Posts Tagged ‘Progarchy: Pointing toward Proghalla’

My Favorite Song of 2015?

August 22, 2015

Today (August 21, 2015) SPOCK’S BEARD’s brand new album, The Oblivion Particle, dropped.  I went to my “brick and mortar” (Hastings) to see if they had it, as I was willing to pay full retail price rather than get it at Amazon.com.  They did not have it…internet sales here we go again.

A really nice review, by Adam Sears, of this disc is now available at the premier site for al things “prog,” and I urge you to surf over and read it, and “like” it.   http://progarchy.com/2015/08/21/spocks-beard-the-oblivion-particle-a-grower-and-a-shower/

Remember that daily reading of PROGARCHY: POINTING TOWARD PROGHALLA is an absolute must for any proghead 🙂

I leave you now with what is my favorite prog song (so far) for 2015. No, it doesn’t have the weight and gravitas of Steven Wilson, or the cutting socio-political edge of Andy Tillison, but man does it reach out and connect to my own heart and soul.

Ladies and gents, I give you : the “BEARD” and “Bennett Built A Time Machine.”

 

Mellotron Set To 11

Like Winning The Prog Lottery :)

June 3, 2015

FIRST: An announcement!

Then: A smallish preview.

June 1st has arrived but my copy of BIG BIG TRAIN’s new EP Wassail has not yet winged its way (or, taken a train) to Castle        (n)EVERLAND.  That review will have to wait.

BUT, I’m happier than any time in my music appreciating life (‘cept when I got to see RUSH live) to announce that my hero Dr. Brad Birzer has added me to the reviewer list at the preeminent and best PROG web-site this side of the Sirens of Titan: PROGARCHY: POINTING TOWARD PROGHALLA – –   http://progarchy.com/  As Wayne and Garth would say (they did sing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, so that’s kinda prog-cred) I am not worthy.  I hope to post soon at PROGARCHY and also hope to fool them long enough that I’m not immediately defenstrated.  If you’re not reading, checking, following, and buying all the recommended albums that PROGARCHY showcases, than get with it.  🙂   It doesn’t get any better than Brad Birzer and company.

Secondly, I will continue to try and post some old, retro-reviews on this personal blog of mine.  I’m going to be starting a feature I call “FLASHBACK-PROG” and will work my way through old classics that are prog or borderline prog.

Thanks Dr. B, you’re a class act and I’ll try not to let you down.

JW

Mellotron set to 11

More of THE TANGENT (always a good thing)

April 29, 2015

Lest I lose all credibility with my “out-of-the-banks” rave review of A SPARK IN THE AETHER (see prior post) I should say–I haven’t heard all that much of THE TANGENT.  The only other album I’ve heard from start to finish is COMM (also brilliant).  So admittedly I’m a bit new to Andy Tillison and his genius band (thanks primarily to Progarchy and Dr. B) and had not a large corpus to compare it to.  I have a feeling I’m in for a real treat in the weeks ahead as my 2015 CD buying progresses.

In the meantime I was delighted to find a 3 hour podcast featuring THE TANGENT over at Wilf’s (David Elliott) cool podcast, The European Perspective (episode #200 from 4-4-15), hosted by THE DIVIDING LINE.

What a smorgasbord of supernal sounds!  Check it out.

http://www.thedividingline.com/tep.html

Mellotron set to 11

United We Stand: A Review of 3RDegree’s THE LONG DIVISION

April 18, 2015

3rdegree2

3RDegree: THE LONG DIVISION

Released 4 September 2012

CD Baby

Listen at Bandcamp: https://3rdegree.bandcamp.com/album/the-long-division-cd-quality-24bit-441khz

Band:

George Dobbs/ Lead vocals, keyboards

Robert James Pashman/ bass, keyboards, backing vocals

Pat Kliesch/ guitar, backing vocals

Aaron Nobel/ drums, percussion

Eric Pseja/ guitar, backing vocals

Political manifestos aside, this is a darn fine album that I recommend. Political manifestos that in reality are passionate socio-economic critiques of injustice and manipulated inequality are both needed and welcome. From the striking album art on the cover to titles of several of the tunes (A Nihilist’s Love Song, Incoherent Ramblings, The Socio-Economic Petri Dish) this album is pure Prog-concept “BIG” in theme and rewarding in execution.

Track 1: You’re Fooling Yourself (6:51)

There is almost a Spock’s Beard vibe with this tune; something about the vocal harmonies hearkens back to Neal & co. The lyrics plead for self introspection and reflection, i.e. “take the read pill” therapy. I wish there had been more melody lines but then…

Track 2: Exit Strategy (5:44)

This second song told me where the album was going with both its 28 second instrumental opening, which had me hearing “library music” cues from the late 60s, as well as a mellow yet jazzy late 70s California vibe. There are hints of Ambrosia in this tune. I like Ambrosia.

Track 3: The Socio-Economic Petri Dish (6:51)

And now we have the style kicking on all cylinders. This is some fine Jazz/Funk prog with rhythm and base thick as gumbo, raspy-edged vocals, intelligent lyrics, and a cacophonic 2 minute instrumental opening. This song is Steely Dan meeting early Chicago (sans horns) and is simply “smart” music!

Track 4: Incoherent Ramblings (7:44)

This is 3RDegree’s masterpiece. Critically biting and socially conscious lyrics coupled with minor tonalities and numerous tempo changes weave a thematic Prog classic. Did I mention that the band really plays well?

Track 5: The Ones To Follow (3:12)

The prior track notwithstanding, this is my favorite song on the album! Changing up a bit with this shorter tune, the band gives us a light YES-like chimed opening that is then juxtaposed against darker vocals. In addition the almost English-folk melody produces a strange pastoral aftertaste.

Track 6: A Work Of Art (2:50)

This is another short song that falls a bit flat due to dry, almost emotionless, vocals. But with a crystal clear delivery (the mixing is superb) and intimacy, when the synth-saxophone lines come in, all is well.

Track 7: Televised (6:52)

A heavier piece with nice jazz piano and drums coupled with plenty of tempo changes. More Fusion Prog that gets the head a nodding!

Track 8: The Millions of Last Moments (2:06)

A nice short instrumental interlude of soft guitar that sounds like something Peter White would do. This simple understated melody is well placed in the albums’ song sequence.

Track 9: Memetic Pandemic (7:29)

Again, the bands use of vocal harmonies works well and makes up for lead singer Dobbs’ average pipes. This multi-layered track has a beautiful 2 minute piano and vocal introduction that segues seamlessly into the building volume and quickening tempos. This is a “feel good” song with an almost earwig-like catchy chorus. There is real feel of Pop/Prog era Genesis when the beat starts to swing.

Track 10: A Nihilist’s Love Song (3:39)

The band ends their concept work with gradually building and almost rousing anthem like coda. The repeating chorus “all that is—it’s meaningless. And all that was—it’s meaningless” is refuted by their own energy and underlying defiance of blind fate. Not wishing to be a deconstructionist reviewer, I nonetheless maintain that the emotional power of the song “trumps” the pessimistic lyric. This last song is like a Dylan Thomas shout into the void saying “fight on; keep swimming towards shore.”

A special shout out to Progarchy’s Brian Watson (no relation) for featuring 3RDegree on his debut prog-podcast AMERICAN PROG. This must-listen-to show is featured on Progzilla Radio.

http://www.progzilla.com/podcast-american-prog-edition-01/

The album reviewed above is also given a great review by SEA OF TRANQUILITY’s Pete Pardo at: http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=13024

Final Analysis:

This is a slab (I love that old vinyl term) of top-notch American Jazz Fusion Prog. These guys have some real ‘Jamming’ mojo that bring together both rhythmic drive AND, strange though it may see, a Big Big Train sense of care, concern, and seriousness about the way things are and the way things should/could/may be again one day. This band and album deserve to be discovered.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/3RDegree

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/3rdegree2

Mellotron set to 11

A (rare) Merchant “Shout-Out”

February 24, 2015

I don’t usually do commercial “shout-outs” but I’m making an exception. In a perfect prog-world BORDERS would still be here, and both BARNES & NOBLES along with my own local HASTINGS would have a wide-ranging selection at internet prices. We don’t live in that EVERLAND do we?

I try to funnel as much of my money (ah, limited funds) to CD Baby as I can.  Unfortunately most of my CD purchases come from amazon.com due to their low prices and huge selection. I say “unfortunately” not because I have a vendetta against amazon.com but rather due to a strange quirky “localism” and love for the “little guy”  that I’ve always had.  Too much Chesterbelloc in my soul I guess.

DIGRESSION: READ “The Napoleon of Notting Hill” by GKC, and your world will never be seen the same way again.

The good souls at Progarchy brought to my attention the Scottish band Abel Ganz.  Wow!   Their 2014 self-titled disc is stunningly beautiful and landed on my own Top Ten list for the year past.  But their 2008 album Shooting Albatross is even better…maybe even a ‘desert-island’ disc.   CD Baby had it only on Mp3 download (I’m still a physcial media kind of guy)  and amazon had it for $35.00 plus s&h.    My other valued source Syn-Phonic (Greg out of Utah is a great guy by the way) was out-of-stock.

And then… (here comes the “shout out”) I remembered back in my mid two-thousand-ought purchasing days perusing a music seller by the name of The LasersEdge.   Pay-dirt.   They had it and it was for an insanely reasonable price of $16.00.  They took a credit card without making me go paypal.  And they got the disc in my hands even faster than CD Baby usually does (and that’s fast).

I heartily recommend any and all prog-heads checking out this great merchant The LasersEdge.  An “EVERLAND of PROG” mega-kudos!  https://www.lasercd.com/

Also, a “‘tip o’ the prog-cap” to Bandcamp which allowed me to first hear Abel Ganz albums in their entirety. You owe yourself a listen to check out how superlative Abel Ganz and Shooting Albatross are.  http://abelganz.bandcamp.com/

Mellotron On!

you need to be reading PROGARCHY: POINTING TOWARD PROGHALLA

February 24, 2015

One thing this blog is NOT, is a news source for progressive music, bands, upcoming releases, and conert tours.  There are some pretty decent internet sources for that kind of material–this isn’t one of them.

The one absolutely indispensable cyber-source that you must follow is PROGARCHY: POINTING TOWARD PROGHALLA.  This serious, literate, and multi-authored blog is found at: http://progarchy.com/   While all of the reviewers are top-notch, anything written by blog co-founder Dr. Brad Birzer is worth reading, learning, and inwardly digesting.

Thanks to many excellent essays and reviews, as well as the various “best of 2014” lists that PROGARCHY provided last year, I was introduced to Robin Armstrong (Cosmograf), John Bassett, Salander, Fractal Mirror, Cailyn, Abel Ganz, and Dave Kerzner, to name just a few.  There’s not a week that goes by that my daily dose (sometime there is no daily blog post–and I’m sad 😦  ) of PROGARCHY does not make me a “better person” (to paraphrase Dr. Tom Woods speaking to a slightly different topic of prog’s overall therapeutic/spirit/soul value).  THE EVERLAND OF PROG is just one non-musical fan mucking about to share some thoughts and favorites with a few friends…PROGARCHY: POINTING TO PROGHALLA is your mother’s milk.  Bookmark/‘favorite it’ and surf over there RIGHT NOW!!!


The (n)EVERLAND of PROG

Searching For Lost Chords

Stormfields

Christian Humanism in a Post-Modern World

Progarchy

Pointing toward Proghalla