Thursday, July 31, 2014

sElf - Super Fake Nice [EP]

7/31/14 5:57AM
On Jimmy Kimmel Live last night. Kind of doubt they'll blow up from this appearance, but stranger things have happened.

If only they could have played "Hey Hipster" that song is fucking gold in a lot of ways. Reminds me a bit of "I Hate Music" from The Reign of Kindo last year in that it basically exposes a group of people who are likely far too naive and full of themselves, they have absolutely no clue how repulsive they come off.

"We Are Portland, We Are Minneapolis. We Are Hipsters. Everyone Else Go Fuck Yourselves!"

In due time perhaps when a direct link is available I should pass it along, but just for now this song could easily be referring to/directed-at of course the Pitchfork, Citypages and 89.3 supporters (and even those entities themselves of course, among others). Yeah, they act like they have the greatest taste on the planet and you'll never even come close to be the tastemakers they are, lol.

So, the song is dedicated to them. They should hear it and realize how admirable they are, lol..

7/27/14 10:45AM

Cute and Funny cat video for the opening track "Runaway"

for better or for worse, this video is getting publicity as noted here on Yahoo. I wonder if they'll show it on Wednesday night on Kimmel?

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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Janelle Monáe: Electric Lady [Official Video]

Pretty cool, fun video. Not a grand concept or anything involving the whole ArchAndroid concept/story highly. But I do like how it is edited, seeing the likes of Kimbra, Esperanza Spalding and others.

The Electric Lady 8-track, hehe. And the almost retro look with the jacket and puffy hair (wig?).

Janelle coming a bit out of her shell (wardrobe/look/fashion wise).

The Return of Bubblemath: New track "The Sensual Con"

This new song "The Sensual Con" is pretty awesome.

It's been what seems like forever since their debut album Such Fine Particles of the Universe came out in 2002. And it's so odd to think bands like Brice Plays Drums and Lehto & Wright have been cruising along making albums in the years since among local Minnesota progressive rock. But I'll admit, from my generation and my radar, these guys were like the 1st actual "prog" band from Minnesota I found out about and got into.

And the progressive rock scene, really only like a year or two after that record came out, I often saw mention of them. What they might be up to, when the next album would be coming, etc. And there was belief and mention of it coming soon after Particles dropped in '02, especially given I had seen them play a lot of new songs live, so the material was there for sure.

But for budgetary constraints and obviously time, it just never happened. But at the same time, they never really broke up, just I suppose stopped playing live.

But maybe now, in 2014, they finally have found the time and money to finally record and release that music. This new song does sound like them, but certainly also sounds more polished from a production standpoint.

Honestly, I really haven't had many reservations about their next record, if/when it came out. Certainly I planned to check it out, and want to support them in any way I could. But this new song sounds maybe more intriguing than I would have expected. The instrumental passages are crazy good and even fun in a lot of ways. Very tight dynamics, and the layers of keys and drum tracks come at you left and right.

Fuck, I can't help now but be very intrigued by this record they may finally put out, whether it be in 2014, or if not, sometime in 2015.

Welcome back Bubblemath!

Bubblemath on Facebook

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Josh Benash - Stasis (2014)

1. And I'm Told 4:08
2. Soul Eyes 3:36
3. You Are Being Killed and We Do Not Care 0:59
4. For Two Weeks (You've Been Happy) 3:26
5. Will You Shine 3:11
6. Every Time I Close My Eyes All I Hear is Lil' Kim Screaming 0:47
 7. Your Word 3:19
8. Holy Holy Holy; Round and Round and Round 5:34

I wanted to wait and give this album another listening or two before going into *initial* detail, but what the hell, my schedule is so screwed up and unreliable with time, I'll go ahead and do it now.

This album is being released on August 12th (Facebook), but I was lucky enough to be sent a copy early to review.

Josh Benash, who is known for not only his debut LP from 2012 The Dismal; The Beautiful , but also his great current band Vuvuzela and awesome ex-band Kiss Kiss, is back again with another crazy collection of tunes.

Some of my early favorites are "And I'm Told,"  "Soul Eyes" and especially "For Two Weeks (You've Been Happy)." That track is odd with the tempo and the way Josh goes from his sort of Alfalfa-style falsetto (in a good/charming way), to his deeper contrasting vocals. But it leads to some really nice, simplistic, dreamy sections that even leave an ear-worm that if it doesn't appeal to you right away, may grow on you. And I can't help but like and relate in a lot of ways to the line "All I Want to doooooooo, is WATCH MY TV!!!"

Electronics, layers of vocal chanting, ambient textures, manipulated speeds of vocal recording, quirky, humorous twists and dynamic mood changes happen throughout this album.

There's a fair amount of dreamy, almost hypnotic moments. There's also a bit of acoustic sections, even what may be harp which I probably think of Vuvuzela for of course.

I am getting a sense of maturity and less-is-more from this album. Although every record Josh seems to make is of the shorter length, but I guess given how much I found The Dismal; The Beautiful more hit and miss, this record seems to last almost the right length and I am getting the sense it's best heard all at once.

"Stasis" I suspect refers to being under stasis as a medical stasis. So, perhaps Josh wrote some if not all of the music here from the perspective of someone whose hospitalized or at least is more or less confined to being in one place, perhaps indefinitely. Which sounds potentially horrifying or at least sad potentially. But, with Josh's dark almost black sense of humor, it doesn't come across so bleak.

It's odd how with each thing Josh does, he seems to do new different things, yet still remind you its him.

This album is about 1/3 more straight forward songs, and maybe 1/3 more slow tempo, atmospheric mood pieces and 1/3 of his odd quirky numbers. But it still is rather cohesive.

I would say it's only issue could be it leaves me wanting more or even just rather curious what may come in the future from Josh. He has consistently impressed me, which is why I still regard him as one of my favorite songwriters actively writing and making music currently.

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 well 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 album.

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, incredibly dark, technical record. The production is pristine. The vocals from Erik 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

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sir Video - Light Years [EP] (2014)

7/7/14 10:01PM

pretty sweet EP. Not a bad track. The 3 unheard songs are all strong, synthy, catchy and dance-able.

6/22/14 10:37AM

From Facebook

After several false starts, we are FINALLY officially launching Sir Video this summer! We'll have news on our debut live show and some details on the full-length album soon, but we really wanted to share some music with you ASAP. So without further ado, we're very excited to announce the first official release from Sir Video, the 7-track "Light Years EP" available on 7.7.14!

Produced by multi-platinum producer/engineer Kenny Gioia and myself over the last couple years on both coasts, the EP features 6 songs - including guest appearances from my old pal Tom Brislin (Yes, Meat LoafDebbie HarryRenaissanceSpiraling) on talk-box synth, and Jessica Childress(Vaud And The Villains, Team Usher on Season 4 of NBC's The Voice) singing her ass off on "(Oh No!) They're On The Radio" - and a bonus acoustic version of the song Light Years rounding out the 7-track EP. The EP will be released on iTunesSpotifyAmazon Music, and all other digital download retailers on 7/7, but if you pre-order now at, you can download the title track immediately, exclusively through Bandcamp!

I can't wait to share all the plans we have in the works for the next few months and beyond, but in the meantime, I hope you all enjoy this first collection of songs on the "Light Years EP"!

All The Best!
-Timmy Sean & Co.

Light Years EP cover art

1. (Oh No!) They're On The Radio - feat. Jessica Childress
2. Take My Breath Away
3. She's A Killer
4. Light Years
5. Do What You Wanna
6. Never Knew
7. Light Years - Acoustic Version (bonus track)

Interesting of the 3 2013 singles: "On an On," "Do What You Wanna," and "Never Knew,"... "Never Knew" and "Do What You Wanna" made it onto this. I am of course looking forward to this, as the title track is pretty sweet and available stream and download with the pre-order as the write-up says, which comes out on July 7th.

I am curious if the full-length record may come later this year or next year. Or, maybe this continues the trend of a kind of cost-efficient/time-efficient releases of singles and EPs.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Opeth - Pale Communion (2014)

7/1/14 8:11PM

Another new track "Eternal Rains Will Come."

5/27/14 8:08PM-11:52PM

apparently this is real. Even more of a departure from Heritage?

edit: PULLED not surprised. I'm sure another link or 2 will surface (of course the RR reps will try and report those, and eventually give up if enough of them are put up, and not necessarily on YouTube).

edit 2: back, even with the low bitrate. A link on Reddit has a link with a much better sounding rip, but for those looking, use Google.

Photo: It's been out there on the web for a few days already but here's the official announcement for the new album cover of 'Pale Communion'. Once again done by the fantastic Travis Smith with art direction by Mike.

Also, don't forget that album pre-orders will be up on Roadrunner's web store and on Opeth's official merch store on ( next week Friday, June 3rd!

Preorders available Tuesday June 3rd

Sorry for lack of updates. This album has been pushed back until August 26th (I know it's old news, but still worth including with the artwork and news now).

5/27/14 8:00PM

June 17th, 1st single May 6th. Steven Wilson is mixing (and singing some harmonies).

edit: From Steven Wilson on FB

For the first part of the year I’ve been doing a lot of mixing work for other artists, something I always find very inspiring.

The new Opeth album Pale Communion was mixed into stereo and 5.1 at my studio in February. I also sang harmony vocals. It’s by no stretch of the imagination a metal record but it’s still plenty heavy and a great piece of work - for me the epic orchestrated ballad “Faith in Others” that closes the album is Mikael Åkerfeldt's finest achievement to date. Pale Communion is released by Roadrunner Records on 17th June. It’s also the first Opeth album to be recorded and mixed in higher resolution 96/24. I hope Roadrunner will release a high res format, but I don't know their plans on that.

At the start of the year I mixed the new solo album by my long term friend and collaborator Tim Bowness. Abandoned Dancehall Dreams mainly consists of songs Tim wrote with a no-man record in mind, and was recorded with members of the touring band, so the material definitely has that DNA. The album is released by Inside Out Music on 23rd June.

Other mixes I have done recently are 4 songs on the forthcoming ANATHEMA - official band page album Distant Satellites, released by Kscope on 9th June, and one song on John Wesley’s fantastic new album Disconnect, which was just released by InsideOut. 

From here on I'm focusing on writing more material for my next album, which I plan to record with my band in the Summer. More news soon…

Opeth has announced the release of their hugely anticipated eleventh studio album. Pale Communion arrives everywhere June 17.

Pale Communion, which was produced by bandleader Mikael Åkerfeldt and mixed by longtime collaborator and Porcupine Tree frontman/guitarist Steven Wilson, will be heralded by the lead single, “Cusp of Eternity,” and available for pre-order starting Tuesday, May 6. Pre-orders made via the iTunes Store will receive an instant download of “Cusp of Eternity,” with multiple configurations also available via both the Roadrunner Records Webstore and O Merch.

The new material finds Opeth once again challenging the boundaries of extreme music. In a recent interview with VICE’s Noisey, Åkerfeldt stated, “I wanted to do something more melodic with this album…there’s stronger vocal melodies and more melodies overall…I was pretty consistent with that frame of mind throughout the writing process.” Recently, Metal Injection’s Greg Kennelty broke down Pale Communion in a track-by-track review, exclaiming, “This record knows exactly what it's doing and nails it through and through…one of my favorite records of 2014. If not my favorite record of 2014.”

The track listing for Pale Communion is as follows:

1. Eternal Rains Will Come
2. Cusp of Eternity
3. Moon Above, Sun Below
4. Elysian Woes
5. Goblin
6. River
7. Voice of Treason
8. Faith in Others

Previously posted info about it