Russian Circles, “Youngblood”: post rock, in the Mogwai style. Very nice stuff. Not the
most exciting PR band around, but good.
The Flower Kings, “World Without a Heart”: typical FK. Since I pretty much worship the ground
that Roine Stolte walks on, you can guess what I think of this.
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, “Transit”: would you believe sort-of progressive
big-band jazz? That’s pretty much how I’d describe this. Big band jazz is not my usual cup of tea, but
this is damned impressive, and a good solid listen. Definitely very cool stuff.
Naftule’s Dream, “Yid in Seattle”: Naftule’s Dream is an alternate name for a wonderful
Klezmer group called Shirim. When they’re doing weird stuff, they record as ND; when they’re doing
traditional, they record as Shirim. ND is klezmer the way that John Zorn and his radical jewish
culture guys play it. Wild stuff. Brilliant.
Sonic Youth, “Leaky Lifeboat (for Gregory Corso)”: a track from the newest Sonic Youth
album. This actually sounds more like older SY. In general, they’ve mellowed a bit over
time; in particular, they’re last album had fewer rough edges. This one keeps the smooth
production, but brings the edge back to the sound. SY just keeps getting better.
The Tangent, “The Ethernet”: the Tangent started out as a collaboration between
Roine Stolte of the Flower Kings, and Andy Tillison of Parallel or 90 Degrees. Stolte eventually
quit, leaving Tillison running the band. It’s completely replaced Po90D as Tillison’s main band.
It’s not quite up there with tFK, but it’s damned good.
Keith Emerson Band, “Prelude to Hope”: This is an astonishing track. It’s Keith Emerson
playing something beautiful and subtle. I’m a big Emerson fan. He’s a brilliant pianist.
I love his style, and I usually love his compositions. But my opinion of him in the past was that
if anyone were to suggest that perhaps he should try being a bit more subtle, he’d
be likely to bash their head in with a sledgehammer, put the body through a wood chipper,
collect up the bits and burn them to ashes, and then piss on the ashes – just to make sure
that he made his point clear. And yet… This is a beautiful, subtle piece of playing, from
a frankly terrific album.
Echolyn, “Lovesick Morning”: Echolyn is one of my favorite recent discoveries. They’re
not exactly a new band – they formed in the early 90s, broke up in 95, and then reformed
a couple of years later. But they’re a thoroughly excellent neo-progressive band, with a very
distinct sound. They don’t sound like they’re trying to be Genesis, or the Flower Kings, or Yes… They
sound like nothing but themselves.
Frank Zappa, “Drowning Witch”: Typical Zappa. Very strange, wonderfully erratic
but great music, and incredibly silly lyrics delivered in that strange Zappa style.
Dream Theater, “Wither”: Dream Theater’s newest. DT is a great progressive
metal band. Their last few albums were a bit uninspired in my opinion. This one is really
quite good. Unfortunately, this is one of the weaker songs on the album. Not bad, but not
exactly what I’d choose to try to turn someone on to Dream Theater.