The Big Prog (Plus) Preview for Fall 2020!

As always seems to be the case, there’s tons of great music coming out between now and Black Friday, November 27. Below, the merest sampling of upcoming releases in prog and other genres below, with purchase links to Progarchy’s favorite online store Burning Shed unless otherwise noted.

Out now:

Simon Collins, Becoming Human: after 3 solo albums and Sound of Contact’s acclaimed Dimensionaut, Phil Collins’ oldest son returns on vocals. keys and drums; his new effort encompasses rock, pop, prog, electronica and industrial genres. Plus an existential inquiry into the meaning of life! Available on CD from Frontiers Records.

John Petrucci, Terminal Velocity: the Dream Theater guitarist reunites with Mike Portnoy on drums for his second solo set of instrumentals. Plus Dave LaRue of the Dixie Dregs and Flying Colors on bass. Expect lotsa notes! Available on CD or 2 LP from Sound Mind Records/The Orchard.

The Pineapple Thief, Versions of the Truth: Hot on the heels of their first US tour, Bruce Soord and Gavin Harrison helm TPT’s latest collection of brooding, stylized alt/art rock, honing in on the post-truth society’s impact on people and relationships. Available on CD, BluRay (with bonus track plus alternate, hi-res and surround mixes), LP or boxset (2 CDs/DVD/BluRay) – plus there’s a t-shirt!

Rikard Sjöblom’s Gungfly, Alone Together: Sjöblom spearheads a thoroughly groovy collection on vocals, guitar and organ, with Petter and Rasmus Diamant jumping in on drums and bass. Heartfelt portraits of daily life and love that yield extended, organic instrumental jams and exude optimism in the midst of ongoing isolation. Available on CD and LP (black or deep blood red vinyl).

[Upcoming releases follow the jump …]

September:

The Backstage, Isolation: What did Steve Hackett’s backing band (Jonas Reingold on bass, Rob Townsend on sax, Craig Blundell on drums) do when their 2020 tour collapses in a heap of COVID-related lockdowns? Record goofily titled jazz fusion/prog tracks with guests from The Tangent, The Flower Kings, Kansas — and Hackett himself. Available on CD September 25.

Dyble Longdon, Between A Breath and A Breath: The late, great Judy Dyble’s final album, recorded in collaboration in Big Big Train front man David Longdon, and featuring guest shots from other BBT members. Get ready for haunting folk-prog on CD and LP (black or transparent blue vinyl) on September 25.

Fish, Weltschmerz: The towering Scottish singer has carved out an estimable solo career since he left Marillion in the late 1980s. Here’s his final, double-length studio album, chock-full of dramatic songcraft and searing social commentary as always. Available on 2 CD, 2 CD + BluRay (hi-res & surround mixes plus a documentary) and 2 LP on September 25, exclusively from Fish’s website.

Flying Colors, Third Stage – Live in London: This one does just what the title says, A killer supergroup knocks out a killer setlist in concert, including tracks from all three Flying Colors albums. Available on 2 CD/DVD, BluRay, Earbook (2 CD/2 DVD/BluRay) and 3 LP from Radiant Records on September 18.

Steve Hackett, Selling England By the Pound & Spectral Mornings – Live at Hammersmith: Hackett’s career-spanning 2019 tour, stunningly captured on his home ground; video options feature a 5.1 surround mix by Steven Wilson. Available on 2 CD/BluRay, 2 CD/DVD, and artbook (2 CD/DVD/BluRay) on September 25.

Neal Morse, Sola Gratia: Check out Bryan Morey’s new interview with Neal about his first solo solo album since Momentum. Sola Scriptura recounted the life of Martin Luther; Sola Gratia goes further back to portray the conversion of Saint Paul. Available from Radiant Records on CD, CD/DVD (with documentary) and 2 LP on September 11.

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, Live at the Roundhouse: After nearly three years of touring, Mason’s unabashedly delightful return to the glorious mess of pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd yields up this concert recording, delayed from its original April release date. Available on 2 CD/DVD, BluRay and 2 LP from Sony Legacy on September 18.

Derek Sherinian, The Phoenix: prog metal’s best-kept keyboard secret (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion, Sons of Apollo) whips up a devastating solo effort, supported by master drummer Simon Phillips and a passel of high profile guests ranging from Joe Bonamassa to Steve Vai. Available on CD and LP on September 18.

Sufjan Stevens, The Ascension: After Michigan native Stevens broke through with 2005’s Come On Feel the Illinoise!, he put his Christian/indie/minimalist/prog “50 States” project on hold — but the 12-minute epic “America” that caps his upcoming album sounds like a promising continuation! Available on CD or 2 LP from Asthmatic Kitty on September 25.

October:

Blackfield, For the Music: Israeli singer-songwriter Aviv Geffen slides into the driver’s seat for his sixth collaboration with the indefatigable Steven Wilson, writing all the songs but still splitting the lead vocals for a voyage of “psychedelic sonics with a pop sensibility.” Available on CD and LP (black or pink vinyl) on October 2.

The Flower Kings, Islands: So brand spanking new you can’t even pre-order it yet! A 90-minute 21-song cycle that paradoxically confronts “isolation, loss and the fear of disconnection,” recorded remotely by Roine Stolt and his merry band. Available on 2 CDs and 3 LPs, with a rare new cover by Roger Dean. Pre-orders begin September 11.

King Crimson, Complete 1969 Recordings: Rescheduled from last year. 20 CDs, 4 BluRays and 2 DVDs include every surviving note Crimson played in their first year — beyond In the Court of the Crimson King to the complete studio sessions, live shows, and BBC recordings. Plus new stereo, surround and Dolby Atmos mixes of Court by Steven Wilson. Available October 23.

Jakko M Jakszyk, Secrets and Lies: Leaning into turbulence, King Crimson’s current singer digs deep into tangled emotions, shadowed family history and ominous cultural shifts on his first solo album since 2006 (which includes strong contributions from fellow Crims). Available on CD/DVD and LP (black or lilac vinyl) from October 23.

Pure Reason Revolution, The Dark Third: PRR’s classic 2006 debut reissued with bonus tracks! Check out our interview with Jon Courtney to learn more about this album of effortlessly evolving long-form suites, set off by a sweet-and-sour pairing of lush harmonies and aggressive grooves. Available on 2 CD or 2 LP on October 16.

Procol Harum, Something Magic: the final release in Esoteric Recordings’ exemplary series of Procol Harum reissues. This 1977 album served as Procol’s fond farewell after a decade together, featuring their first side-long suite since 1969’s Shine On Brightly. The reissue also includes 14 bonus tracks and a live concert originally recorded for the BBC. Available on 2 CD on October 30.

Stick Men featuring Gary Husband, Owari: the only the band actually got to play on their pandemic-blighted spring tour of Asia; with John McLaughlin’s keyboardist Husband, they dive into radically revamped versions of familiar Stick Men and King Crimson tunes. Available on CD, 2 LP, cobalt cassette and on-demand master tape (plus there’s a t-shirt!) from Bandcamp on October 1.

Roger Waters, Us + Them: Waters’ confrontational 2017-18 tour, presented in all its rabble rousing spectacle and its lurid technical glory, fully in your face. Plenty of classic Pink Floyd from Dark Side of the Moon through The Wall, plus tracks from Is This The Life We Really Want? And the inevitable flying pig. Available on 2 CD, DVD, BluRay or 3 LP from Sony Legacy on October 2.

Yes, The Royal Affair Tour – Live in Las Vegas: after multiple years of complete album setlists, this is an intriguing mix of standbys and deep-cut classics, recorded at Vegas’ Hard Rock Cafe on Yes’ tour with Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy and John Lodge from The Moody Blues. Available on CD or 2 LP on October 30.

November and beyond:

Big Big Train, “Live at the Hackney Empire:” BBT’s latest BluRay, recorded live in London on the final date of their 2019 British tour. Actual title and release date to be announced.

Lifesigns, Altitude: John Young and company are crowdfunding their third album now for a projected December 1 release. Head over to their pledge campaign page to check out the options available for CDs, LPs, t-shirts and posters.

Wilco, Summerteeth Deluxe Edition: By 1999, Jeff Tweedy had already led his bandmates from playful alt-country into raucous alt-rock. Summerteeth zig-zagged again, draping daringly morose lyrics in gauzy dream-pop textures to create an oddly life-affirming album. The newly remastered edition includes demos, outtakes, alternate versions and live shows (from Boulder Colorado on CD or from Chicago on LP. Available on 4 CDs or 5 LPs on November 6.

Neil Young, Archives Volume 2 – 1972 – 1976: After shifting to an online subscription model for his interactive, high-resolution Archives project, Young has postponed the second physical release in the series a couple of times already. This one’s rumored to be a 10-CD set that includes live material with Crazy Horse, recorded in London and Tokyo. The latest scheduled release date is November 20; but we’ll see …

— Rick Krueger

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