- The Flower Kings, “The Truth Will Set you Free”: One of the superlong Flower Kings opuses – in fact, the first thing by the Flower Kings that I ever heard.
- Solas, “Pastures of Plenty”: a stunning version of the old Guthrie song, played by one of my favorite Irish bands. It’s a brilliant cover – the original song is clearly there, and yet its embedded in a reel.
- Valley of the Giants, “Cantara Sin Guitara”: truly fantastic post-rock. Valley of the Giants is the first PR ensemble that I think really
stacks up to Godspeed.
- Jadis, “Standing Still”: neo-progressive rock, produced by
Marillion’s guitarist. It’s a bit on the poppy side, but after listening
to it a bunch of times, it’s really grown on me. Jadis’s songs tend to have
decent poppy hooks, but they’ve also got a lot of complexity, and they
have the ability to keep surprising you with their changes even after
- Riverside, “Volte-Face”: more neo-prog. But this time, it’s a band that I love without reservations. Riverside is the greatest new band that
I’ve heard in a very long time. Highly recommended.
- Keith Emerson Band, “The Art of Falling Down”: the great Keith Emerson is back. Emerson is a really brilliant keyboardist, and I used
to love his stuff with ELP. But then ELP fell apart; he tried to bring it back a couple of times, with results ranging from mediocre (Emerson, Lake and Powell) to piss-poor (Three). Then he went off to do mediocre movie soundtracks. And now, he’s back with a new prog-rock band. And they’re good. They’re not ELP, but they’re better than any other post-ELP work that he’s done.
- Cynic, “Evolutionary Sleeper”: What do you get when you mix up
death metal, neo-progressive rock, and jazz fusion? That’s the best
description I can come up with for Cynic. I gave Cynic a listen based on
a suggestion from a reader after I raved about Gordian Knot; Cynic includes
Sean Malone, the genius behind GK. They’re really excellent.
- Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, “Transit”: another hard to describe group. Modern big-band jazz, with influences from classical
music. Very interesting stuff. Not my favorite, but definitely very cool and well worth a listen. I suspect it will grow on me with time.
- Van Der Graaf Generator, “The Sleepwalkers (live)”: Wow.
- John Corigliano, “Fantasia on an Ostinato”: Corigliano is one of my favorite modern classical composers. This is an intimate little piece for solo piano. Very beautiful, very stirring, and yet very delicate.
And as a special bonus, this irresistible video of two dancers playing Bach’s Tocatta and Fugue on the giant piano at FAO Schwartz.