Friday Random Ten, May 29th

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
    multiple listenings.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Van Der Graaf Generator, “The Sleepwalkers (live)”: Wow.
  10. 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.

0 thoughts on “Friday Random Ten, May 29th

  1. Frank Shearar

    I saw Cynic last November when they fronted for Opeth in London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
    They rock!

  2. Patrick

    Nice to see you rocking Cynic. Have you checked out Focus? That album is amazing as well.

  3. Sean

    Mark, thanks for your posts, you’ve turned me onto a lot of great music. Currently enjoying Cynic (and Gordian Knot and Aeon Spoke). In an attempt to return the favor, an older post rock band you might like is Jawbox (and maybe also J. Robbins’ later bands: Burning Airlines and Channels).

  4. Adrian Morgan

    I like the video, but I can’t help noticing that at the beginning all the octaves are identical, and then they’re not. This compromises the illusion.


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