loud as you can - and make sure you listen to the very end."

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Devin Townsend Project Release New Single, "Failure"

The Devin Townsend Project have released "Failure" as the first single for their upcoming album Transcendence, due out on September 9th from Inside Out Music.

In addition to serving as a relatively accessible first listen for Transcendence, this song includes some notable departures from the Devin Townsend Project's past releases. The track features an extended guitar solo from about 2:15 until about the 4 minute mark, when synths come to the fore. Mostly eschewing technical wankery, the solo is an exploration that complements the contemplative mood of "Failure." In a departure from the usual spotlighting of Anneke Van Giersbergen's gorgeous contributions, all backing vocals are folded into the big 'choir' effect on the chorus, leaving the focus squarely on Devin's soaring laments. Finally, the mix feels more airy and centered on keys and drums, as opposed to the denser guitar-dominated approach that Devin sometimes takes.

 USA Omerch Pre-Order

The DTP must have been feeling pretty cheeky to release "Failure" as the first single from the new album, as it clearly succeeds. It's a strong track in its own right, it includes many musical trademarks that longtime fans will expect (soaring vocals, heavy riffs, exploration of dark moods and textures), but it also distinguishes itself with the long guitar solo and lighter mixing. In interviews, Devin has talked up the significance of the collaborative writing approach for Transcendence, and it seems to have paid off with, ironically, a spectacular "Failure."

To follow up the new single, Devin Townsend will participate in a Facebook Live Q&A on August 10, at around Noon his time (Vancouver time?).