Gordian Knot, “Singing Deep Mountain”: As frequent readers of my FRTs may have figured out, I’m not typically a big fan of instrumental progrock. Most of the time, I find it to be
cold, sterile stuff – technically impressive, even amazing – but utterly devoid of meaning,
emotion, or feeling. Gordian Knot is one of my favorite counter-examples to show that it’s not
the vocals that I’m missing; GK manages to create instrumental music that’s got
both incredible technical virtuosity and real feeling.
Jason Ricci and New Blood, “I Turned Into a Martian”: a few weeks back,
a commenter on my last FRT suggested that I might like Jason Ricci and New Blood. He
was absolutely right. One YouTube video I found describes Ricci as “a cross between
Muddy Waters and Frank Zappa”. That’s a pretty dead-on description. Ricci and New Blood
play incredible blues, with a mixture of other influences, which would be pretty
decent stuff just by itself. But then Ricci is a nearly supernatural harmonica player.
The things that the guy can do with a harmonica are just astonishing. And the rest of the band aren’t exactly slouches. Highly recommended. (YouTube clip at the end of the post.)
Spock’s Beard, “The Slow Crash Landing Man”: Decent neo-prog. Not a particularly
special track, but not bad.
Riverside, “Before”: Riverside is a band I recently discovered via E-music. They’re
a phenomenal neo-progressive band. Their sound is hard to describe; somewhere between
Marillion, King Crimson, and Porcupine Tree.
Mono, “mere your pathetic light”: another really fantastic post-rock ensemble,
very much in the “godspeed” vein. Really excellent stuff.
Frost, “Welcome to Nowhere”: Yet another new neo-progressive band for me. I was
ordering some CDs, and threw this in on a whim. They’re quite good – a bit on towards the
poppy-end of neo-progressive. If you like Marillion, there’s a good chance you’ll like these guys. In particular, they’re good at the same kind of wonderful transition that Marillion is known for.
Steve Hackett, “Omega Metallicus”: Hackett is always terrific.
Marillion, “80 Days”: speak of the devil, Marillion pops up. As much as I like some
of the new, Marillion influenced neo-progressive bands, when Marillion comes through the headphones, it’s just different. There’s just a depth to them that not many bands can
match. Spock’s Beard, Frost, Jadis – they’re good. But they’re not in the same league as
Tony Trischka Band, “Haunted Hand”: Tony Trischka’s first album with his jazz band. I’m a bit biased here, because I know Tony personally, and he’s one of the most genuinely nice people I know. I love his band, and Tony playing jazz on the Banjo is even
better than Bela Fleck.
The Flower Kings, “The Melting Pot”: and if you want to make even Marillion sound
like a bunch of pikers, just put on the Flower Kings.