Wednesday, November 23, 2016

One Sentence Reviews: Alice Cooper Goes to Hell by Alice Cooper

Forget the details; let's get to the heart of the matter. Here's our one sentence review of Alice Cooper's big conceptual successor to the smash hit, Welcome to My Nightmare.

Alice Cooper Goes To Hell is both silly and heartfelt, like if Paul Lynde & Paul Williams teamed up to write a disco musical about the literal damnation of glam rock degenerates.

Monday, October 17, 2016

One Sentence Reviews: In The Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson

Forget the details; let's get to the heart of the matter. Here's our one-sentence review for King Crimson's debut album and progressive rock progenitor, In The Court Of The Crimson King.

If John Coltrane had lived to form a rock band in 1969, this would be the Bible Black to that band's more orthodox expressions.

Monday, October 10, 2016

One Sentence Reviews: Sandinista! By The Clash

Forget the details; let's get to the heart of the matter. Here's our one sentence review of The Clash's follow-up to the instant classic, London Calling.

Sandinista! is the 80's companion album to Self Portrait that Bob Dylan should have made.

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?).

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kansas Are Back, Nothing's Changed, And That's Fine

Relentless, Unchanging...

Kansas are many years removed from their days as a chart-topping arena act, and have taken a decade-and-a-half to record a studio album of new material. Now, having acquired a new vocalist and signed with Inside Out Music, they have announced a new album and begun releasing some teaser material.

Unsurprisingly, Kansas & Inside Out Music have chosen an upbeat ballad as the first full preview track from their upcoming album, The Prelude Implicit. To anyone who has lost touch with the band, or who simply found themselves skeptical of a new vocalist, "With This Heart" announces that Ronnie Platt and the band are quite prepared to make this new Kansas album a worthy event.

David Ragsdale
 and Platt are front and center here in a track that leans more toward a classic 80's Kansas sound (think Drastic Measures and In The Spirit Of Things) than it does toward "Carry On Wayward Son." But that choice may reveal a strength overlooked by casual fans, who forget that this band has been around for a long time after the 70's. There's nothing new or spectacular here, but the track is refreshingly mundane--no gimmicks needed, as Kansas simply turn in a song that is clearly Kansas and nothing else. And that's enough for now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The July Playlist: Summer Jamz

What does it take to make a song worthy of the title 'summer jam'?

Common ingredients seem to include pop hooks, bouncy rhythms, electric guitars, and topics such as romantic love, sunshine, cars, and dreams for the future. It probably also helps if it cruises well and includes some catchy theremin licks.

The following playlist includes all of the above ingredients.

1. Haley Reinhart- Show Me Your Moves
2. Prince- Compassion
3. Yes- Roundabout
4. ELO- State of Mind
5. They Might Be Giants- Bills, Bills, Bills
6. Anneke Van Giersbergen- Take Me Home
7. Leigh Nash- The State I'm In
8. Chuck Berry- Maybellene
9. Bill Mallonee- Wintergreen
10. Brian Wilson- Good Vibrations
11. Paul Gilbert- Make It (If We Try) + Full I Can Destroy album stream

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Album Impressions: Bill Mallonee's Winnowing, Track-by-Track

Winnowing is available for listening and purchase at Bill Mallonee's Bandcamp. It is also available as a limited edition vinyl LP.

"Dover Beach"- Not even a minute passes before we get our first refrain of “out in the cold,” which serves in place of a chorus for the album opener, and as a thesis for the album as a whole. Mid-tempo and shuffling, the song hangs on layered electric guitar parts that have become the musical hallmark of Bill’s recorded work since Permafrost. "Dover Beach" was, earlier, the album’s title, and the song still serves the purpose of a title track. We find a pilgrim who has “traveled for these many years & knocked on all these doors,” now tired and broken-hearted, still searching for a home unseen.

"Those Locust Years"- Despite a little more spring in the musical step here, the themes of scarcity, loss, and resignation continue. Now, instead of a bleak ocean view, we glimpse something going on beneath the skin.

"From An Old Beat Up Ford"- This is one of the strongest tracks, musically, with a gorgeous yet disturbing extended guitar effect on the ending. Though a cold dark has settled in, we are reminded of a prior time when the sun shone brightly. Ignored at the time, perhaps the memory can still provide some “illumination” and a “beacon in the storm.”

"Got Some Explainin’ To Do (Gotta Give The Devil His Due)"- The rocker here, featuring blistering harmonica and social commentary. Against such obvious devilry at every turn, what was only a memory of goodness becomes a renewed passion, a public commitment to “banishing darkness” and “doing what is right.”

"Dew-Drop Inn (I Love You Just Because)"-The lone traveler, cold, empty-handed, and wearied by the evils of this life, finds momentary respite in the company of fellow pilgrims. “Stories get told” and “drinks get poured,” and all the reason needed for love is “just because.” Lovely organ work at the end hints at the grace to be found in moments like these.

"Blame It On The Desert (Whisperin’)"- “Farther up the road,” the traveler stops in at a “roadside diner Communion table,” and, true to the commitments expressed across the previous two songs, remembers that “you only ever own/what you give away” and to “leave what you are able.” The lonely road is no longer home; now, it is the solitude of a desert existence that surrounds our pilgrim. Such existence provides only too much time for the introspection and mourning of the opening tracks, but also the “mystic insight” that prepares the heart with love for fellow travelers.

"In The New Dark Age (The Only Lamp Burning Bright Is You)"- The lushest and most psychedelic of the tracks here, hearkening back somewhat to the mood of Perfumed Letter. The kind company of fellow pilgrims cannot quite protect against the oncoming night of “the new dark age,” where such love and grace is a rarity, where “no one trusts anyone” and love has been “escorted out.” Which is stronger: the encompassing dark, or the lone lamp “burning bright”?

"Hall of Mirrors/Room Full of Woes"- The lamp may burn bright as the desert wind blows through the night, but in the late hours one is all too aware that “death is a boxer stalking the ring” who’s “always stealing the show.” Another early contender for album title, this song gathers all the introspection and quiet resignation of the album, speaks it clearly, yet dares to whisper into the night: “what is lost is nothing/compared to what gets found.”

"Now You Know"- The official album closer. A restatement of all the darker themes of the album, the sadnesses ever-present as one travels the hills, deserts, and seas. Can things get that bad? Can all hope and faith be lost? “Now you know…”

"Tap Your Heart On The Shoulder"- The last word is never the last word. What seems most certain in the darkest hours of the night may still be questioned in the “eternal dawn and gloaming” of sunrise. When faith and hope no longer remain, love is still “the greatest of these,” and may yet bring the others back with her. In the lowest moment of the “locust years,” if the “prize-fighter” has not yet taken “all the prize money,” then “this old flesh & blood has gotta find/a reason to believe.” What better reason than love? No guarantees, but maybe Love has persevered through the night, accompanying the pilgrim through his desert Gethsemane. “Hey, reach over & tap your heart on the shoulder/and see if she’s still awake.”

Hear the Desert Whispering on Bill Mallonee's Winnowing

22 LPs.

12 Full-length “collections,” most of which include previously unreleased songs, demos, alternate takes, or concert recordings.

6 live LPs.

25 EPs.

Add in singles, DVDs, and 40 months of Billtunes material, and Bill Mallonee has over 100 official releases to his credit going in to Winnowing, which is his 23rd full-length studio album in the 24 years since Jugular. Oh, and they’re all great.

Scene set.

Let us begin.

Thematically, Bill has described Winnowing as an “Autumnal” record, and meditations on loss, scarcity, and desert existence abound. “Dover Beach,” and “Hall of Mirrors/Room Full of Woes,” both early contenders for title track, lay these themes right out on the table. As Bill often says in interviews, the songs are a way to conjure up some “nomenclature” for the inner landscape, and landscape as such plays a lead role in these songs and throughout the album. On “Dover Beach,” the loneliness of a cold beach reveals a heart broken from doors never opened and a home never found, while a fruitless desert farm provides a setting for contemplating death on “Hall of Mirrors/Room Full of Woes.” In between, the album stops in at various desert locations, full of beat-up trucks, horses and wagons, hotel bars and roadside diners, a desert wind whispering through them all.

Musically, the album is right in step with Bill’s last four full-length releases; that is to say, this is mostly a collection of shuffling Americana tunes, with plenty of organ and mellotron flourishes. Muriah Rose features more here than on last year’s Dolorosa, much to the songs’ benefit. Since Permafrost at least, Bill has focused on layering electric guitar parts, and Winnowing features his lushest work yet; seldom raucous, with hardly a proper “solo” within earshot, there’s a lot going on here with the guitars. This is also the best-produced of the “home studio” albums, as the experimentation of the WPA series of EPs has paid off in the engineering and mixing on Winnowing.

The packaging follows the example of the last few releases, featuring design by Jason Judy and consisting mostly in photographs taken around Bill and Muriah’s New Mexico home. Like Amber Waves, the cover offers no title or artist credit, just a desert scene of early-fall greens, oranges, and yellows. This desert scene focuses on Bill, head bowed, as in many of the songs. Full lyrics are included in the packaging, and even the printed words are cast against the backdrop of the desert.

Not a “concept album” in the usual sense, Winnowing is nonetheless one of Bill’s most cohesive albums, and serves as a strong entry to his already impressive body of work. As such, it’s a great jumping-on point for newcomers, and an “essential” album for already-fans. It captures the essence of Bill’s work as a songwriter, guitarist, singer, and album artist.

Winnowing is available for listening and purchase at Bill's Bandcamp. It is also available as a limited edition vinyl LP.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Deep Cuts: Big Big Train's "Winkie"

Our 'Deep Cuts' feature highlights album tracks that (1) have not been released as the A-side of a single, (2) do not appear on an album titled "Best of..." or "Greatest Hits..." and yet (3) represent a high point in an artist's overall catalogue.

Completing Side 3 of the lauded Folklore album, "Winkie" finds Big Big Train simultaneously at their most progressive and their most accessible moment. After a brief intro featuring flute, the track opens with booming drums and bombastic organ--a clear signal that this 8.5 minute song is intended as an entry to the canon of progressive rock epics. Almost immediately, the bombast drops and Logsdon delivers the opinions of character Major Osman in a voice lifted almost directly from classic XTC.

"Winkie" continues--across several distinct musical movements--to recount the story of a heroic pigeon whose faithful flight facilitates the rescue of a WWII bomber crew stranded in the ocean. The song could almost serve as a definitional initiation into the world of progressive rock: this is a narrative track, traversing several time signatures and musical dynamics, featuring non-standard rock instruments (flute, organ, brass) and non-standard rock subject matter (the National Pigeon Service in WWII, the superiority of the natural world over technology). Nevertheless, "Winkie" proves more accessible than many progressive epics in its unrelenting directness. The 7 distinct parts of the song are distinguished more by their place in the unfolding plot than by progress of musical movements. No musical moment extends for long without the return of lyrics and melody to anchor. The lyrics themselves tell the story straightforwardly, without requiring additional explanation from the artist.

While Folklore includes many songs focused on the natural world ("Lost Rivers of London," "Wassail," "Telling the Bees"), "Winkie" stands out as the most musically expansive and lyrically immediate of the bunch. It also perfectly encapsulates its album's theme and its band's style, without duplicating any other track in the Big Big Train catalogue.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Anderson/Stolt Explore The Spirit of Inventioning

Album Review for Invention of Knowledge

I. Background

Jon Anderson, co-founder and lead singer of Yes, has been one of the most important and longest enduring practitioners of what he calls Yes Music, i.e., classic symphonic progressive rock. Roine Stolt, of Kaipa, The Flower Kings, & Transatlantic, has been one of the most important and longest enduring practitioners of classic symphonic progressive rock in its Third Wave, working obviously within the tradition started by Jon Anderson. Anderson and Stolt met on a cruise when Transatlantic backed Anderson in a performance of 70's-era Yes songs; the head of Inside Out Music (one of the most important and longest enduring record labels specializing in progressive rock) suggested they collaborate on new material, and so they did. Anderson had already written some songs with friends via the Internet, and he continued this form of collaboration with Stolt, sending files back and forth also via the Internet.

II. Theme

The album title, Invention of Knowledge, provides both a clue and an obstacle to understanding the music therein presented. Assuming even a modicum of experience with progressive rock, one might forgiveably suppose this to be a concept album about the invention of knowledge. One might expect a sort of historically-minded, narrative approach to the subject of 'knowledge.' However, the album is not so much about but rather for the "inventioning of knowledge."

Inventioning/Inventioning the spirit of inventioning/Call free the system calling/Now is the time to chase it/This life will still be singing/Calling there calling there calling there

Being this and reading this inventioning/Always to begin the better day/To remember who we are/To summon up the right/To realize this song

Any long-form progressive music from Jon Anderson will rightly be compared to the best of his work with Yes, and thematically Invention of Knowledge recalls the four-musical-movements-across-four-LP-sides milestone, Tales from Topographic Oceans. Like Topographic Oceans, this album is unrelentingly spiritual and positive. It looks forward to a better world and better self that can be through "the perfect mystery of how we invent our knowledge and love of life, and how we are connected to all that is." Commonly, people describe Anderson's lyrics as "mystical," or "New Age-y," when of course what they mean is "nonsensical." And his lyrics here are all three of these things in service of the album's purpose as energy and vehicle rather than as history or science.

South say dancing love may jump and get it/North see crystal shores then see it/Healing stars will set them covered/All in the trance of the Tremalon days

East and west are set to covering life/Southern dreams will dance forever/Healing stars will set them covered/All in the trance of the Tremalon days

III. Sound

While Invention of Knowledge thematically follows Tales from Topographic Oceans, sonically it most resembles the floweriest offerings of The Flower Kings or the modern Yes Music achievement of Keys to Ascension. The music is highly structured yet warm and spiritual; the guitar leads are piercing and angular yet melodic; the production is lush yet focused; and the arrangements are expansive while never meandering. The album is far from experimental. Rather, in mining the richest veins of sources such as Close to the Edge, Tales from Topographic Oceans, Flower Power, & The Banks of Eden, Stolt has taken an established musical tradition and pushed it towards its own perfection.

Throughout, Anderson's melodies and chanting are at the fore. Stolt's ensemble provide plenty of delightful surprises, such as the harpsichord at the beginning of "Everybody Heals" and the slightly-dissonant breakdown near its end. Nevertheless, this is an impressive who's who of Prog luminaries: they just are amazing musicians, and so they perform impressive music without needing to impress anyone with their performance. In this sense, Invention of Knowledge is more orchestral and symphonic than many progressive rock projects that claim those descriptions, because everything is focused on the presentation of the music rather than on the deification of any particular musician involved.

IV. Impression

Invention of Knowledge has been nominated for Album of the Year in Prog Magazine's annual awards. The nomination is far from patronizing. Anderson/Stolt (and company) have produced an exceptional piece of music, even by their own celebrated standards. Without disparaging the hallowed legacy of the band Yes, fans should feel free to consider this album the equal--not only the progeny but the equal--of the best of Yes in the early 70's.

And this very achievement will likely prove the greatest obstacle to this album's acceptance. Even by Prog standards, this is a piece of music that demands to be encountered as a whole--several melodies, lyrics, and instrumental flourishes may stand out, but no one moment offers itself as the encapsulation of the whole, as the 'hook' to draw a listener in. Jon Anderson and Roine Stolt have constructed an experience as much as they have an album, right down to the incredible artwork and packaging that rival the best of Roger Dean's work. Even the most casual of progressive rock fans will find something to love, but the work as a whole challenges the listener to embrace love. Thus, thematically as well as musically, Anderson/Stolt meet the very best of expectations for the sum of their parts.

Get closer now to hear/Every word every song every lesson/For the love that you give that you send/That you see for forever/Know that your love is true/It is the answer to the promise/That delivered you...

1. Invention of Knowledge (23:00)
     I. Invention
     II. We Are Truth
     III. Knowledge
2. Knowing (17:54)
     I. Knowing
     II. Chase and Harmony
3. Everybody Heals (13:20)
     I. Everybody Heals
     II. Better By Far
     III. Golden Light
4. Know... (11:10)

Invention of Knowledge may be purchased in the US in 2LP+CD format (or just a CD) from Inside Out Music 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Jon Anderson Releases Video Clips for New Anderson/Stolt Album

Though InsideOutMusic has been shipping LPs for weeks now, and reviews are pouring in, very little music from the new Anderson/Stolt album Invention of Knowledge has made it into the Internet wild. Until now.

On his Facebook page, Jon Anderson has posted two short video clips to accompany the opening and ending of the opening track to Invention of Knowledge. While the clips are only around 1:30 each, they feature animated stills from the album artwork, as well as recent footage of Anderson singing the lyrics. This seems like quite a bit of work for such a short promotional clip, so perhaps this is a hint that a full music video for "Invention" (surely an edit rather than the full 23:00 song) will be released to coincide with the album's July release in the US.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Updates & Recent Activity

More reviews, playlists, interviews, etc. are coming soon.

Recently, we've been more active over at Facebook, sharing songs, videos, and news daily.

We've also contributed some album reviews to The Prog Report, including reviews of Ben Craven's Last Chance To Hear and Security Project's Live 1.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ben Craven Offers Your Last Chance To Hear

Ben Craven has opened pre-orders for his new cinematic progressive rock opus, Last Chance To Hear. Craven has leaned more heavily on the expansive, multi-part instrumentals this time around.

But he wants to make the vocals really count when they do show up, so he recruited a very special guest: William Shatner, the Rocket Man himself, provides vocals on the dramatic "Spy In The Sky Part 3."

Last Chance To Hear releases Tuesday, March 29, but you can grab your first listen now.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The March Playlist: Kissing Babies & Storming The Capitol

It's primary season, in an election year. It brings out the worst in America, and maybe some better things as well.

Regardless, you're gonna need music to politick to.

Enter The March Playlist: Kissing Babies & Storming The Capitol. It's got cynicism, apathy, despair, and a pinch of patriotism and higher ideals. It's also got a beat you can poll to.

1. W.G. Snuffy Walden- West Wing Opening Theme
2. Woody Guthrie- This Land Is Your Land
3. T Bone Burnett- I Can Explain Everything (long version)
4. Derek Webb- Jena and Jimmy
5. Alice Cooper- Elected
6. The Electric Mayhem- America
7. Dw Dunphy- Election Year
8. Bob Dylan- Workingman's Blues #2
9. Yes- America
10. They Might Be Giants- Vote or Don't
11. David Bowie- I'm Afraid of Americans
12. T Bone Burnett- I Can Explain Everything (short version)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Steve Hindalong Launches Kickstarter Campaign

Steve Hindalong has launched his Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund his second solo album, The Warbler. Indie Hindie has produced, written, and recorded a plethora of music in the 18 years since Skinny, but he's decided now to "surrender to the wind ten more songs" under his own name, rather than saving them for another artist he's producing or recording them with The Lost Dogs or The Choir.

Hindalong described that first solo album as a batch of "fuzzified folk tunes." Judging from the "O Hey Jimmy A" single that accompanies the Kickstarter, The Warbler will follow suit, except we should maybe swap "fuzzified" for "swirlified" since Marc Byrd is playing guitars. The new single also continues Hindalong's tradition of writing 'true-to-life' songs about his friends, with the new song mentioning Jimmy Abegg's growing blindness, penchant for self-rolled cigarettes, and presence documenting the Route 66 trip taken by The Lost Dogs.

Having long-since proven himself a master lyricist even before Skinny, Hindalong has yet to falter, and his last album with The Choir was among their best. The Warbler promises to be personal, whimsical, earthy, genuine, and just really good. Kickstarter rewards include an autographed CD, PDFs of hand-written lyrics and charts, T-shirts, a drum head, and skype calls with Indie Hindie himself. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The February Playlist: Nothin' But Epics

"Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Chorus-Chorus Structure? We don't need no stinkin' VCVCBCC Structure!"

February's playlist features Nothin' But Epics, because we heard that you like Prog, so we put some Prog in your Prog so you could Prog Out! while you...

The playlist encompasses several approaches to the Perennial Prog Epic, including symphonic, ambient, trance, folk, and Tony Banks. Please enjoy, and if you get overwhelmed at any point, remember that all these bands recorded shorter songs, too.

1. Yes- Close to the Edge
2. Genesis- Duke's Suite
3. The Gathering- How to Measure a Planet?
4. The Flower Kings- Love Is the Only Answer
5. David Gilmour- Echoes
6. Transatlantic- Stranger in Your Soul

Friday, February 5, 2016

Wow to Release Day: Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil

Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil release their new EP today! I rank Wow to the Deadness with Chagall Guevara as the best--and most obtuse--album ST has ever made. It's fast, aggressive, melodic, and dancing on the edge. Steve Taylor has broken a bone doing that before, but it hasn't stopped him from doing it again. Think The Clash at Shea Stadium--they can play and write like they're not a garage band, but they're still performing with 110% more sweat & swagger than appears safe. The Foil were already 'firing on all cylinders' with Goliath, but the addition of Danielson really curves their orbit around weirder and wonderful things.
The CD and digital download should be available wherever you buy fine independent music, while the vinyl is available for pre-order at the Sounds Familyre store. Consequence of Sound is also streaming the EP in its entirety.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Monthly Playlist: January 2016

Welcome a new feature: The Monthly Playlist.

January's experience, Melancholy, Winter Lies, springs from a thought that we've seen expressed by many in these first few weeks of the new year.

"This past year has been rough."

"2016 is off to a bad start."

"It seems like everyone is dying."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Introducing the Co-Op: The First Communique

*Update: As new volumes in the series are released, the previous compilations are folded in to the latest Communique.

Radio Eclectic is pleased (ecstatic) to help introduce a new experiment in the distribution of independent music: The Co-Op Communique Volume One. The Co-Op, spearheaded by Dw. Dunphy, "distributes music from independent artists seeking to share their output with an enthusiastic audience." The first volley comes to us as a compilation album, free to download on Bandcamp, and soon to be available through the other usual suspects for digital downloads.

Brian Healy's Dead Artist Syndrome open the proceedings; for those not in the know, DAS is "kind of a big deal." Perhaps even a bigger deal, the compilation ends with a new track from Ric Alba, formerly of the Altar Boys. By including these artists, The Co-Op signals that they are serious about the level of artistry they want to highlight--this is a well-curated collection of DIY writers, musicians, and producers, not a random assortment of would-be YouTube sensations.

Across the Communique's 18 tracks, we hear a range of rock stylings, mostly hovering in the vicinity of alternative (Jeff Elbel + Ping, And How, Dann Gunn) and singer-songwriter (Mike Indest, Eddie Parrino), with forays into progressive pop (Dw. Dunphy) and avante-garde (Justin Velluci). Again, the quality is astounding: this is all the great indie rock you knew was hiding out on Bandcamp somewhere, but got tired of digging around for. Reengage in the joy of discovery. Fight the power. Dig to the bottom of the box for your secret decoder ring, and listen to The Co-Op Communique Volume One.