Thursday, July 19, 2007


I've always liked progressive rock. I still love old stuff
by Yes, Genesis, ELP and Rush. And the genre has made somewhat
of a comeback lately, powered by Porcupine Tree, Spock's Beard,
Dream Theater, Mew and several other fine bands.

You have to be really good to play this kind of music.
It's fast, adventurous, inspiring and demanding. Often
the songs are long, loaded with amazing solos, heavenly
harmonies and chock full of breakneck signature changes.

I was reading a British rock mag the other day and they
mentioned an English group named Frost. I picked up their
debut cd yesterday and it is amazing.

One thing I really liked about it is all the positive
energy. The guitars were screaming and the keyboards were
swirling and before I knew it I was doing 80 mph because
I was just in a rockin' good mood.


Snave said...

I like all those bands you mentioned, and I will have to check out Frost! Thanks, J.

Re. Prog, I have been a fan of King Crimson since their second album, which might have been something like 35 years ago or more ("In The Wake of Poseidon", with Greg Lake on vocals). They're one of my favorite prog bands and one of my favorite bands, period! They're still playing, creating mind-bending sounds! Yes and Genesis have always been up there in my book too.

Lately there have been some bands I'm not sure how to categorize, that are kind of a mix between prog and something else... Tortoise and Do Make Say Think use a variety of instruments and they play interesting material. Explosions In The Sky does great dramatic instrumental music with a basic lineup of two guitars, bass and drums. In that same vein are Pelican and Red Sparrowes... some people describe such music as "cinematic". None of the players in these bands do flashy solos, and in fact their playing is fairly patient and understated much of the time, but it's all fascinating stuff to hear! Godspeed You Black Emperor and Mogwai are other bands in this rather experimental vein.

Porcupine Tree and anything involving their frontman Steven Wilson is probably what I like most lately when it comes to prog. PT's newer albums "In Absentia","Deadwing" and "Fear of a Blank Planet" are flat-out great, and their older ones such as "Stupid Dream" and "The Sky Moves Sideways" remind the listener of Pink Floyd at times. Wilson has teamed up with Israel's Aviv Geffen for two CDs as Blackfield, which isn't prog, but is more like lush pop music with a lyrical edge... but it shows what prog musicians can do when they want to try something outside their norm. When Wilson is playing with Porcupine Tree, I think it's safe for the listener to say the word "great" very often. Also, Wilson produced Opeth's "Damnation", and contributed some keyboards and vocals... Opeth is usually a "death metal" band, but for this Wilson production they play their instruments clean, and the record has a rainy-day mellow, albeit menacing feel. All good stuff to check out!

PT's video "Arriving Somewhere..." is well worth your time. I got a copy of it a few weeks ago and have watched it a few times already!

Dave Splash said...

I'm not a prog rock fan at all, but I recommend Built To Spill ( to people that like progressive rock, indie pop, or jam music. They seem to do it all. Fantastic stuff.

J. Marquis said...

Yeah, I've been curious about BTS. What's your favorite cd of theirs?

Dave Splash said...

Start with "Perfect From Now On" it's their '97 album. It's arguably the best. Regardless, it's a good place to start.

Snave said...

I didn't care for "Ancient Melodies of the Future" all that much, but what was that, about six or seven years ago? I may still have a burned copy of it laying around somewhere... I will look and see, and give it another listen. I might have to check out "Perfect From Now On" and "You In Reverse".

Dave Splash said...

'Ancient Melodies' is decent, but not nearly the best BTS album. Try 'Perfect' or even the 'Live' album. Most live records are kinda weak, but the BTS one is quite good.