Thursday, July 24, 2014

sElf - Super Fake Nice [EP]

7/24/14 8:22PM
Stream the whole EP and Matt Mahaffey interview

Great collection of new tunes. Pretty much adds to the quality of more or less all of sElf's music. Catchy, quirky, funny, lyrical and some added textures/electronics.

Nice production too.

just skimming the interview, this question is probably worth passing along.

I have to ask about "Hey, Hipster" from the upcoming EP. Do you really hate hipsters?
I have no beef with hipsters. Some of it is just really comical, it's almost like a costume. You're kind of old enough to know better than to wear these costumes. Pabst Blue Ribbon is the drug of choice in hipster Nashville. You'll be at a bar and see someone order a PBR and they'll be like, "We don't serve PBR." And they'll order some esoteric $9 craft beer. So that kind of defeats the purpose of their whole vibe. I'm just observant of the hipster. I'm not condoning or putting them down. I just find it interesting, that's all. 
I wanted to go for that John Linnell/John Flansburgh type of humor without being Mickey Mouse about it. It's a popular topic and it's a little passe but at the same time I needed something to fill out the EP. I was kind of like, I like this piece of music and I don't care what anybody thinks of it. In the back of my mind it was kind of like Peter Gabriel's The Barry Williams Show. When Montel Williams and all these day-time talking heads were having white trash beat each other up in front of the camera, [Gabriel] wrote this Barry Williams Show song and I remember being like, "What are you doing?" I just hated it. This hipster song is my Barry Williams Show but I couldn't help putting it on there. 
Oh, and sElf is performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live next Wednesday July 30th.
Matt's announcement on FB

7/16/14 9:08AM

release date July 29th, 2014. ( per their label's Facebook Page)


1 Runaway 3:18
2 Subconscious Life 3:12
3 Gonna Rock 3:14
4 Hey, Hipster 2:41
5 Looks and Money 2:14
6 Splitting Atoms 3:04


6/3/14 5:55AM

FB link

5/24/14 10:19PM
Facebook Link

Logic might say the recently released "Stranger Than Strange" will be included on this. I'd love to submit something for the cover, but I don't exactly have those kinds of talents. Format? I'd love to pick this up on vinyl of course.

Blogger Tricks Blogger Tricks

Enchant - The Great Divide (2014) + A Blueprint of the World Vinyl

Finally after 11 years, one of my favorite bands from the 90's and early 2000's returns. Maybe I'll edit in more later as to why that is (or try and write up a brief history about them my experience, my take on each record briefly, etc).

Also the news below about the A Blueprint of the World vinyl (incl colored Blue) I can't see myself passing up on as it's one of my favorite records.

September 29th/30th. Touring? doubt beyond some festival shows, but it would be cool to see them support this album with one.

Also given the Blueprint Vinyl, I wonder if this new record will also find its way onto vinyl soon.

I also can't forget about how Insideout Music band Ice Age had an album of the exact same title like 13 years ago, but I'm sure Enchant new album title had nothing to do with that, lol.

Sound-wise for this new record? I wonder if the band may mix things up/modernize them a bit since we last heard new music from them in 2003.

1. Circles
2. Within an Inch
3. The Great Divide
4. All Mixed Up
5. Transparent Man
6. Life in a Shadow
7. Deserve to Feel
8. Here and Now
9. Prognosticator

ENCHANT – Announce release of new studio album “The Great Divide”; Launch online teaser!

ENCHANT, the Bay Area’s long-running Prog Rock institution founded in 1989, have completed working on their much anticipated comeback release after ten years of silence.

Entitled “The Great Divide”, ENCHANT’s 8th studio album will be released on September 29th, 2014 in Europe and on September 30th, 2014 in North America via the band’s longtime label partner InsideOutMusic.

ENCHANT’s main songwriter and guitarist Douglas A. Ott had the following to say about the upcoming release:

"Well it's finally here folks! There was a time when I was unsure of ENCHANT’s future but fear not! 
We've made another album after 10 years and we are very excited and proud of this endeavor! 
Our new album is called The Great Divide and we can't wait for you to hear it! 9 brand new ENCHANT tracks, including 1 instrumental. Classic ENCHANT but with a bunch of new twists and turns! Long time in the making but it is surely worth the wait! Coming out late September, so be sure to check it out!"

A first online teaser for the “The Great Divide” can be viewed here:

In related ENCHANT news, InsideOutMusic is happy to announce the first ever LP release of the band’s classic debut album “A Blueprint Of The World” from 1993. As for September 1st, 2014 this epic record will be available on 180gr. black vinyl in the gatefold double LP format including the original 10 songs and one bonus track in a total playing time of 74 minutes as well as the full album on a bonus CD. Check pre-order details of the strictly limited (100x copies) edition on transparent blue vinyl here:

Keep your eyes and ears open for further details on “The Great Divide” coming soon…

ENCHANT Discography:
A Blueprint Of The World – CD 1993
Wounded – CD 1996
Time Lost – CD 1997
Break – CD 1998
Juggling 9 Or Dropping 10 – CD 2000
Blink Of An Eye – CD 2002
Tug Of War – CD 2003
Live At Last – 2CD/2DVD 2004
The Great Divide – CD 2014

ENCHANT Line-Up 2014:
Ted Leonard - Lead vocals (Spock’s Beard / Thought Chamber)
Douglas A. Ott - Guitars and backing vocals
Ed Platt - Bass guitar and bass pedals
Bill Jenkins - Keyboards (Sound Of Contact / Thought Chamber)
Sean Flanegan – Drums (Cynthesis)

ENCHANT online:


Visit the new InsideOut Shop:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kimbra - The Golden Echo (2014)

7/21/14 5:12PM-7/22/14 1:40PM

Brief US Tour this Fall including October 30th @ The Fine Line in Minneapolis. I wonder if she'll get an opener (The Dear Hunter?..wishful thinking of course)


"Miracle" dancey/disco-ish.

6/13/14 10:30PM

Jonas from Mew (along with Ben and Omar) are on Bonus tracks. Longstreth and Flying Lotus won't be on any version of the album at this point (but will come out).


UPDATE: Warner Bros. have issued a correction saying that while Kimbra worked with Flying Lotus and Dave Longstreth during the making of The Golden Echo, those songs will not appear on the album. They will eventually be released however. Also, "bonus tracks on the deluxe edition include appearances from Ben Weinman of the Dillinger Escape Plan, The Mars Volta's Omar Rodríguez-López, and Jonas Bjerre of Danish band Mew."

6/10/14 10:58PM

Released August 19th

2 new tracks "Nobody But You" and "Love In High Places."

Deluxe Edition (iTunes)  Tracklist (see the Preorder link in the YouTube videos)

The Golden Echo

1 Teen Heat
2 90s Music 3:36
3 Carolina
4 Goldmine
5 Miracle
6 Rescue Him
7 Madhouse
8 Everlovin' Ya (feat. Bilal)
9 As You Are
10 Love In High Places 5:15
11 Nobody But You 5:22
12 Waltz Me To the Grave
13 Slum Love (Bonus Track)
14 Sugar Lies (Bonus Track)
15 The Magic Hour (Bonus Track)

Daniel Johns/Can Dyke Parks? Omar Rodriguez-Lopez? Ben Weinman? more details I'm sure will include them, but Bilal appears to be the only name "featured" which honestly, might be a good thing with so much emphasis on whose-who of guest in the track titles on so many recent albums.

edit: ...
"with a list of collaborators including Flying Lotus, Dave Longstreth, John Legend, and Matt Bellamy."

6/3/14 4:15PM

Video for "90's Music"..dig the pop/culture (pop music) references. Playful video that at times resembles something Michel Gondry might do, which fittingly, the 1990's is when he was making music videos if I recall, lol.

Nice chameleon looks from Kimbra as well.


  5/19/14 5:25PM

cover art: see above

Billboard Link
"from the singer's second studio album, "The Golden Echo," due out in August on Warner Bros. Records." 

for the official release of the "90's Music" single, Kimbra's album title and release month were also included in the press release. What format and of course all the details of the track list and artwork probably aren't too far away.

Also kind of obvious now why her tour with Janelle Monae down under was titled the "Golden Electric Tour." Which it probably is worth adding how Janelle had to pull out of a show and the dates until May 26th due to some kind of health issue. I haven't seen any details, but Kimbra posted a get well wish to Janelle the other day after she had to bow out of a show the other night.

5/4/14 2:13PM

The first single is titled "90's Music" and I'm just guessing, but I think it was played on Triple J yesterday or early this morning and someone may have ripped it and it was shared on the Tumblr Link below.

Odd tune to say the least, but take this 1st track with a grain of salt given the assortment of guests showing up on this record.

Someone also claims on twitter, the album title and more details will be announced per Triple J in the next week or 2. The fact Kimbra has been teasing with cryptic comments on fb/twitter about it.

The beetle wings are rustling with whispers of what's to come!!!


Check Out/Stream a 90's music MIX Kimbra made

Also here's a live version of 1 of the new tracks "Madhouse."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Imogen Heap - Sparks (2014)

7/17/14 1:26PM

New song/video "Cycle Song"
Nice but short. Sounds more like an interlude. Rather ethnic sounding which is not surprising given how this album was made.

6/30/14 4:33PM

Here's a story confirming the release date is August 19th. I likely will get the standard vinyl

Amazon Preorder (Vinyl) Preorder (CD)

Grammy and Ivor Novello award winning recording artist Imogen Heap will release her highly anticipated 4th solo album “Sparks” on August 19th, 2014 through RCA Records. The physical album is currently available for pre-order on Amazon here. 

Sparks has been on a well travelled journey, one which Heap began at 6am 14 March 2011, with a live stream from her home studio in a small village on the outskirts of London, gathering 'sound seeds' from fans and weaving them together to form the first song (Lifeline). Fast forward, 4 continents later, a dozen related projects and 14 tracks, the album cover artwork was then completed by those who pre-ordered the limited edition, super deluxe box set by sending in their footprints! The stunning piece of artwork and packaging, designed and developed over the past three years by Imogen and her creative team with CSV (the company behind Radiohead’s special packaging) it is the very first time that Imogen has released such a super deluxe package. An interactive album cover featuring the footprints of fans worldwide also just premiered on The Creators Project, a partnership between Intel and VICE. 

Says Heap, “The album began with someone sending in the sound of striking a match for what became Lifeline in March 2011. I then dived into the most immense, intense creative 2 and a half years of my life that took me all over the planet, collaborating on so many projects with so many people and often totally spontaneously. The album is then in some ways for me grounded with fans’ footprints bringing the finishing touch for the album art, as so many of them came along for the ride.” 

“Sparks” will be available in four formats – a standard edition, a double-disc edition with instrumental versions of all tracks, 12 inch vinyl and the super deluxe; super deluxe packaging will contain 12 individual data discs, 14 HD music videos, plus videos documenting the making of each song and the entire album, a double 10” vinyl album, a special deck of playing cards which unlock exclusive web content and a 120 page coffee-table-style book telling the story of “Sparks” along with the special ticket of blended items that allows access to sound-checks on the next tour. 

While working on “Sparks,” Heap turned songs into projects and projects into songs, to bring her out of her studio and 'let life in' rather than postponing things until her album was done. This fresh approach found Imogen collaborating with everyone from her fans to unsuspecting passers-by, gardeners to filmmakers, scientists to newspaper journalists and brings us her most diverse and daring body of work to date. From the River Thames (You Know Where To Find Me) to 5000 feet up in the Himalayas (Climb to Sakteng, Cycle Song), from her local community garden (Neglected Space) to 6 weeks in the Chinese metropolis of Hangzhou (Xizi She Knows), Heap was soaking it up, writing, developing, recording and producing. Sounds of a dishwasher door to a Bhutanese dranyen, the voice of a crumbling wall to 700 fans’ becoming a spoken word chorus. One of Heap's projects include her brilliant Mi.Mu Gloves, developed over this album period with an incredible team of scientists, engineers, and artists (Me The Machine) and dabbled in generative and reactive music with music app developers RJDJ (Run-Time) connected to a jogging app. From the deeply personal love songs Propeller Seeds and Entanglement to the crowd sourced response to the Sendai earthquake (Lifeline), her trademark honesty runs through the album. 

One of the songs will only be finished once she’s dead! The Listening Chair whizzes us through her first 35 years in 5 minutes and will be added to every 7 years with another minute of a cappella song! 

Heap's last album Ellipse earned her a Grammy and Ivor Novello award. This summer marks the release of Sparks, her fifth (including Frou Frou's album Details) and most ambitious album to date. Sparks' songs have taken Imogen all over the world from her North East London home studio to the Himalayas via China. This year Imogen is the guest artist-curator for the iconic London Roundhouse venue’s new music festival Reverb. The eagerly awaited Sparks world tour will begin at Reverb with an extra special show in August 2014, however the rest of the tour is slightly delayed to May 2015 as Imogen will be a mum come November! 

To follow more news from Heap herself, her much loved vBlogs are back. You can watch them here ( or sign up to her mailing list ( to never miss a beat from the Heap 

Full tracklisting for “Sparks” standard edition: 

01. You Know Where to Find Me
02. Entanglement
03. The Listening Chair
04. Cycle Song
05. Telemiscommunications
06. Lifeline
07. Neglected Space
08. Minds Without Fear
09. Me The Machine
10. Run-Time
11. Climb To Sakteng
12. The Beast
13. Xizi She Knows
14. Propeller Seeds

4/22/14 5:21PM
 "The Machine" video

3/1/14 12:00PM

This (below) is supposedly 1-of the tracklists, per the Deluxe Boxed Set, which I will admit to not ordering. And unfortunately, I read was pushed back a bit, until April or May. But the release date was set to March 3rd a while ago. I have not seen many official sites mentioning, just the standard version. Promos, reviews, etc. Why I wonder if the March 3rd street date is still accurate. But if it is, I'll be looking to check this record out on Monday or at least in the next week or two.

edit:  per Wikipedia
Sparks is the forthcoming fourth studio album by English recording artist Imogen Heap. The album will be released, via RCA on 3 March 2014, in two editions: standard and deluxe box set. The standard edition will consist of 14 tracks and will include all of Heap's 2011–2013 singles. On 21 February 2014, a video was posted on her official site stating that the release date has been changed to April.

1 You Know Where to Find Me
2 Entanglement
3 The Listening Chair
4 Cycle Song
5 Telemiscommunication
6 Lifeline
7 Neglected Space
8 Minds Without Fear
9 Me the Machine
10 Run-Time
11 Climb to Sakteng
12 The Beast
13 Xizi She Knows
14 Propeller Seeds

Even the standard ARTWORK I'm not finding at this time. The Deluxe Boxed Set shows some artwork.

I do like the way the Deluxe Boxed Set includes

Here's a re-cap of what's included:

• Sparks album on CD

A special ticket that grants you access to a sound check on Imogen's 2014 world tour

• 10 inch Sparks double gatefold vinyl album

• 12 DVD data discs with lossless versions of each Heapsong inc HD music videos + making-of videos of each song, packaged in beautiful case bound books with 16 page colour booklet

• Making of the album DVD featuring all box set material

• 120 page photo book telling the story of 'Sparks'

• Deck of 52 playing cards that unlock exclusive web content

• Specially blended paper made from objects Immi use to make the album
9/20/13 11:45AM

From the Mailing List:

We are delighted to announce that Imogen's brand new album 'Sparks' will be released on 3rd March 2014. We are giving mailing list members the chance to pre-order the strictly limited edition deluxe boxset for delivery a week earlier, on 24th February 2014.

What's more, if you pre-order before 30th September 2013 you can upload your footprints and they will become part of the 'Sparks' album cover across all formats. The first 100 people to order also get to visit Immi's house!

A message from Immi:

Hello there. Hope all's well with you.

I've been little miss hermit heap in my studio the Hideaway these past months with a real push to get the audio for the album finished in time for my sanity to stay intact!

It's turned out to be a monster of an album and even though I finished it two weeks ago, it still hasn't dawned on me. A bit like your last day at school!

For all the other bits, like making of documentaries, photos, music videos, commentaries etc, I realised pretty early on (about 2 years ago) that it won't fit onto your average CD, so I've been cooking up a Deluxe box set!

I've made a little video for you to explain a bit more about what's in it. You can watch it here :)

I may have a glass of champagne when I get mine as It pretty much represents my musical life since March 2011 with all the projects I've been involved in, connecting to a song.


Really hope you love the music and this rather sexy deluxe box set to accompany it!

xxx immi xxx

Visit the deluxe website to pre-order your boxset now and upload your footprints which will become part of the album cover!

All these wonderful details aside, this DELUXE BOXED SET is well, rather DELUXE being 10 discs, a DVD-Doc, and Vinyl. The price on the site shows a cool $299.99. So, yeah, I'd love a copy, but I also would love to use the $260+ extra to use on a plane ticket to Arizona or my savings account. There's only a limited number of the Boxed Sets anyway, so who knows if they are already sold out.

But at least we do know the actual Title being SPARKS (not Spark), and the release date being March 3rd of 2014.

9/3/13 8:53PM

just a follow up to  this Entry "Imogen Heap: 2012 Recap

This is just information she's posted at scattered points throughout the last 3 years. But taking this info to be somewhat if not rather accurate. this upcoming LP will be coming out in November. The title "Spark" is a *POSSIBLE* title as that twitter post linked on Wikipedia does not really sound certain at all (and it was from just a few months ago, in July).

But assuming the November release happens and that track list is close if not fully accurate (and the order for that matter), more of the details shouldn't be far away.

Wikipedia Page

Spark is the tentative title[1] of the upcoming fourth studio album by English recording artist Imogen Heap. The album will be released on Megaphonic Records in November 2013 in two packages: standard edition and deluxe album box set. The standard edition will consist of 14 tracks and will include all of Heap's singles released between 2011 and 2013.

Background[edit source | editbeta]

Spark is a concept album. Each song that is related to a certain project has been released every three months. On 14 March 2011, Heap started work on a new record as fans sent in nearly 900 "sound seeds", or samples of everyday sounds such as a "dishwasher door", a "bicycle" or a "burning match". Heap says the concept for this album will be to record one track over a two-week period every three months. Each song and video will be released immediately.
The first song, initially entitled "#heapsong1" and later retitled "Lifeline", premiered worldwide on 28 March 2011 via Ustream[2] along with a live remix by Tim Exile. "Lifeline" was released on 30 March 2011 as a digital download from Imogen's website and via iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers. Released alongside this was a 12-page 3DiCD package (a 3D virtual CD) including crowd sourced (and paid for) images, the instrumental version of the song, the "seeds and solos only" version and "heap speaks seeds and solos" - an-18-minute commentary by Heap on how the sounds and solos were used in "Lifeline". The song is a tribute to the victims of the2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The second song, "Propeller Seeds", was recorded using 3D audio effects and headphones are recommended for listeners to get the full effect. The third song, "Neglected Space", incorporates concepts, people and sounds from a lab organized by the Clear Village Charitable Trust to restore a walled garden in Bedfords Park.[3] The fourth song, "Minds Without Fear", was the first song to be featured on the 2011 Indian show, The Dewarists.
The fifth song, "Xizi She Knows", was recorded during Heap's six-week trip at Hangzhou, China.[4] The sixth song, "Me, the Machine", was recorded using the musical gloves. The seventh song, "You Know Where to Find Me", was recorded in London and is thematically about the River Thames.[5] The eighth song, "Telemiscommunications", is a collaboration with Canadian house producer deadmau5which is included in his sixth album Album Title Goes Here.

Track listing[edit source | editbeta]

All songs written and composed by Imogen Heap. 
1."Lifeline"  4:47
2."Propeller Seeds"  3:52
3."Neglected Space"  5:20
4."Minds Without Fear" (with Vishal-Shekhar)3:41
5."Xizi She Knows"  4:41
6."You Know Where to Find Me"  4:56
7."Telemiscommunications(with deadmau5)4:07
8."The Listening Chair"  
9."Me, the Machine"  
12."Climb to Sakteng"  
13."Cycle Song"  
14."TBA (new song)" 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A List of Progressive Metal Albums 2000-2009

This is just a list I thought of, mainly recently after seeing EQPTV's Top 5 Progressive Metal albums video. I noticed how all 5 of them were from the 2000's decade, so it got me thinking of just coming up with a list from said decade alone. I suppose I can add another entry soon, time permitting of course, of 90's and 80's Progressive Metal albums as well, and then an overall I suppose.

But my intention is not to write up a massive amount of each one of these as time is of course at a premium often for myself. In other words, the following are just brief comments that perhaps more elaboration can be made if/when time is available.

I also think I easily could
a) be forgetting something
b) may discover records soon or long after that also would belong in this mix.

That all being said, there is no ranking/specific order for these.

Orphaned Land - Mabool (2004)
Probably their best record still. I love the charging riffs and mix of middle eastern instrumentation and blend of clean vocals (including harmonies both male and female), and growls. There is a great energy and storytelling element to this album.

Tracks: A Call to Awake, Ocean Land, Mabool, The Storm Still Rages On

Subterranean Masquerade - Suspended Animation Dreams (2005)
Great blending of 70's tinged progressive folk rock with stuff like sax and flute and some infectious and soaring string arrangements, with clean and growling vocals from Paul Kuhr. This record just got more impressive with time. The concept is neat as well, about well, someone whose caught in a nightmare. The chanting "Wake Up, Wake Up from this dream!" I always remember.

Tracks: Six Strings to Cover Fear, Awake, Wolf Among Sheep

maudlin of the Well - Leaving Your Body Map/Bath (2001)
I consider these 2 releases from 2001, a double LP really. They connect in various ways, including just styles and thematically. The music on here uses dynamics and blends of heavy harsh/to beauty/soft so well. I swear everytime I go back to these records I discover new things and become more in awe of them.

Among many other things, I think I totally fall for the guitar textures and tones Toby Driver uses.

Tracks: Birth Pains of Astral Projection, Heaven and Weak, Gleam in Ranks,Sleep is a Curse, Riseth He Numberless (Parts 1 and 2)

Green Carnation - Light of Day, Day of Darkness (2001)

1 song, 60 minutes. The biggest thing about this record is how it is 1 piece that does last 1 hour, yet, it doesn't seem like an hour. Or rather, I have never felt there is any dragging or filler while listening to it. In other words, it flows incredibly well. I guess you could say they trumped A Pleasant Shade of Gray in a sense by creating 1 piece of music that is even longer in actual length.

Musically, it's very intense at times, melodic, a lot of epic, soaring, big, layered sections. In due time, a re-listening probably could warrant more detail. But for now, I can just say I have enjoyed probably a little more each and every time I've listened to it.

Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002)

Dream Theater's last amazing record. A double album, which like maudlin of the Well I suppose, this could be regarded as 2 LPs, but the concept sort of still at least loosely goes together throughout all 4 sides.

I think part of why this record stands out and seems to be their last really great album is it doesn't really have any filler on it. No extended solos that go on too long. I actually really like "The Glass Prison" (including the chapman stick solo), but probably regard it as the worst song on this album, which tells you how good I think this record is.

Tracks: Blind Faith, The Great Debate, Misunderstood, About to Crash, Solitary Shell, About to Crash (reprise)

Pain of Salvation - The Perfect Element I (2000)

A massively emotional and layered record with a plethora of moments of beauty and distortion. This record is always a trip, whether it be for the music itself, or the nostalgia. More details are here of course.

tracks: The Perfect Element, In the Flesh, Her Voices, Reconciliation, King of Loss, Used

Pain of Salvation - Remedy Lane (2002)
The follow up to 2000's breathtaking The Perfect Element I, did not disappoint really in any way. This record still has a handful of just incredible moments to look forward to. Whether it be the climax at the end of "Beyond the Pale" or the crescendo in "A Trace of Blood." "Undertow" over time I have come to love even more. The middle eastern element in "Chain Sling" as well.

tracks: Beyond the Pale, A Trace of Blood, Ending Theme, This Heart of Mine, Chain Sling, Rope Ends

Opeth - Ghost Reveries (2005)

Opeth's last great record. I guess I see Opeth's catalog from Still Life through this record as being pretty consistent (sans for Damnation I guess given that's not really a Metal record at all). But I guess I really enjoy the textures, atmosphere and flow on this album probably more than any other. Some fans find "The Grand Conjuration" to be one of if not the band's worst music from that period (or ever), but actually, I think I find it to be  my favorite part of this album. It has this great energy to it, in a Deep Purple-kind of way.

While it's not new territory for the band, the dynamics where they go from intense to dreamy back to intense I fell totally for, probably more than any other record. I suppose it's worth adding their 1st 3 records I haven't spent as much time with as the albums that have followed. And in due time, I may compare those more favorably at that point.

tracks: The Grand Conjuration, Ghost of Perdition, Reverie/Harlequin Forest

Opeth - Deliverance (2002)
This is the 1st record I ever spent much time with, in Opeth's catalog. I probably never will get past the grinning (or just laughing in fact) while hearing Mikael's growls. That was of course way back when it came out and my experience with growls was very limited-to-none. But they certainly grew on me and this album did as well.

The intensity of many of the riffs and how they build just became so enjoyable and addictive. This is a wonderful record for energy (especially in my line of work, needing to increase my production level).

tracks: Deliverance, Master's Apprentices, A Fair Judgement

SikTh - Death of a Dead Day (2006)

Like maudlin of the Well to an extent, this band and both their records I have been more or less in awe of since checking them out. However, I also haven't spent incredible amounts of time listening to them, I suppose mainly due to mood. But when I have, I have have enjoyed more or less all of their music. They have this incredible unique yet crazy quality of being theatrical and melodic. The singer sounds like Gonzo from the muppets, and while initially I found it kind of childish, I fell in love with it the more I heard of him.

Some of the playing here is off the charts, Changing time signatures, to layers of vocals and other instruments.

Tracks: Another Sinking Ship, Flogging the Horses

SikTh - The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild (2003)
I came to feel this record to basically be about as good as their 2006 follow-up. It was crazy technical, funny, dynamic, and theatrical. I suppse you could say both the production and the maturity of the songwriting isn't quite at what they achieved with Death of a Dead Day, but their charm and ambition to experiment is still all over this record.

tracks: Scent of the Obscene, How May I Help You?

uneXpect - In Flesh Aquarium (2006)
Like SikTH and motW, another crazy technical band blending genres with Metal that worked successfully. I love how this band uses characterized vocals both clean and growls from both male and female perspectives.
This is circus Metal, but it stays with you long after you've listened to it.

tracks: Psychic Jugglers, Feasting Fools, The Shiver suite

Burst - Lazarus Bird (2008)
I loved this record very early on. It is probably the perfect blend of progressive rock and sludge metal. The vocalist, while he can sound constipated, somehow complements the music really well.

I've said countless times seemingly, but this is basically what Mastodon could sound like if I loved them. The guitar work and the crescendos are so well constructed. The vocal harmonies and layers and tones work so way in sort of a dirty-to-cleaning-up-the mood/vibe/tone sort of way.

I really love this record, and the band in general. It's too bad they will likely never find a larger audience (and even this record among some of their more earlier hardcore sound).

Tracks: (We Watched) The Silver Rain, Cripple God, Momentum, City Cloaked, We Are Dust

Sculptured - Embodiment: Colllapsing Under the Weight of God (2008)
Similar to Subterranean Masquerade, this record used black metal vocals at times mixing with progressive rock in a dark, gloomy way musically. Also they use samples, like Don Anderson's primary group Agalloch, to add some wonderful atmosphere. Love their use of piano as well as many other elements to this albun.

tracks:  Embodiment Is the Purest Form of Horror, Bodies Without Organs.

Between the Buried and Me - Colors (2007)
A trip of immense emotion and ebbs and flows of tones and textures. More details here of course.
It really has become as I've seen it, BTBAM's peak into writing extended song structures that flow together (and reprise some elements). 

tracks: White Walls, Sun of Nothing, Ants of the Sky, Prequel to the Sequel

Between the Buried and Me - Alaska (2005)
I came to enjoy this record almost as much as Colors. It has "Selkies" on it, which probably is as good as anything on Colors (sans for perhaps "White Walls"). I love that Three of a Perfect Pair riff they use to perfection.

tracks: Selkies: The Endless Obsession, Backwards Marathon, All Bodies, Alaska

Protest the Hero - Kezia (2006)
This album is a trip, with vocal harmonies and acoustic interludes that totally remain in your brain for hours afterwards. This is Protest the Hero's debut album, and sadly, they have not managed to come close to recapturing on an entire record what was so special about it (Volition might at least be moving closer to that however).

Time isn't available, but I would love to write in great detail how incredible an album this is. They just hit the nail on the head so well by using those acoustic sections, female vocals, catchyvocal melodies along with the great dynamics and guitar work.

tracks: Divinity Within, Blindfolds Aside, Nautical, Bury the Hatchet

Fates Warning - Disconnected (2000)
The follow-up to A Pleasant Shade of Gray, which like APSOG did include contributions from ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore. This record really has a wonderful mix of atmosphere, epic tracks, moods, trademark Jim Matheos guitar riffs and Ray Alder vocal lines (which I believe Terry Brown was involved with).

This is Fates doing a very modern sounding record with some new textures and styles that I got a ton of mileage in the early 2000's out of. And "Still Remains" may still *remain* the best single track the band has ever recorded.

tracks: Still Remains, Something From Nothing, So, One, Pieces of Me

John Arch - A Twist of Fate (2003)
Nearly 28 minutes of perfection. This 2-track EP is just so good and addictive, that it wipes the floor with so many other records that don't even include a fraction of music even close to as good.

John's return to recorded music after 17 years or so, was such a breath of fresh air. To hear him and his signature style voice with modern production and with Jim Matheos was one of the greatest out-of-nowhere releases of music I've ever experienced. Both "Relentless" and "Cheyenne" have countless moments to enjoy, I can't pinpoint that many specifics.

The vocal harmonies, to the lyrics, to the piano and strings, to the chanting, to Mike Portnoy's drum work.
This really is as good as progressive metal can get to me.

In Vain - The Latter Rain (2007)
This is one massive, epic, layered, varied in styles Metal record. Blackened vocals at times. Some incredible riffs that soar for extensive amounts of time. It's really a journey of an album, like Green Carnation's Light of Day, Day of Darkness, the trip is so good, it almost doesn't seem nearly as long as it clocks in at.

Tracks: As I Wither, The Spirits Ride with the Wind, The Titan, October's Monody, I Total Triumf.

Martyr - Feeding the Abscess (2006)
This album, I can mainly cite a couple of things. I read some glaring reviews on some other sites about it a few years ago and gave it a go and was more or less immediately impressed by its uptempo energy. The guitar work is fast, rhythmic and always keeps my attention.

I liked this so much, I eventually purchased it on cd. And I just noticed it came out on vinyl in 2013. The price isn't outrageous, so I'm on it. Like The End, one of Canada's best kept secrets in Metal.

Tracks:  Nameless, Faceless, Neverborn, Dead Horizon suite, Perpetual Healing

Zero Hour - The Towers of Avarice (2001)
I've loved this record for a long time, as I purchased it in 2001 at the inaugural Prog Power USA festival which Zero Hour performed at. This is an intense, incredible dark, technical record. The production is pristine. The vocals from Erick Rosvold are incredibly character driven.

"Demise and Vestige" in particular has some of the highest of highs in terms of crescendos and climaxes. It's one of those epic tracks that lasts 15 minutes, but I could go for it lasting twice as long.

Tracks: Demise and Vestige, Stratagem, The Towers of Avarice.

<br />Thurisaz - Circadian Rhythm
ThurisazCircadian Rhythms (2007)
Similar to In Vain's The Latter Rain, a journey record of melodic blackened prog metal with fantasy kind of lyrics I suppose. The energy and flow are what stands out the most on this album.

Tracks: Falling, Circadian Rhythm, Point of No Return


Shaman - Ritual (2002)

Andre Matos along with Luis Mariutti and Ricardo Confessori left Angra in the late 90's and formed this band. They continued much of the style of Angra's Holy Land record with a great blend of progressive/symphonic Metal that includes a fair amount of ethnic-brazilian ovetones. Andre does some of his best operatic vocal work on this, and even guitarist Hugo Mariutti shines on many tracks.

tracks: Fairy Tale, Over Your Head, Blind Spell, For Tomorrow

The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers (2014)

7/16/14 10:00AM
New song/video "War on the East Coast."

6/10/14 12:41PM
per Their Facebook


Released on August 26th.

Opening/title track below. Honestly, it's not doing a ton for me, kind of like their last record Together from 2010. You'd think nearly 5 years or whatever, would supply some time to refine and perfect some better new tunes, and I am hoping just that, because other than Together, I find their catalog pretty consistently good. Twin Cinema and Challengers probably being my favorites.

I guess we'll see. Their tour isn't coming to Minneapolis, although the last show I saw them, was frankly, not the best concert that year as it was filled with some drunken frat boys who never seemed to shut up, near where I was sitting. In other words, their not coming here, I'm not incredibly down about.

But this record, I hold slight optimism for, and am glad to see them put out some new music after the members of course have focused on their solo career and "A" gigs, so-to-speak, the past few years.

1 Brill Bruisers
2 Champions of Red Wine
3 Fantasy Fools
4 War on the East Coast
5 Backstairs
6 Marching Orders
7 Another Drug Deal of the Heart
8 Born With a Sound
9 Wide Eyes
10 Dancehall Domine
11 Spidyr
12 Hi-Rise
13 You Tell Me Where

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Daniel Johns - "White Hot!"? (2014)

Van Dyke Parks twitter post

Daniel Johns' new album: white hot!He's outdone himself once again.This one,with no meddling arrangers. Cheers, Mate!
Embedded image permalink

More from this previous entry.

Not that this new post from Van Dyke Parks reads as being definitive or anything, but it is what it is. And odds are info about this record should be coming rather soon as that older entry suggests.

Anyway, more info will be included here in due time of course.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fair to Midland - God Help Us (unreleased demo)

God Help Us demo from the Arrows & Anchors writing sessions I found on an old hard drive. I'm pretty sure it was the only copy that existed at that point. It would be a shame if it was lost and nobody ever heard it. I always really liked this song. I believe this is all Andrew but I could be wrong. Anyway, enjoy! :)

Pretty nice, and it hardly sounds like something from the compressed mix of that record. I just dunno if it ultimately would have ended up with what sounds like a looping digital drum track. But the vocal harmonies and piano are haunting.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fire Garden - Sound of Majestic Colors (2014)

Fire Garden is a progressive metal band from Chicago, whose debut album "Sound of Majestic Colors" was released just a few weeks ago on June 10th.

"The Joker" is a pretty sweet opening track. With dynamic, haunting textures and moods. I particularly like the sad, slow section that comes about 5 minutes-in.

"Get ready to play my game. I leave you all in tears. It'll never be the same, because I'll make you go insane"

The chorus and vibe of it does represent a bit of what "The Joker" from the Batman Universe may represent. At least I suppose I get that image in my head of The Joker character. I would guess the band was thinking about that at least in some part when they wrote and named that track what they did.

edit: I never got around to finishing this as I posted this a few weeks ago as a DRAFT. But I can say, this record, while overall has some of the traditional prog/prog metal. The melodies do stay with you, and there does not seem to include that much of the extensive filler I notice in a lot of the so-called traditional prog metal. I think they focus as much (if not more) on atmosphere as they do on chops.

Vocally Kevin sounds at times like Neal Morse or even Nick D'Virgilio, but not *exactly* like either. I suppose that is one reason why i am not as bothered by the vocals compared to some of the again, so-called trad. prog metal.

Is this an album I am addicted to? I can't say exactly. But I still like a lot of it. "Time Machine" "Far From Grace" "The Last Step" come to mind among the others besides the opening track.

Is it a short record? no, of course just look at the track lengths. But I suppose it doesn't seem as long as it may (or other prog albums of similar 1 hour+ lengths).

I will try and digest it more if/when time allows by the end of the season (Halloween) when that comes up. But for now, as far as "prog" records for 2014, this is one of the better ones, and namely given it's from a new band

1. The Joker 8:39
2. Alone 5:32
3. Time Machine 6:33
4. Endless Memories
5. Redemption 4:18
6. Behind the Face 8:09
7. Forsaken 6:00
8. Echoes in Silence 8:23
9. Far From Grace 6:26
10. The Last Step 8:42

The Mercury Tree: Excellent progressive rock band from Portland, OR

Steve Bergquist of local Minnesota bands The Royal Veil and Maeth told me about this Portland, OR based progressive rock band, who are looking to play live in Minnesota (and elsewhere on tour I'd presume) this Fall? I think he said. And with some similarly appealing bands who they could share a bill with. He said they were kind of like Porcupine Tree among some others.

I naturally suggested the likes of Between Two Skies and RisingSide..if not his own bands or Brice Plays Drums. The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra maybe as well. But that is still unclear.

So I naturally wanted to check their actual music and just hearing their latest release, a 2-track EP, I am already a fan. "Secrete a Matrix" got my attention right away. I love how it uses dynamics and time changes around the 2 minute mark. It's almost like Time of Orchids or Kiss Kiss or even Echolyn in a way. Harmonically using different textures and offbeats, and some chaotic slightly screamed vocals.

2014: Family Style [EP]

Family Style EP cover art

1. Glass Eye 03:11
2. Secrete a Matrix 06:41


2012: Freeze in Phantom Form

Freeze in Phantom Form cover art

1. Anamnesis 02:05
2. Frontera 05:47
3. Avenues 06:03
4. Sepulchre 04:42
5. Cipher 06:10
6. Proteus 05:20
7. Zeta 07:41
8. Interspatial 02:26
9. Inflexus 04:25
10. In Partem Scalpere 09:31
11. Rotating Cast 05:20

So this album was their previous record. I have only just sampled some of it this afternoon, just in the background unfortunately. But I do like what I hear. I either will have to edit-in more hear about this record when I have time, or I'll try and post something in a separate entry as trying to listen to it right now, and describe my take/opinion about it honestly and accurately probably isn't fair. But I wanted to at least post some info about this band and the fact they may find their way to town soon.

Pain of Salvation: 2014 North American Tour..might MINNESOTA get ADDED?

I heard good word they were going to be MAKING UP the concert they had to cancel back in May 2013 (per Daniel's illness, not the same one..the flesh-eating bacteria that caused him to miss Progressive Nation at Sea mind you).

But maybe not? or maybe they could add another date or 2 still?

I should add though, I have seen them 3 Times, 3 of the greatest concerts I've ever seen. My hopes for them to play in Minnesota and see them have maybe more to do with for OTHER FANS, more than myself. I still would like to see them, even with the changes in lineup and their recent music being a bit different.

But so be it. If more info comes about more dates, etc. I'll bump this of course.

The complete Remedy Lane at ProgPowerUSA would be great to see, although more so with the guys on the album I suppose, but so be it. I just am not looking to put $600 or more for it compared to using on other more practical (or relationship related?) ways to use however disposable some of that money for myself may be.

But I would go for a DVD or live album of it. And I hope those who go enjoy it thoroughly, as well as this tour.

But maybe this tour will at least give them motivation to do another tour (with some other more regularly touring European bands?..Alcest perhaps?) that will include Minnesota finally, if a date here is not in fact added from now til the start of the tour.


PAIN OF SALVATION is ready to return to North America for a full continental tour beginning September 10th in Atlanta, GA. The band will cover a good portion of the United States and also play a couple of shows in Canada and Mexico. Oklahoma-based VANGOUGH has been chosen as direct support for the tour. A complete list of dates can be found below.

2014 began as a troublesome year for PAIN OF SALVATION with mastermind Daniel Gildenlow being hospitalized due to a serious flesh-eating bacteria infection that kept him in the hospital for months. Because of it, Daniel was forced to miss the band’s performances at the renowned Progressive Nation at Sea cruise. With the worst behind him, the band regrouped and his resurrection came last month, with a performance at Sweden Rock festival, the first since the illness.

Daniel comments, “It feels great to be back on stage. I couldn’t recall the last time I felt so nervous before a gig, but it was pure magic to explode on stage with the others in the band after these hard months. I’m back. We’re back, and we’re coming with a vengeance to North America this September!”

The North American tour sees the band playing two very special shows in Atlanta, GA, during the ProgPower USA festival, including a once-in-a-lifetime performance of the band’s magnum opus album “Remedy Lane” in its entirety.

PAIN OF SALVATION are currently working on their upcoming release through InsideOut, entitled “Falling Home”. More details will become available very soon. In the meantime, catch them on tour in North America with VANGOUGH.

PAIN OF SALVATION North American Tour:

9/10: Atlanta, GA @ The Loft (Midweek Mayhem @ ProgPower USA)
9/13: Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage (ProgPower USA)
9/14: Springfield, VA @ Empire
9/16: Dunellen, NJ @ Roxy and Dukes
9/17: Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
9/18: New York, NY @ The Marlin Room at Webster Hall
9/19: Montreal, QC @ Theatre Plaza
9/20: Toronto ON @ Coda
9/21: Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
9/24: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
9/26: Las Vegas, NV @ Cheyenne Saloon
9/27: Ramona, CA @ Ramona Mainstage
9/28: Whittier, CA @ The Center Theatre
9/30: Mexico City, MX @ Jose Cuervo Salon

Markéta Irglová - Muna (2014)

I am a fan of The Swell Season and the music from Once (and the film of course)mand probably enjoyed her debut record from 2011 Anar, more than I expected. It is a very dynamic, gentle, melodic (at least in subtle ways) record, that I probably enjoyed it nearly as much as the stuff she's done with Glen Hansard.

I honestly didn't know about this record until seeing her announce a concert at The Cedar Cultural Center the other day.

A new song "This Right Here" is below, which is odd noticing how it is the last track on this record, which is kind of unusual to share initially, but so be it, nice piece.

This record drops on September 22nd/23rd.

1 Point of Creation
2 Time Immemorial
3 The Leading Bird
4 Fortune Teller
5 Without a Map
6 Remember Who You Are
7 Mary
8 Phoenix
9 Seasons Change
10 Gabriel
11 This Right Here

RX Bandits - Gemini, Her Majesty [2014]

7/12/14 10:13AM

This band came back in 2013 with a cover of King Crimson track 21st Century Schizoid Man, after a hiatus/breakup a few years ago (2011).

With the help of a Pledgemusic Campaign, they have not made a new record. The 1st song "Meow! Meow! Space Tiger" sounds pretty sweet and is streaming below.

This record is only 10 days from being released as it's listed as coming out on July 22nd.

Tour with The Dear Hunter (which started last night), No Minneapolis of course :\

RX Bandits 2014 Tour Dates:
07/11 – St. Petersburg, FL @ State Theatre
07/12 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
07/13 – Jacksonville, FL @ Underbelly
07/14 – Orlando, FL @ The Beacham
07/16 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
07/17 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theater
07/18 – Springfield, VA @ Empire
07/19 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
07/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
07/22 – New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
07/23 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
07/25 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theater
07/26 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
07/27 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
07/28 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Ballroom
07/30 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
08/01 – Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall
08/02 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Club Sound
08/04 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
08/05 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
08/07 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
08/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
08/10 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
08/11 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
08/13 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
08/15 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s East
08/16 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey
08/17 – Houston, TX @ The Studio at Warehouse Live

Friday, July 11, 2014

Adebisi Shank - This is the Third Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank (2014)

7/11/14 10:35PM

I have posted about this UK-based instrumental energetic Math/Post/Prog band of a kind. I really got into their debut LP in 2008 I recall/ The constant energy on that somewhat short (30 minutes?) debut record was off the charts. It almost was like workout music or something.

I recall the follow-up their 2nd album of aptly titled "This Is the 2nd Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank" I remember liking somewhat, but didn't find as addictive. Some people compared it to sounding almost too much like the band Battles. I guess I don't recall that so much, as it didn't quite have that amazing energy anfd flow that the 1st album did.

That being said, I actually rated it at 4-stars on, so I must have liked a fair amount of it regardless.

Anyway, this record drops on August 12th. There's some of it to stream already plus a humorous teaser of sorts.

This is the Third Album of a band called Adebisi Shank PRE-ORDER

1. World in Harmony
2. Big Unit 04:35
3. Turnaround
4. Mazel Tov
5. Thundertruth
6. Sensation
7. Chaos Emeralds
8. Voodoo Vision 06:00
9. (trio always)

Preorder Link

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Put Down the Muffin - Charged Particles (2014)

I think I posted something earlier this year or late in 2013 when they launched their Kickstarter campaign, which ended up being successful obviously since this album was just printed and I received a copy in the mail just a day ago.

Put Down the Muffin I 1st heard on KBEM radio in Minneapolis, one afternoon driving home from work like in 2007 or 2008. They were playing live, being interviewed, and promoting a concert they had coming up etc. I remember the DJ asked them about progressive rock and who their favorite band was and one of the members says "well I could lie and say something like Soft Machine, haha, but I'll admit, it's Rush."

Anyway, they kind of disappeared after that point, and I meant to see them live and never was able to. That is why seeing their return of sorts recently online and then this album was kind of a big deal to me.

I have now listened to it twice and I can say I am certainly enjoying a lot of it. Stylistically, they are a jazz fusion group of a kind, but on this record, they go into some other genres to a point as well. I suppose 1 band I was reminded of at times was Tangled Thoughts of Leaving. Their use of keys and synths as not only for atmosphere, but actually a lead melody of a kind.

There are not really vocals exactly, but on 1 or 2 tracks there are what sounds like vocal lines, played backwards. "Limbic Fever" which I probably would say is my favorite track overall. The synth melody is kind of dreamy and ethereal, almost like Minus the Bear or something.

To mention some others: Aqua McGreen, Bed Foil, Arab Baker, Einstein Was Wrong and Mr.Potts all stood out in different ways. The 1st part of this album does resemble some classic Jazz Rock like Return to Forever or Weather Report. But as it goes on, it seems they do show the variety of styles they include.

I suppose you could call these kind of a hodgepodge of mostly instrumental Jazz-Rock incorporating Post-Rock, soundtrack-like textures and emphasizing synths and piano at times. Now, they still do use guitar quite a bit, even on some tracks as an equally lead instrument. But it does sound like they may use more than 1 keyboard or synth texture as there is a variety on this album. At times it almost resembles like Circus music or something.

I do also dig the way they use samples (something I totally love when used well).

One of the better local and instrumental records from 2014 certainly, and a record I look to spend more time with certainly the rest of this year/season.

This album doesn't appear to be available yet unless you backed their Kickstarter. But given they have a Bandcamp page

I wouldn't be surprised to see it up for sale there soon among other spots (Amazon, CDBaby, etc).

Put Down the Muffin on Facebook

Photo: Hot off the presses!

1 Mr. Potts  5:23
2 Nightline News  4:02
3 Aqua McGreen  4:34
4 Hüba Güba  7:25
5 Claire the Loon 3:04
6 Oo˩          5:52
7 Bed Foil  4:10
8 Limbic Fever  6:30
9 Einstein Was Wrong 3:54
10 Temporary Fix 1:07
11 Arab Baker 3:54
12 Ten Miles to Waconia 5:48