Transatlantic, “The Whirlwind (Part 4) – A Man Can Feel”:
a track from the new Transatlantic album. Transatlantic is
a supergroup: it’s made of members of Marillion (Pete Trevawas on
bass), the Flower Kings (Roine Stolte, guitar), Spock’s Beard (Neil
Morse, vocals and keyboards), and Dream Theater (Mike Portnoy, drums).
In general, I don’t like supergroups; they’re usually more of a
commercial stunt than anything else. But I love Transatlantic;
and this album is fantastic – it’s a bit less smooth
than some of Transatlantic’s earlier work, but the writing is
fantastic. Highly recommended.
Do Make Say Think, “Fredericia”: a very typical track
by one of my favorite post-rock ensembles. In sound, they’re
somewhere in between Mogwai and Godspeed, with a bit of classical
Marillion, “Man of a Thousand Faces”: absolutely classic
Marillion. One of the things that Yes used to do that I love
is slow builds. They start with a simple pattern, and repeat
over and over, adding another layer each repetition. This song is
the only time that I recall Marillion doing it, and it’s
Abigail’s Ghost, “Gemini Man”: a big disappointment. A bunch
of people recommended Abigail’s Ghost to me as a great neo-prog
band. I find them incredibly dull. Pretty much the only time I
hear them is when they come up randomly, because I never choose
to listen to them.
The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, “Sam”: wonderful jazz-influenced
Klezmer. When they’re actually playing Klezmer, FBKB is fantastic.
Unfortunately, they often introduce songs with a sort of beat-inspired
poetry recitation, which is just annoying.
The Andy Statman Klezmer Orchestra, “Galitzianer Chusid”:
more Klezmer! Andy Statman plays very traditional klezmer. This
one I feel a special connection to. My mother’s family are Litvaks,
and my father was a Galitzianer. (That is, ashkenazi Jews from
Lithuania and Galacia, respectively.) Traditionally, the Litvaks
were wealthier, and looked down on the Galitzianers. My grandparents
used to tell my mother that if she weren’t good, she’d grow up
and marry a Galitzianer. And she did – and they were happily married
for 44 years.
Peter Gabriel, “The Rhythm of the Heat”: utterly wonderful
old Peter Gabriel. Security is still my favorite of his albums,
and this is my favorite track off the album.
Kansas, “Distant Vision”: Often when an old band gets back
together, it’s pure tripe. And Kansas has reformed itself several
times over the years, only to produce more tripe. This time they
got it right. This album sounds like what you’d expect the old
Kansas to sound like if they were writing in the 2000’s. It’s
not exactly like their old stuff – it’s grown over time – but it’s
got all of the beauty, complexity, and quality of their older stuff.
The lead singers voice has suffered a bit with age; he can’t quite
pull off some of the stuff he tries to do. But it’s good stuff
Parallel or 90 Degrees, “Entry Level”: Andy Tillison has
been very busy lately, coming out with new albums from both
Po90 and the Tangent. Of the two, I think that the new Po90 is
the better album – I think it’s absolutely terrific.
Roine Stolte, “Spirit of the Rebel”: the leader of
the Flower Kings recorded a solo album, which was intended to
be a tribute to the pop bands he grew up listening to. But Stolte
being Stolte, even when he’s trying to play pop and R&B,
he still manages to play better prog than 9 out of 10 prog bands.
It’s definitely on the pop side, much less challenging that
tFK, but it’s really good stuff.