2018: Selah?

2018 is now a month past its halfway mark, and the year is somewhere in its middle age, and it will only continue to age until that fateful day, December 31, inevitably comes.

From the perspective of progressive rock, it’s been a solid year, but not an outstanding year–at least in terms of studio releases.  Certainly, those released–from The Fierce and the Dead to Gazpacho to the Kalman Filter to Galahad to 3RDegree–have been excellent, to be sure.  But, they’ve been few, especially compared to the re-releases and re-mastered and re-packaged.

Perhaps, 2018, in the end, will prove to be a moment of all of us catching our collective breath.  Maybe what the Old Testament called “Selah,” pause.

Continue reading “2018: Selah?”

Some Neglected Music of 2017, Part I

By neglected, I don’t mean by the world.  I mean, by me.

In a few other posts, I have had the privilege of listing my top albums, in the order I loved them.  My 2017 list goes, from no. 10 to no. 1: Anathema, The Optimist; Bjorn Riis, Forever Comes to an End; My Tricksy Spirit; Ayreon, The Source; The Tangent, The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery; Cosmograf, Hay-Man Dreams; Glass Hammer, Untold Tales; Newspaperflyhunting, Wastelands; Dave Kerzner, Static; and Big Big Train, everything released in 2017!

There are, however, a number of great releases from the year that I simply did not have time to grasp fully or immerse myself in the way I think necessary to review properly.  None of this, however, should suggest–to my mind, at least–even a kind of lesser quality or second-hand citizenship in the world of Prog, or in the republican anarchy that is progarchy.

For what it’s worth, I thought each of the following extraordinary as well, and, I hope, when Kronos allows, time to embrace each in the way it deserves.

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lifesigns cardingtonLifesigns, Cardington.  I think John Young is a treasure of a musician and composer, and I’m honored to travel this world at the same time as he.  Intelligence radiates from everything the man does, and, even better, it’s an intelligence utterly in the service of good things.  The first Lifesigns was a shock of joy to me.  This one as well, though I’ve just not had the time to dive into it.

When I listen to Lifesigns, I actually think of Young and the band as the anti-Radiohead guys.  Imagine the darkness of Radiohead and then do exactly the opposite, in terms of melody and lyrics.  And, you might arrive at Lifesigns. My favorite track on this new release is nine-plus minute “Different.”

Continue reading “Some Neglected Music of 2017, Part I”

Dave Gregory: Progarchy Episode 5

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A special episode of Progarchy Radio, featuring NOTHING but the music of Dave Gregory, guitarist extraordinaire for Big Big Train and Tin Spirits.  Also featuring Gregory playing in and for XTC, The Dukes of Stratosphear, Peter Gabriel, Porcupine Tree, Steve Hogarth.

 

 

 

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And, after you’ve listened to our episode, be sure to check out Gregory’s amazing interview with Mark Powell:

 

Tom Woods Promotes Steven Wilson!

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A great show by a great man.

Famed American commentator, historian, economist, and man of letters, Tom Woods, is promoting Steven Wilson’s latest album, HAND.CANNOT.ERASE.  What a great thing for the prog world to be given this kind of place of prominence!  Woods has had such greats as Ian Anderson and Steve Hogarth on his show.  Let’s hope he gets Wilson next!

The Woman Who Erased Herself

When Joyce Carol Vincent died in December 2003, no one noticed for over two years.

Was she a lonely old lady nobody knew? Not even close. She was an attractive young woman with friends and family. And slowly but surely, she simply melted away in the anonymity of the city (London, in this case).

Steven Wilson, a musician I like very much (and who has worked closely with Tom Woods Show guests Ian Anderson and Steve Hogarth), was struck by her, and based his 2015 release Hand. Cannot. Erase. loosely around her life.

When I first listened to it, I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t think there was anything there.

Was I ever wrong.

I can’t stop listening to it now. It’s beautiful, brilliant, and emotionally captivating. I’m listening to it as I write this.

The character in Wilson’s story makes the deliberate decision to disappear from society by moving to London. Sounds strange: you’re going to move to a big city to disappear? But as Wilson notes, the strategy makes sense. You could never accomplish this in a small town, where everyone knows you and someone would check in on you.

On the other hand, with masses of people all around, you can simply…disappear.

If you’re intrigued, grab yourself a copy.

Be warned: you’ll need to devote some time to this. These aren’t pop songs you hear on the radio. At first you just won’t see it — well, if you’re like me, anyway. But suddenly you’ll become aware of the beautiful melodies, the evocative turns of phrase, the emotional intensity, all of it.

In the past I’ve given out free CDs of music I like. As a surprise, I told my supporting listeners they could have an album of Tom-approved music if they just asked for it. I sent a $20 double album out last year.

Wilson’s album is selling for just under $10 on Amazon as an mp3 download. If you’re a Tom Woods Show supporting listener at the Silver, Gold, or Platinum levels, just use my contact form to send me your mailing address if you’d like one.

This offer expires March 15, 2016.

If you become a supporting listener at one of those levels between now and then, you’re eligible, too. Just send me your address.

The way forward:

http://www.SupportingListeners.com

Steve Hogarth on Brilliance and Success

Promo for Vol II of THE INVISIBLE MAN DIARIES.
Promo for Vol II of THE INVISIBLE MAN DIARIES.

“I’m reminded once again that it’s not enough to be brilliant.  You need that lucky break that crosses you over to the mainstream punters.  And a shed load of marketing money. . . It happened to Marillion before I met them and we’ve managed to maintain a hard-core big enough to make it possible for us to function at a certain level.  It’s like getting an enormous rock to roll.  Once it’s rolling you can keep it going easier than the effort it took to get it started.  So rockn’rolls’s not such a bad name for it.  But it could have been called ‘momentum’ instead.  Doesn’t have the same ring about it though. . . (and anything derived from Latin is very unrock n’roll.)”

–Steve Hogarth, THE INVISIBLE MAN DIARIES, vol. II, pg. 129