Peace, The Strawbs, and the Tragic Passing of Chris Cornell

Tuscaloosa Show, May 8, 2017

I’ve never really listened to Soundgarden, but I’m fully aware of their importance in the history of rock. When I saw this morning that Chris Cornell died, likely of a suicide, it certainly made my heart sink. I thought instantly of fellow Progarchist Carl Olson, who has expressed his love and admiration for Cornell’s music in several posts here at Progarchy over the years. His tribute today to Cornell captures that sense of loss that we all feel when one of our musical heroes passes away.

Continue reading “Peace, The Strawbs, and the Tragic Passing of Chris Cornell”

The Flashback Caruso Memorial Barbecue – A Breath of the 60s Into Contemporary Prog

Flashback Caruso, The Flashback Caruso Memorial Barbecue (2016)

Tracks: Pigeon Plague (4:04), I (0:48), Levitation Song (5:31), Black Magic (7:52), Going Home (4:59), II (1:25), Life Lie (4:35), III (1:13), Aqualung Boy (6:37), Darkest Hour (5:16), IIII (1:30), Raggazza Italiana (3:25), Øksa (2:22)

Every once in a while, a breath of fifty-year old air can seem remarkably fresh. And yes, I am speaking metaphorically. Norwegian band Flashback Caruso provide just such a breath in their first full album as a band. Ranging from a surf rock sound with occasional Beatles-esque vocal harmonies to a more contemporary sound, The Flashback Caruso Memorial Barbecue embraces several styles of rock to create a smooth sound.

While I am far from an expert in 1960s rock, I know enough to recognize it when it is used as an influence. One of the things I like about that era of music is how light and airy it can sometimes be. It wasn’t overburdened with production or overplaying. It sought to create catchy music that was actually good. Flashback Caruso have tapped into that formula fairly well in this album, while still managing to include the instrumental prowess we have become used to in the progressive rock genre. Additionally, that album art is about as hippie as you can get.

Continue reading “The Flashback Caruso Memorial Barbecue – A Breath of the 60s Into Contemporary Prog”

The Pillars of Prog, Part 1 – We Are All 21st Century Schizoid Men

Welcome to the first in a new series about some of the most important/influential songs in the history of progressive rock. I’ve been trying to come up with a new idea for a series or regular column here at Progarchy, and last week, while enjoying the vast beauty of northern Michigan for a week, I was struck with this idea while standing in an antique shop (which was taking my money for my very first, and probably last, vinyl purchase).

I’m beginning this series with King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” because I honestly believe this song is what started the genre. Feel free to let me know in the comments what songs you think I should talk about in the future. I’ve got ideas ranging from Dream Theater to Yes to Jethro Tull and everything in between, and your ideas will be helpful in rounding out my ideas.

Without further ado…

Continue reading “The Pillars of Prog, Part 1 – We Are All 21st Century Schizoid Men”

Big Big Train Release Music Video for New Song, “As the Crow Flies”

Let the countdown to Grimspound begin.

From the video’s YouTube description:

This film has been made by Johan Reitsma to illustrate one of the songs on our forthcoming album, Grimspound, which will be released on all formats on 28th April 2017.

As the Crow Flies is a song about the succession of moments of letting go, as children grow to adults and prepare to set their own course in life.

The Night Siren: The Peaceful Resistance of Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett, The Night Siren (InsideOut, 2017)

Tracks: Behind the Smoke (6:58), Martian Sea (4:41), Fifty Miles From the North Pole (7:08), El Nino (3:52), Other Side of the Wall (4:01), Anything But Love (5:56), Inca Terra (5:54), In Another Life (6:07), In the Skeleton Gallery (5:09), West to East (5:14), The Gift (2:45)

I think we all know by now that Steve Hackett is a genius. Over the last several years of this current wave of progressive rock, it seems that everything Mr. Hackett has touched has turned to gold. Indeed, he recently told the fine folks over at Prog magazine that he is currently in one of the most creative phases of his life (Prog 73). Considering his remarkable musical catalog, that is saying a lot. It rings true, however, when The Night Siren and his previous album Wolflight are concerned. They are some of the best albums of his solo career.

Both of these albums include a lot of what some might call “world music.” He features instruments and musicians from all over the world, including Azerbaijan, Scotland, Iceland, and Israel. He even includes both Jewish and Palestinian singers from Israel on the same song. Throughout all of this mix, Hackett’s message is clear: if we can have peace through musical collaboration, why can’t we have world political peace? This is certainly an excellent question to which it seems world leaders have no answer.

One might think that this conglomeration of disparate instruments and styles would create an off-putting wall of noise, but nothing could be further from the truth. Hackett masterfully blends these different influences with his signature guitar licks. The result is truly breathtaking.

Continue reading “The Night Siren: The Peaceful Resistance of Steve Hackett”

DPRP Reviews the New Steve Hackett Album

The Dutch Progressive Rock Page has just published a great issue focused solely on Steve Hackett’s new album, The Night Siren, due out on March 24. The issue includes a short interview and three separate album reviews, including one by yours truly. Yes, shameless self-promotion. The Night Siren is a fantastic album, and this DPRP reviews issue shouldn’t be missed.

http://www.dprp.net/reviews/2017-022/

Rock Icon Chuck Berry Passes Away at 90

Chuck Berry, 1926-2017

I was sad to learn of this a second ago while surfing the web. Chuck Berry was a groundbreaking performer who influenced many across the widely varied subgenres of rock and metal. Where do you think ACDC’s Angus Young got his idea for the duckwalk? A new album from Berry is set to be released sometime this year, his first album of new material in forty years.

Rest in peace, Mr. Berry.

More information here: https://www.yahoo.com/music/legendary-musician-rock-roll-pioneer-221503211.html