Riffing with Perseus: Kingbathmat Challenges the Gorgon

Overcoming The Monster Album CoverJust as we started progarchy last fall, I received a note from Chris of Stereohead Records in the U.K. asking me if we’d be interested in reviewing a cd by a band named, amazingly enough, Kingbathmat.  Well, of course, we would.  Who could resist checking out a band with such a name?  These guys MUST be interesting, I thought.  And, I was right.  “Truth Button” proved to be an excellent release.

Last week, while doing some work in Minnesota, I received another email from Chris. A new Kingbathmat is coming out on July 22–would I be interested in reviewing, and would I like it as a download or as a CD?  Well, of course, my rational side wants the CD.  I’m rather proud of my collection, and “Truth Button” has pride of place in it.  But, my greedier side wanted the immediate gratification.  So, I downloaded it.

Oh, boy–it’s good.  Really, really good.  “Truth Button” was excellent, but this is “Truth Button” with even more excellence and more confidence and more adventure.  Yes, it goes to 11.

Please don’t consider this a full review–that’s still coming.  But, I do want progarchy readers to know that if they preorder this CD, they will not be disappointed.  These guys can play.  I mean really, really play.  And, so very tight without being overly produced.

I generally hate labels, and I’m not sure what I’d label this–but the label that keeps popping into my fuzzy little head is this: “funkadelic prog.”  Of recent releases, it might most easily compare to the work of Astra.  But, Kingbathmat is far more subtle–without losing any of its energy–than Astra.  Whereas Astra drives, Kingbathmat lingers, toys, and plays with its music.

Listening to Astra is akin to driving from Kansas City to Denver as quickly as possible, windows down, hoping to get to the majesty of the mountains .  Listening to Kingbathmat is like exploring the wild, untamed, and unpopulated backroads and Great Plains of Kansas and eastern Colorado en route, knowing there are little known charms and forgotten mysteries worth discovering in that undulating land.

KingBathmat Publicity Photo 2In the tradition of music over the last fifty years, I most hear the influence of Rush (heavily), later Traffic, and Soundgarden.

The masterpiece of the album is the sixth and final track, “Kubrick Moon.”  Holy schnikees.  I have no idea how to describe this, except it’s confirmed me as a serious and unrelenting Kingbathmat devotee.  John, David, Rob, and Bernie–slay the gorgon with all the might that is in you!

To preorder (and I give it my highest recommendation), go here.

A must-read interview with Andy Tillison (external)

I really, really like this guy.  Thank you, Andy.

“Bollocks”. I mean there ARE people who will say that kind of thing. Quite why the Brits are so frightened of a member of their number being ambitious, creative and inspired eludes me. But hey, I’m used to it and its water off a duck’s back to me. You can call it elitist because I did something I could do, I pushed myself, I went further than I had to. If that’s elitism then I’m guilty of it and so are the people who listen to it. But I am a musically uneducated person who started off in a punk band and got better and more varied in what I do. I wanted more, music itself led me there. I was not in any kind of “elite” when I started, and becoming part of one has never been the goal, so really it’s just the old 70’s and 80s journos whose over use of words like “pretentious”, “elitist” and “pompous” were simply expostulations of not knowing how to review “Tales” when they got the job to write reviews of “Keep On Runnin'”.

You can’t level the “Dinosaur” band accusation at me. The Tangent has had a hard life of little comfort, very, very little financial reward, no mainstream media support. We took on a musical form that is possibly the most difficult to do well, most difficult to market, most difficult to play live and even most difficult to explain to others.

I speak with a broad Yorkshire accent. I’m a Scargillite lefty and advocate of sensible anarchy, totally down to earth in nearly every way apart from believing that music is more than 2 minute romps of pop, punk or thrash. I’m naive, fragile and irritable and I’m a struggling artist not a failed Rock Star. There’s a huge difference.

To read the interview in its entirety, click here.  It will be well worth your time.

To pre-order the album (and you should), click here.

[Additional, added June 18, 2013.  With apologies, I should have mentioned that Eric Perry conducted the interview.  Excellent job, Eric!]