The Big 2019 Fall Prog (Plus) Preview!

What new music, live albums, reissues (regular, deluxe or super-deluxe) and tours are heading our way between now and All Hallows Eve?  Check out the exhaustive (and potentially exhausting) sampling of promised progressive goodies — along with other personal priorities — below.  Click on the titles for pre-order links — whenever possible, you’ll wind up at the online store that gets as much money as possible directly to the musicians.

 

 

  • August:
    • Dave Kerzner, Static Live Extended Edition: recorded at the 2017 Progstock festival.  Kerzner’s complete Static album in concert, plus selected live highlights & new studio tracks.  Pre-orders ship in late August.
  • August 30:
    • Sons of Apollo, Live with the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony: recorded at Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s Roman amphitheatre (the site of previous live efforts from Anathema and Devin Townsend).  Available in Blu-Ray, 3 CD + Blu-Ray, and 3 CD + DVD + Blu Ray versions.
    • Tool, Fear Inoculum: Tool’s first album in 13 years.  Available via digital download, as well as “a deluxe, limited-edition CD version (which) features a 4” HD rechargeable screen with exclusive video footage, charging cable, 2 watt speaker, a 36-page booklet and a digital download card.”  Really. 

Continue reading “The Big 2019 Fall Prog (Plus) Preview!”

The Pineapple Thief’s Dissolution — Coming Soon!

From Kscope:

Dissolution is the follow-up album to 2016’s Your Wilderness, and is the band’s second album to feature King Crimson and Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison. Due for release on 31st August.

The new material establishes The Pineapple Thief’s intent to elevate themselves to new heights, with a desire to develop their songwriting and technical capabilities, and with artwork created by iconic design agency Stylorouge, whose previous work includes Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Blur and British film Trainspotting. The album concept tells of the often dark consequences of living in a society in which everything is played out on a public stage, a theme paralleled in the cover art, which was created by ‘glitching’ the original photographs.

Songwriter Bruce Soord explains “broadly speaking the title reflects the disintegration of relationships and the undoing of our social fabric. In a time when we are supposed to be bound closer together than ever, I have never felt so apart from the world.  We are living through a revolution and right now I am not sure it’s a good one. Lyrically this is the most vivid I have been.”

Burning Shed now has Dissolution available to pre-order in multiple formats (CD, BluRay, deluxe CD/DVD/BluRay set, regular and crystal clear vinyl), along with supporting swag (tshirt, hoodie, tote bag).  The Pineapple Thief have also announced European tour dates for September-October 2018 and March 2019.  When I talked with Bruce Soord at last year’s Progtoberfest, he was hoping the band could also play the US this time around — fingers crossed.  Based on the evidence from the Thief’s Where We Stood live video, the upcoming tour could be one to remember!

In the meantime, here’s the first song released from Dissolution, “Far Below” — an eerie, desperate breakneck stomp in 5/8.  Soord, Harrison and the rest of The Pineapple Thief definitely feel like a winning combination here.  Dig it!

— Rick Krueger

 

 

Progtoberfest: Day 2 Report

by Rick Krueger

The sun shone warmly again on the south side of Chicago as Progtoberfest III kicked off its second day.  Taking in the view as I exited the ‘L’, it was amusing and welcoming to see a familiar screaming face painted on the exterior of Reggie’s:

IMG_4097

Hoping to get Alphonso Johnson’s and Chester Thompson’s autographs in the VIP Lounge the night before, I’d struck up a delightful conversation with members of the North Carolina Genesis tribute band ABACAB.  In 2016, festival organizer Kevin Pollack had given them “homework” for this year: to play all of Genesis’ live album Seconds Out on the 40th anniversary of its release.  You could tell the band was nervous (they focus on 1980s Genesis to get bookings, so they had to learn half the album in the past year) but also absolutely thrilled to bring it to the Rock Club stage.  And on Saturday afternoon, they nailed it, to the joy of an enthusiastic, supportive crowd and rave reviews from other acts.  They’re already planning to return to Reggie’s in April as a headliner, and for Progtoberfest IV next October.  Check out why below:

Continue reading “Progtoberfest: Day 2 Report”

Rick’s Quick Takes: The Pineapple Thief, Where We Stood (In Concert)

by Rick Krueger

Today is — well, sort of —  the official release day for The Pineapple Thief’s Where We Stood concert video.  Turns out that, while vinyl and downloadable/streaming audio versions are now available, the Blu Ray, DVD and CD versions have been delayed until early October.  Kudos go to the fine folks at Burning Shed for sending along mp3s of the full concert to folks who pre-ordered in those formats!

After just one listen, I’m mightily impressed.  Back in my eMusic subscriber days, I ran across the Thief via the albums Tightly Unwound and Someone Here Is Missing, enjoying them thoroughly.  A decade ago, high quality new prog was still scarce enough that I absolutely delighted in hearing Bruce Soord and company plowing similar furrows to Steven Wilson in Porcupine Tree.  Unfortunately, the follow-ups All the Wars and Magnolia were, as our head Progarchist put it last year, good but bland.  Thankfully, 2016’s Your Wilderness was a major step back up, as Gavin Harrison’s stylish, tasty drumming slotted in with Soord’s sleek new tunes and moody guitar lines to hypnotic effect.

So Where We Stood is the right move at the right time, capturing the re-energized Pineapple Thief onstage in London, with an enthusiastic crowd egging them on.   Harrison is astonishing and impeccable as always, driving the band with relentless grooves and jaw-dropping fills, locking tight with Jon Sykes’ powerful bass lines.  While Steve Kitch’s keyboards conjure impressive atmosphere, Darran Charles and Soord seamlessly slide from badass surf music riffs to full-on metal chording, inspiring Soord to new heights of vocal power and expression.  This Thief rocks hard, with guts and class, in the service of first-rate songs from throughout their checkered career.

I’m optimistic that the visuals of Where We Stood will match the excellence of the music; in my opinion, the chance to see Gavin Harrison weaving his percussive magic in close-up is gonna be worth the wait all by itself.  Plus the Blu-Ray also includes Your Wilderness, 8 Years Later and bonus acoustic tracks in 24/96 stereo and surround.  If you haven’t ordered this baby yet, what are you waiting for?

 

Tim Bowness Lost in the Ghost Light

Years ago, when I was 16 I found an organization that helped with my curiosity about progressive rock, it was called the Classic Rock Society, they were based in Rotherham (a short bus ride away from the small village I lived in at the time) and they met on a Wednesday night in a pub. Beer and prog, all within a short distance from my front door, what was not to like?

One night at the pub talking about prog music in 1995 a friend lent me an album by a band I’d never heard of called No-Man, the album was Flowermouth, and it’s mix of shifting sounds and emotive vocals was my first introduction to the works of Mr Steven Wilson and Mr Tim Bowness, and I was hooked.

Luckily I got to see Porcupine Tree not so longer afterwards, but despite following No-Man and Tim Bowness solo work, it took me slightly longer (nearly 20 years in fact) to see Tim live, with Henry Fool at Eppyfest in 2014, followed quickly by seeing him at the Louisiana in Bristol in 2015.

Continue reading “Tim Bowness Lost in the Ghost Light”

(Belated) Best of 2016

Please forgive my late entry, for I did not listen to as many new albums as I should have in 2016; I suppose I still have an affinity for the “classics.” Anyway, here is my all too brief list (in no particular order) of the best albums of 2016:moonpool

A Moon Shaped Pool (Radiohead): This was my first exposure to Radiohead, and I was impressed. The atmospheric, almost hypnotic vocals of Thom Yorke, supported by Jonny Greenwood’s haunting string arrangements, make this a work of eerie beauty. Burn the Witch and Daydreaming are the two stand out pieces, but the album overall is excellent.

Say So (Bent Knee): Not as well-known as the other two, but a gem nonetheless. This innovative band from Boston features the inbentkneecredible vocals of Courtney Swain, whose range will impress prog and non-prog lovers alike. You can check out my review of their first album here.


Your Wilderness
(The Pineapple Thief): I must admit that I enjoy just about anything created by Bruce Soord. The man is quite the talent – as a songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist. His latest effort is no exception; it is filled with well-crafted and accessible songs. Overall, it is a great followup to 2014’s Magnoliayour-wilderness

 

That Blasted Pineapple Thief! YOUR WILDERNESS

Here I sit, totally spoiled.  I’m drinking a cup of coffee, listening to the wind whisper the many names of the Aspen, and watching the absurdly beautiful dance of the humming birds.  It’s already a perfect day, and I’ve not even gone to Mass yet.

But, I’m here to write about the latest release from The Pineapple Thief, YOUR WILDERNESS (Kscope; out officially on August 12, 2016).

YOUR WILDERNESS
A return to Soordian perfection.

One would be foolish to dismiss the talent of Bruce Soord.  The man is an audiophilic genius, and, when he produces or engineers an album, he’s every bit as good as Trevor Horn, Phill Brown, Rob Aubrey, and Steven Wilson.  He definitely brings his own sound to whatever it is he does, as distinct and yet as beautiful as any of the producers mentioned above.  His imprint on the first release of Matt Cohen’s Ghost Community is quite clear, and I’m presuming the same will be true for the second release of Zee Baig’s Fire Garden.

Continue reading “That Blasted Pineapple Thief! YOUR WILDERNESS”