Stellardrive, Inlandsix: Reasonably good instrumental prog. They’re
not particularly exceptional, but they’re decent.
Gong, “The Octave Doctors and the Crystal Machine”: Gong is a
perfect example of one of the differences between the great prog bands,
and a lot of the neo-progressive stuff. I can’t quite describe exactly what it
is – but you listen to a band like Gong, and you never get bored. You can listen
to it over, and over – and it’s always interesting. Even though the individual
features of the music are similar to what a lot of less brilliant bands do,
they manage to put them together in a different way. I can listen to a neo-prog
band like Jadis or Frost once or twice a month; if I listen to them more than
that, they start to bug me. But I can listen to Gong twice a day, and never
Parallel or 90 Degrees, “Backup”: One of the really great neo-progressives.
Po90 is Andy Tillison’s other band, and they are brilliant. Not as brilliant as
groups like Gong, but pretty damned amazing.
Jadis, “All You’ve Ever Known”: Here’s exactly what I’m talking about.
The beginning of this Jadis track is actually sort-of like the Gong track above.
But somehow, it’s dull when Jadis does it. Listening to them right after
Gong and Po90, they frankly sound terrible. I really like Jadis, but they can’t
hold a candle to the prog greats.
And So I Watch You From Afar, “If it Ain’t Broke, Break It”: Really good
post-rock. ASIWYFA is on the louder end of post-rock, and they’re really good
at it. They’re one of my most recent post-rock discoveries, after being recommended
to me by a reader of the blog, and I’m really enjoying them.
Genesis, “Your Own Special Way”: And now, my favorite band of all time.
I love Genesis. Even after Peter Gabriel left, they still wrote some of the
best prog rock of all time. There’s a reason why so many neo-prog bands were
inspired by them. Even when they’re doing a song like this, which is basically a silly sappy ballad,
they make it into something really special.
Jacob Hoffman with Kandel’s Orchestra, “Doina and Hora”: an incredibly old
recording of traditional klezmer, led by probably the greatest Klezmer xylophone player
ever. If you have any appreciation for Klezmer, this will absolutely knock your
The Flower Kings, “Soul Vortex”: Ah, the Flower Kings. The only
neo-progressive band that I’ve found that’s really as good as the original
prog guys. Whatever that elusive “it” that the great bands had that made them
endlessly listenable was, Roine Stolt and the Flower Kings have it.
Transatlantic, “The Return of the Giant Hogweed”: On their latest album,
Translatlantic added a disk of covers of their influences. Naturally, no
group made up of members of the best neo-progressive bands could possibly not include a classic Genesis track. It’s a very faithful cover, and
it works really well.
Marillion, “Forgotten Sons”: An old favorite of mine: one of the
lesser known tracks from Marillion’s very first full album. From the
very start, Marillion was really something special.