Author Archives: bradbirzer

Clockwork Lives Cover

Kevin J. Anderson, co-author with Neil Peart, of Clockwork Angels, the novel, has just revealed publicly the cover of the sequel, Clockwork Lives.  It looks quite stunning.


Hand. Cannot. Erase. Perfect.

Ok, I was a bit hasty a few weeks ago in an initial review of the new Steven Wilson album.  My actual, physical, honest-to-goodness copy of the CD arrived yesterday.  And, what a thing of excellence it is.  With apologies to Brian Watson, I must gush a bit.  The “flow” is especially strong.  Listening to the album is akin to watching the intricate and unpredictable patterns in nature–perhaps the cracks that develop on a frozen body of water.  There is a hidden symmetry in its revelations.  Indeed, this album shows a real maturity, a sort of combining of the best of the first and second solo albums.  And, as always, Wilson is an audiophilic genius.  This I’ve never questioned, and his talent manifests itself galore on this album.  Ok, enough gushing.  If you’ve not bought this album yet, do so!  It’s probably even worth paying the $3.99 for expedited delivery.

The new Steven Wilson out today


Steven Wilson’s conceptual masterpiece, Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope), released today to critical acclaim – the groundbreaking songwriter, four-time Grammy-nominated artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer, has long been celebrated by an elite audience of audiophiles and tastemakers, with the new release eclipsing all expectation.

The critics so far:

Hand. Cannot. Erase. is an album rooted in sonic and spiritual modernity, largely eschewing early prog tropes in favour of an inventive blend of lbealk and brooding industrial soundscapes and rugged muscular ensemble performances from Wilson’s virtuoso henchmen…” Score: 5/5  – The Guardian

“…Wilson set out to capture Vincen’ts life as only he can – through sprawling, dense, challenging and often strikingly beautiful music.  The result is Hand. Cannot. Erase….” – Buffalo News

Hand. Cannot. Erase. is nothing short of an epic tale of modern-day isolation.” – Huffington Post

“It’s beautiful and haunting.  As with many great prog records, there’s no shortage of musical layers, instruments and themes.” – Huffington Post

“What’s striking about Hand. Cannot. Erase. is its vast spectrum of musical colors and the life-affirming vitality of its hummable melodies.  Wilson’s best album to date…” – Under The Radar

“…produced and mixed by Wilson, the album is sonically rich and detailed. It’s an immense, imaginative landscape that melds classic album rock, sophisticated ’80s pop, metal, prog, and electronica in expertly crafted songs.” – All Music

“Bucking virtually every convention in today’s music business, Wilson’s career and exponential rise to fame has, quite simply, been extraordinary.” – All About Jazz

“It’s this ability to combine narrative and music in brave and adventurous ways during a time when the very longevity of the album-as-cohesive-statement is constantly being questioned that makes Wilson one of the most compelling musicians of his era. His music seeks to connect on a deeply human level, and stands in contrast to a popular music culture obsessed with disposability. This makes him a rare and precious commodity.” – Buffalo News

“If Neil Young is the “Godfather of Grunge,” then Wilson has likewise (and rightfully) earned his place as the “Patriarch of Prog.”” – Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Musically, it’s a full-course sound-and-genre menu that runs the gamut from epic prog-rock to industrial textures and rhythms to pastoral acoustic pop.” – Music Radar

“..a rich musical journey with numerous moments of vivid melodic simplicity…” Score: 5/5  – The Guardian

“If there is any such a thing as a renaissance man left in popular music, then Steven Wilson is surely it.” – Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“…there is a cohesive and strong narrative to the album, there are enough music twists throughout the 11 tracks to keep you on the journey right to the very end.” – fdrmx

“…rather than being a Progressive Rock album with a capital “P,” this is a progressive album in the dictionary sense of the word; an album that represents progression for Wilson and, with its unintended but undeniable crossover appeal, an album that moves music forward in a way that’s detailed under the hood but immediately accessible throughout.” – All About Jazz

“This troubling but deeply moving record is a metaphorical treatise on societal alienation, loneliness, and urban dislocation, offered without pretension. It is aesthetically attractive while being emotionally and intellectually resonant; pop music can hope for no more.” – All Music

“Hand. Cannot. Erase. is a crystal clear indicator of just what can be achieved with a little thought, some finely-honed talent, a quality team, and plenty of hard work. Box-negating, limit-ignoring, and utterly fantastic.” – The Music Melting Pot

“Steven Wilson has once again achieved a perfect mix. It is delicate and dynamic, and it has a lot of space for everything to breathe.” – The Monolith

“…Steven Wilson’s new album, Hand. Cannot. Erase., is simply The Thing That Shouldn’t Be: Eleven tracks clocking in at over 65 minutes, it the genuine concept record article, built more for sustained, top-to-bottom listening experiences rather than short-bite consumption.” – Music Radar

“As someone capable of delivering accessible music that is, at the same time, compositionally and lyrically deep—detailed and, at times, unapologetically complex—Wilson makes absolutely no compromises in doing what he does. And yet, almost in spite of it all, his star continues on an increasingly rapid upward trajectory.” – All About Jazz

Hand. Cannot. Erase. grabs your full attention from the beginning to the very final note…the sign of a great album.” – fdrmx

“Wilson’s refined skill as a songwriter and studio guru combine to fashion songs that deserve a much wider audience than one that views his work as a modern equivalent of Pink Floyd and Genesis.” Score: 5/5  – The Guardian

“Steven Wilson’s new album is that perfect hybrid of edgy pop and progressive rock” – Power of Pop

Co-produced by the four-time Grammy-nominated artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Hand. Cannot. Erase. is available at retailers nationwide and digitally with a limited deluxe edition for pre-order via Kscope ( Steven Wilson and his band will embark on a tour through the UK and Europe in March and April 2015, then head to North America dedicating much of the summer beginning on May 21 in Albany – itinerary below.

Best known as founder and front man of British rock act Porcupine Tree, Wilson has produced and collaborated with diverse acts as Opeth, Blackfield, Yes, Roxy Music, and XTC. His prolific engineering work can be heard on his mixes of classic releases from King Crimson, Jethro Tull, and most recently the 5.1 surround sound version of Tears For Fears’ classic Songs From The Big Chair reissue, released in November 2014. Porcupine Tree’s last album went top 30 in both the UK and USA, and the tour climaxed with sold out shows at Royal Albert Hall in London and Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Following the release of his critically acclaimed 2012 release, The Raven That Refused to Sing, Wilson set out on a world tour, having assembled a virtuoso band – Marco Minnemann (drums), Nick Beggs (bass), Theo Travis (flute and sax), Adam Holzman (keys) and Guthrie Govan (guitar).  His latest studio creation completed, the cinematic Hand. Cannot. Erase. features dynamic performances by Wilson, his touring ensemble, and vocal accompaniment from
Ninet Tayeb.

# # #

North American Tour dates:

May 21                   The Egg                                     Albany

May  22        Berklee Performance Center                    Boston

May 23                   The Whitaker Center                     Harrisburg

May 26                   930 Club                                    Washington, DC

May 28                   Keswick Theatre                          Glenside, PA

May 29                   Best Buy Theater                         New York City

May 30                   Best Buy Theater                         New York City

May 31                   The Grand                                  Wilmington, Delaware

Jun 02           The Palace Theatre                      Pittsburgh

Jun  04          Park West                                  Chicago, Illinois

Jun 05           Park West                                  Chicago, Illinois

Jun 06           Barrymore Theater                       Madison

Jun 09           Boulder Theater                           Boulder, CO

Jun 11           Mesa Arts Center                         Mesa, Arizona

Jun 12           The Grove                                  Anaheim

Jun 13           The Wiltern                                 Los Angeles

Jun 14           The Warfield                               San Francisco

Jun 16           Aladdin Theater                           Portland

Jun 17           Neptune Theater                          Seattle

Jun 20           Vogue Theatre                                      Vancouver

Jun 22           Myer Horowitz Theatre                 Edmonton

Jun 23           Theatre Junction Grand(Flanagan)   Calgary

Jun 26           The Danforth Music Hall                Toronto

Jun 27           Montreal Jazz Festival                            Montreal

Jun 28           Montreal Jazz Festival                   Montreal

Jun  29          Impérial                                     Quebec City

An Excellent Interview with Steven Wilson by Stephen Humphries

A friend of mine, Stephen Humphries, just interviewed Steven Wilson.  Well worth reading.  Humphries is a natural.

My story began to spin off other things that I wanted to talk about: nostalgia for childhood, regret, and isolation and alienation,” says Wilson. “When most people say ‘concept album,’ they think of fantasy. But for me, the quintessential concept albums are things like TommyQuadropheniaThe WallOK Computer. These albums are actually about very similar things. They are about a fear of the modern age, they are about alienation from technology and alienation from society. They are also albums about individuals becoming isolated from the rest of the world. I think there is a lineage that this album appears to be a part of.

To read the entire interview (and you should!), please click here.

Terrible News: The Reasoning Are No More

I was terribly sorry to wake up to the news that The Reasoning have disbanded.  They’ve been a major part of my life–the soundtrack of so many articles, books, and trips–over the last decade.  Matt, we love you, and we wish you nothing but the best–Brad.

A very good afternoon to you one and all, I hope you are well? I promise to keep what we are about to say very short, sweet and to the point. It is with a very heavy heart that we impart the following bit of news – The Reasoning have decided to call it day. We part in the knowledge that we have achieved many wonderful and great things as a band and as individuals but, the time has come to be honest and realise that as a musical group, we have explored as much as we can. Though we have enjoyed our journey with you immensely, we have also had occasions where it seemed so tough to carry on and as we approach the 3rd anniversary of the disappearance of our dear friend Owain, this seems like the right time to gently put the band to bed.

We want to thank all the bands, press and fans for the amazing loyalty, support and love. We have done many incredible things, been to many amazing places and played to so many amazing people. Our music lives on with you and in our hearts. This is not the last you will hear of us as musicians but I’m afraid, it is the last you will hear from us as a band. We are all parting on good terms and with firm friendships established. This is a decision we all feel is the best thing for the band and its musical legacy.

Thank you all once again, you will never know how much we truly love you all. Be well, take care and we’ll all see you on the road sometime soon. “The View From Where I Stand Begins To Change, Something Is Happening To Me…….”

The Reasoning xxxxx

PS The main website will remain online until the domain name expires so, please feel free to pop over. Please be aware, this will be our last announcement xx

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 11.16.19 AM (2)

Painful. Fare ye well, Matt. We’re eager to see what you do next!

FROST* Milliontown (A “throw-back” review)

Originally posted on The (n)EVERLAND of PROG:

This album might well have slipped between the cracks and never have been heard were it not for John Mitchell’s blindingly good new CD, Please Come Home just released from his latest project LONELY ROBOT. Yes, of course I’ve probably heard a track or two from his other projects over the years (no doubt on the Dividing Line Broadcast website) or seen an ad for one of them in the pages of Uncut or Mojo, or one of the other glossies before the advent of PROG magazine, but those brief encounters just didn’t stick in my memory bank. So, thanks now to Wikipedia and YouTube I am aware, familiar, and in love with Mitchell’s other two stellar projects KINO (R.I.P.) and FROST*

With no further adieu, a “throw-back” review.


Milliontown is a well crafted and crisply produced affair. The mixing is clean and upfront with superb…

View original 366 more words

Stolt with Hackett

Roine Stolt, the master of the modern Edda, just posted this on Facebook.  Great news.

I’d like to officially extend my gratitude to the magnificent Steve Hackett for inviting me to join his Autumn Tour – We’ll be covering a lot of his amazing debut solo album “Voyage of The Acolyte” – some from his new excellent “Wolflight” album plus other Hackett staples – and of course carry on revisiting yet with some classic Genesis. It will be an amazing show – his band is great and so is crew – lights and all – I will cover the bassparts, some 12string, and other guitars, possibly help with vocals too. It’ll be a lot to learn but knowing most of the songs it’ll help me understand what is needed. Tour details will follow on the Hackettsongs website: Did I mention that I’m thrilled !!

hackett with stolt

An Afterthought: Eric Gillette

Gillette's first album.

Gillette’s first album.

In 2013, Eric Gillette, best known as the lead guitarist of the Neal Morse Band, released his first solo album.  At the time, it arrived as a review copy just when Progarchy was getting off the ground.  And, due to the graciousness of a number of record labels who immediately supported us (thank you!), a couple of releases got, more or less, lost in the deluge of prog wonder.  One of these albums was Gillette’s.  I don’t have time for a full review at the moment, as I’m heading off to CU to teach for the day.  But, having been rather blown away by Gillette on Saturday night in Denver, I decided to pull the first album out again.  Oh boy, it’s good.  Really, really, really good.  I shouldn’t have let this one fly by without notice.  A full review or two is coming your way.

In the meantime, trust me.  This is one very talented young man, and he is the future of prog.  Purchase this album.

Salander’s THE FRAGILITY OF INNOCENCE, March 3, 2015

Just received this from the two Daves of Salander.  Last year’s two releases from the band certainly made my top 10 of the year, and I have no doubt this will album equal or surpass the first two.–Brad
Front Cover
We are pleased to announce that a new Salander album will be released on March 3rd on Bandcamp  It is called The Fragility of Innocence and is a concept album about an 8 year old girl living in Iceland called Silja.
Dave Curnow has written the story and this will come packaged with the album.
We thank you for your support this past year and thank you in advance for your interest in this new album. We really hope you enjoy it as it probably will be our last.
Dave and Dave from Salander

Radiant Records News

Radiant Records

Greetings from the Radiant Team!

It’s time for our Weekly Featured Product! This week, our featured item, is Songs From November, the latest solo album from Neal Morse! This week ONLY, you can get Songs From November for just $9.99 (regular price – $13.99).  As one reviewer put it, “Songs From November may be [Neal’s] bravest outing to date. Musically, creatively, and production-wise, it’s like nothing he’s ever done. The final 11 songs are among the best that Neal has ever composed.”  Get it today for only $9.99!

Neal Morse

Songs From November

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Other Items We’re Loving Right Now

March ’15 Inner Circle Release,
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3 Disc SE Digipak

Stay tuned for more Featured Products coming every Monday!


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