Monday, December 28, 2015

PROG Magazine Top 100 Prog Artists of All-Time (per Subscribers Votes I guess)

I saw this list on here
yesterday. And while there are countless amounts of lists on many sites and magazines, for whatever reason, readers, including people into progressive rock, gravitate towards them. I'll confess, I do enjoy looking at them and then criticizing them.

Given my lunch break is about up, I don't have the time right now to write-out a detailed commentary and give what I would include instead, or makeup my own, lol.

Maybe/probably later time permitting..

3-Pink Floyd
4-King Crimson
7-Jethro Tull
8-Steven Wilson
10-Gentle Giant
11-Dream Theater
13-Vander Graaf Generator
15-Porcupine Tree
17-Peter Gabriel
18-Frank Zappa
21-Kate Bush
24-Big Big Train
28-Steve Hackett
29-Spocks Beard
30-Moody Blues
31-Soft Machine
33-Flower Kings
37-Neal Morse
38-Thinking Plague
42-The Enid
43-Henry Cow
44-Mike Oldfield
45-Pain Of Salvation
48-Brian Eno
51-Robert Fripp
52-Alan Parsons Project
53-Peter Hammill
54-Rick Wakeman
55-Arjen Lucassen
56-Mahavishnu Orchestra
59-Roger Waters
62-Tangerine Dream
63-The Nice
71-The Mars Volta
74-Devin Townsend
76-Steve Hogarth
77-The Plastic People Of The Universe
78-Mostly Autumn
79-Sigur Ros
80-The Beatles
85-Ne Obliviscaris
86-Public Service Broadcasting
87-Robert Wyatt
88-Sanguine Hum
89-William D Drake
91-Dave Stewart
94-Grateful Dead
95-It Bites
96-Ian Anderson
99-And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
100-Amon Duul II

Friday, December 25, 2015

Random Artist Feature Video: Dream Theater (Part 1)

So after a failed 1st attempt at this, I made the 1st part of the Dream Theater video. It came out okay, save for a couple of issues, maybe 1st being my right arm is cutoff at times, along with some of the records I was showing.

It's not the 1st time this has happened to me, but after having made another video like this, and not having the time/energy and desire to make another video talking about the same things again, I don't have enough issues with how this came out, to go ahead and  to try to make it again, at this point.

Also per the notes on YouTube:

-The song I meant to say off "The Dark Side of the Moon" is "The Great Gig in the Sky" I believe.

-The movie I couldn't think of with Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder is "Girl Interrupted"

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top 10 Lists Wont Do: Kevin Gilbert Songs

Kevin Gilbert, my favorite musician of all time. The odds WatchMojo ever even mentioning his name on any list are about as good of a chance I end up playing some of his music on 89.3 The Current.

They may some day do a Jeff Buckley Top 10 songs, although that kind of seems silly since Jeff only had 1 official album in Grace, but he has a ton of other unreleased songs, live tracks, and of course the double LP of demos on Sketches (For My Sweetheart the Drunk).

But Kevin and his many projects, that spanned about 11 years while he was alive, and approaching 20 years since he died, that a ton of which has been released posthumously (I count 5 releases that are studio, including the 2015 Thud Deluxe/Anniversary), has a plethora of music that was just in those official releases; per a Top 10 and Honorable Mentions for him wouldn't be all that difficult to do. And that's not even including some of the covers, namely the Genesis ones from ProgFest 1994 which was officially released as well.

And there's of course a lot of stuff that still has not been released, although with the Nuts, Bolts and Deluxe Thud, a lot of that stuff now has come out, but given how prolific he was recording, every year, month, week, day, I still suspect there's more that could come.

But other than 1 selection on this list, I chose just to focus on the studio releases from his different work. And of course this is like splitting hairs in ranking, as I could easily stick more than half of the Honorable Mentions below in the Top 10 (or 11 as I took a liberty). In other words, take every track I chose, and even throw in another 10-20 others, and throw them in a hat and pick any of those 10 and I would have no problem with those being included and ranked in whatever order for the most part.

But I will say, #1 really is the song that made me become a huge fan. I knew his name, some of his story and even some of his music before 2004, but it was that Summer or early Fall where I fell head over heals and found his music to call to me. And it has ever since.

Blurbs? not now, or maybe not ever really. I dunno. I may at some point, or maybe do a YouTube video for them. I think the songs speak enough for themselves, so much, I doubt anything specific right now I could write, would add more to them initially.

But maybe down the road I can try and find the time to..I may do the previously mentioned Jeff Buckley though with a slightly different Entry title, lol.

10. Because of You from The Power of Suggestion, 1987

9b. Goodness Gracious from Thud, 1994

9b. Water Under the Bridge from The Shaming of the True, 2000

8. Air Dance from A View From Here, 1988

7. Finally Over You from Nuts, 2009

6. Things She Said from Toy Matinee, 1990

5. Best Laid Plans from The Shaming of the True, 2000

4. Imagemaker from The Shaming of the True, 2000

3. Tired Old Man (Puppet Suite) unreleased, 1984-85?

2. Home/Progress from The View From Here, 1988

Honorable Mentions:
The Ballad of Jenny Ledge (Toy Matinee, 1990)
Turn it On Salvador (Toy Matinee, 1990)
There Was a Little Boy (Toy Matinee, 1990)
Queen of Misery (Toy Matinee, 1990)
City of the Sun (The Shaming of the True, 2000)
Long Day's Life (The Shaming of the True, 2000)
Staring Into Nothing (The Shaming of the True, 2000)
Suit Fugue (Dance of the A and R Men) (The Shaming of the True, 2000)
Shrug (Because of Me and You) (Thud, 1994)
Joytown (Thud, 1994)
Shadow Self (Thud, 1994)
Waiting (Thud, 1994)
Welcome to Suburbia (No Reasons Given, 1985)
When Strangers Part (No Reasons Given, 1985)
From Here to There (The Shaming of the True, 2000)
The Sultan of Brunei (The Kaviar Sessions, 2002)
Indian Burn (The Kaviar Sessions, 2002)
This Warm Night (The Power of Suggestion, 1987)
The World Just Gets Smaller (The Power of Suggestion, 1987)
Kashmir (Led Zeppelin, Kashmir EP 1995)
Childhood's End (Nuts, 2009)
The Best of Everything (Bolts, 2009)
Big Heart (Thud Remaster/Anniversary Edition, 2015)
Until I Get Her Back (Demo) (Thud Remaster/Anniversary Edition, 2015)

1. Last Plane Out from Toy Matinee, 1990

Friday, December 18, 2015

Random Artist Feature Video: FATES WARNING (16 minutes)

So obviously time permitting, I am trying to do something new with my YouTube channel. I sort of did it with Subterranean Masquerade earlier this year when I made a video for them and featured their new album The Great Bazaar.

And even some of the collection videos like my Marillion Collection video I made, which covered a lot of ground, but still wasn't covering all the history/my history, etc.

So this new video I just made covers for the most part My History and THE history of Fates Warning, vaguely.

Of course a band like Fates Warning, who have 11 studio albums, to cover every album in detail, and also include John Arch's stuff, would take a lot more than even the 16 minutes this video was made in.

So, what I may at some point do is do individual videos or Reduxes that are more in-depth. But for now, this is how I'm going to try and make these.

They may be artists with small catalogs, or artists, with 1 album (Apes and Androids or The Stilletto Formal?) or artists with large discographies.

Or I may just go random into just 1 album in-depth, or the whole Retro Favorites historical calendar year thing. I dunno, but the random-ness part of it makes it kind of fun.

I mentioned dredg, Oceansize and The Dear Hunter, but I may not get to them next as Downfall already commented with a request for Dream Theater, who actually someone else asked me to do the same thing a couple of months ago, so I may just do it.

As for the actual video, it came out well, except for some stuff like getting the drummer's name wrong and not having all of my collection to show exactly. That and some notes that were a little out of order. But as I know, the more you do this stuff, the more you learn and try and improve them.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2016 Rock Hall Class includes Deep Purple and should have had YES

Deep Purple
Steve Miller (and not The Steve Miller Band?)
Cheap Trick

Eddie Trunk's Twitter post

Hearing the RandR HOF inductees for 2016 are Chicago, , Deep Purple, NWA, Steve Miller. Officially announced tonight/tomorrow

this is not official of course, but Future Rock Legends just included

Additional Inductees still to come...

but that more than likely is referring to stuff like "Early Influence" and "Musical Excellence" instead of the "Performer" category which the 5 listed are included for (and voted on).

Yes did not make it, as I actually predicted back in back in October
although I did not guess the Chicago interest, especially ahead of Yes.

I am quite happy to see Deep Purple finally get in, as I am a fan, and I've seen them live twice. And they have been LONG OVERDUE, but that speaks as much about the Rock Hall process, as much as whether they would merit being inducted (Metallica even mentioned them not being in, in their induction speech in 2009).

See 55 seconds-in

Now who they induct from Deep Purple (and Chicago as well), is a whole other can of worms and could turn into a huge drama-fest. Steve Morse is unlikely, so might be Joe Lynn Turner, David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes and Tommy Bolin possibly as well.

This new interview with drummer Ian Paice kind of dramatizes it up somewhat, but may at least still raise some valid concerns. The Kiss thing from a couple of years ago might seem tame. DP may not agree, like Kiss, to actually perform, which would suck, but we'll see in April.

But at least Deep Purple now are finally in thank freaking gawd. But Yes? I'd be lying if them getting in wouldn't mean a ton more to me, than even Deep Purple. And as evidenced below, they finished 2nd in the Fans vote (narrowly ahead of 3rd-5th) , which while the top vote-getter since the Fans Vote began has I guess always got in, usually most of the top 5 get in, but both Yes and The Cars didn't get in. Deep Purple and Steve Miller did though,

Chris Squire's death, like Jon Lord's for Purple a few years back, didn't mean enough to the voters I guess to vote for Yes ahead of some like Cheap Trick, Steve Miller, Chicago, and N.W.A.

And N.W.A. of course finished way down on that poll, but must have done considerably better with the 800+ other individual voters. Which I think their induction seems almost entirely based on that Biopic that just came out earlier this year.

And I'll confess, N.W.A. I did like back in the day when I was a youth. But they have no business getting in ahead of many of the names on the ballot this year, including Yes.

But whatevah..I'll be curious to see what some of the press releases say tomorrow and I suppose those "Musical Excellence" and "Early Influence" inductees happen to be.

But as I said in that entry I wrote back in October, their whole voting and nomination process and system really needs to change. 30 nominees, 15 inductees + a veterans committee; and the fans get 1/3 of the vote and 1/3 or more of a say on who gets nominated.

Otherwise the likes of Yes, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, ELP, Kansas, and King Crimson will never end up getting in (among many other 70's bands alone...I'd add Iron Maiden and Judas Priest as well), for what it actually is worth (which it shouldn't be much, but the ranting itself I suppose is worth something I suppose, lol).

Chicago 23.41%
Yes 16.20%
The Cars 16.14%
Deep Purple 15.87%
Steve Miller 15.85%
Janet Jackson 5.88%
Cheap Trick 1.45%
The Spinners 1.28%
Chaka Khan 1.16%
Chic 0.84%
The J.B.'s 0.59%
N.W.A. 0.42%
Nine Inch Nails 0.35%
The Smiths 0.30%
Los Lobos 0.25%

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Videos: 2014-2015 Albums of the Year and KG's Shaming BOOK

Not spectacular, but at least both in reasonable length.

Playlist Subbing for Modern Kicks 12/16/15

Here's my playlist from last night/early this morning subbing for Modern Kicks on KFAI, and the link to hear it for the next 2 weeks (until 12/29/15 at 11:59PM CST)

It was just me as both Joyce and my friend John weren't able to join me.

As far as the show, 2 of the biggest issues being:

-Playing the Carts on the automated DDS system. The TIMES listed they are played, are either not clear, or are in Military Time. The problem is, when it says ":23" when you are doing a Midnight-2AM show, how am I to be clear if the ":23" means at 12:23 or 23 minutes after the hour, OR 23-seconds?

I have an idea next time to just play every cart on the board all at once, or even all at once in both hours, lol, but that could be months from now, so I hope I can remember it.

-I did BABBLE on a bit, which isn't unusual, and I have not checked it out yet; I may wait until I go back to work next week to. But I suspect I prattled on the diarhea-of-the-mouth train more than I'd prefer. However, it is kind of my personality, and the personality of this blog and my YouTube channel in a lot of ways.

I just wish I could find a way to make it not sound too diarhea-of-the-mouth, and still be able to include every footnote and what I see relevant factoid. A happy balance if you will. Hopefully in due time.

And there were 1 or 2 snafoos just with dead air, and I'm not certain about the levels on the background music, until I listen to the stream, namely with headphones.

But the playlist is by my accounts, still pretty good. I still mean to do at least 1-hour if not an entire show of all Epics; hopefully at a future show, maybe in 2016.

That and the fact I quite likely will be doing a special Wave Project in June for my 40th Birthday. I just need to hear back from the Wave Project people soon. Maybe I'll try and get in touch with them in the coming weeks just to see where they may be at with my application.

"Save Link As" or Click to Stream under "Modern Kicks 12/16/15"

Shadow Gallery/Christmas Day/Tyranny/Magna Carta Records
Marillion/Carol of the Bells/Racket Records
Anathallo/A Holiday at Sea/Anathallogy/Artist Friendship
Timbre/O Come Emanuel/Silent Night
Brooke Waggoner/Ovenbird/Sweven/Swoon Moon Music
Falling Up/In the Woodshop/Falling Up
Anakdota/Girl Next Door
Subterranean Masquerade/Tour Diary/The Great Bazaar/Taklit Music
Native Construct/Mute/Quiet World/Metal Blade Records
The Faceless/The Spiraling Void/Summerian Records
Gatherer/High Fives/Heavy Hail/Red Tape Records
dredg/Hungover on a Tuesday/Catch Without Arms/Interscope
The Woods Brothers/Terra Firma/The Woods Brothers
The Dear Hunter/This Old Haunt/Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise/Equal Vision Records
The Dear Hunter/Waves/Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise/Equal Vision Records
XTC/King for a Day/Oranges and Lemons/Geffen
Pretty and Nice/Stallion & Mare/Golden Rules for Golden People/Equal Vision Records
Bullet Height/Bastion/Superball Music
The Pneumatic Transit/Lioness/Concerto for Double Moon

The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra/Various Clips from Tracks off "Earthlift"/Loud Folk Records

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Falling Up - In the Woodshop [Official Video]

Great tune, and nice video. The ending kind of references Excalibur and King Arthur I suppose, but in a neat way. That and sort of Where the Wild Things Are or Chronicles of Narnia in the whole wandering off into a portal or wormhole in the woods, etc.

But that very much fits a lot of what Falling Up and Jessy Ribordy is about at times.

Blackfield News: 5th LP Info

A couple of updates about their next record, which I suppose if Steven Wilson is more involved than on Welcome to My DNA or Blackfield IV, that could be a good thing. Those last 2 albums were honestly pretty forgettable; but the 1st 2 records are terrific.

And having Alan Parsons involved, along with being at Trevor Horn's studio are at least notable.

But it seems their next record could be coming in 2016.

Blackfield on Facebook

It was a good week.
I was recording with Steven some more new songs for the Blackfield 5th album.
Sounds promising.
I would like to thank Trevor Horn who gave us his home studio.


Blackfield 5 updates
Hi to all our fans.It’s been a while…
We currently working on our 5th album.
Next week me and Steven are about to get in the studio again
and continue recording some more new tunes in London.
This album produced by Alan Parsons.
Tomer Z- Drums
Eran Mitelman - Piano,keys
Steven Wilson - Guitars,Vocals
Aviv Geffen - Guitars,Keys,Pianos,Vocals
Alan Parsons - Guitars,Keys,Vocals
More info to follow soon.
Aviv Geffen

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bullet Height: Jon Courtney (ex-Pure Reason Revolution)

This sounds pretty good. Kind of PRR-like in some ways, with a bit of an electronic/industrial slant.

On Superball Music too.

While a PRR reunion may happen someday, the time table on that is unclear, but between this band from Jon Courtney and Chloe Alper's project Tiny Giant, the members are at least doing music again, and music I'm enjoying at initially.

Sammi Doll, the female singer I guess has played with the band IAMX.
Bullet Height on Facebook

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Top 10 List Will Not Make: Top 10 Marillion Songs

What the hell, why not?

I'm not going to write any long or short blurbs for these right now (and unlikely later, but I suppose I wouldn't rule it out).

I've just been in a Marillion-mood this week with the NA tour announcement. And I was just scanning over some drafted entries I never did and just in the last 30 minutes, figured why not.

This hardly is an exact order or a definitive list of course. I mean I didn't even include anything from Brave nor some other albums I love. And I am taking a liberty or 2 with the Suites and in the case of Misplaced Childhood, I consider the whole record as 1 Suite or 1 Song.

That being the case, that Honorable Mention list, like many lists, is filled with songs that I easily could put in here.

I also think it's ironic how with Marillion, WMJ will likely never do this or any list, possibly even including them. Yet, WMJ are based in Montreal, QC, where the bi-annual? Marillion Fan Weekends are held, lol. Even as obscure/underground as I'm sure they are within the media in Montreal. It's still a little ironic, sort of how Opeth never ends up on their lists, yet interviewed Mikael Akerfeldt once I think.

As for #1, well I adore it, even if so many accuse it of borrowing/ripping off, etc a more well known track from an obviously more well known band (that Marillion were obviously influenced by).

10. Misplaced Childhood from Misplaced Childhood (1985)

9. Hotel Hobbies/Warm Wet Circles/That Time of the Night from Clutching at Straws (1987)

8. A Few Words for the Dead from Radiation (1998)

7. This Town/The Rakes Progress/100 Nights from Holidays In Eden (1991)

6. Berlin from Seasons End (1989)

5. Interior Lulu from (1999)

 4. Ocean Cloud from Marbles (Delux Campaign Edition, 2004)

3. Afraid of Sunlight from Afraid of Sunlight (1995)

2. The Invisible Man from Marbles (2004)

Honorable Mentions:
Slainte Mhath from Clutching at Straws
Seasons End from Seasons End
Easter from Seasons End
Fugazi from Fugazi
Script for a Jester's Tear from Script for a Jester's Tear
Garden Party from Script for a Jester's Tear
Hard as Love from Brave
Runaway from Brave
The Great Escape from Brave
The Party from Holidays in Eden
This Strange Engine from This Strange Engine
Quartz from Anoraknophobia
Half Empty Jam from Happiness is the Road
Gazpacho from Afraid of the Sunlight
King from Afraid of Sunlight
These Chains from Radiation

1. Grendel from B'Sides Themselves (1988)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Marillion: 2016 October/November North American Tour

Oct 21 San Francisco, CA
Oct 22 Beverly Hills, CA
Oct 25 Denver, CO
Oct 27 Chicago, IL
Oct 28 Chicago, IL
Oct 29 Northfield, OH
Oct 31 Toronto, ON
Nov 1 Montreal, QC
Nov 2 Quebec
Nov 4 Boston, MA
Nov 5 Washington, DC
Nov 6 Glenside, PA
Nov 8 New York City, NY

Tickets Go On Sale on Friday 12/11/15

I'm happy obviously, but a bit sad to not even see Milwaukee on that list, which was certainly considered.

I likely will look to the 2 Chicago shows again, but hopefully this time they'll play a completely different set list (which back in 2012 I and many other anticipated, but didn't quite happen).

A little dicey though as my brother doesn't live there now, and I am not sure if the fiancee (and then Wife) will be up for even making the trip with me, knowing that 2 nights in a row she would be doing things on her own in Chicago, unless someone else were to come or we met up with there.

Then again, there are other cities including San Francisco which the fiancee and I have meant to go to and we may consider as part of our Honeymoon. But at the same time, I question whether she will be thrilled with even 1 night our Honeymoon, I'd be off seeing a concert while she had to find something else to do. But I also likely have family to see (and stay with possibly) in SF, so I guess some pros/cons and discussions will have to happen soon about this with her and I.

Neil Peart Retiring from drumming

Link 2
Link 3

 In a new interview with Drumhead Magazine (via Jambase),  “… Lately Olivia has been introducing me to new friends at school as ‘My dad– He’s a retired drummer.’ True to say–funny to hear. And it does not pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to… take yourself out of the game. I would rather set it aside then face the predicament described in our song ‘Losing It’ (‘Sadder still to watch it die, than never to have known it’).”

Peart behind a large drum set

I'm not sure how detailed I want to get with this, and actually how much I ultimately believe he is going completely Cold Turkey for the rest of his life ala Bill Bruford.

He may and Rush may finally be done in every capacity, but then again he may eventually want to do something with music and even Rush again, even if it's just a 1-off or in the studio at least. And that may be 5 or more years from now.

And Rush or at least Geddy and Alex I suspect will still do something musically, even just from what they said during this recent QandA they did with of all people, Michael Moore.

But obviously they will be done at some point as age and time does catch up with them. I actually kind of worried about this back when I 1st became a fan in the early 90's. So in a way, I've been anticipating the end of Rush for like 25 years.

And when the tragedies struck Neil in the late 90's, I kind of figured they were likely done for good, but what happened? they came back and made 3 albums and went on like a dozen tours.

So, only time will really tell.

Some talk/hope is if Geddy and Alex go out and play live, they'll ask some other friends to join them, perhaps Mike Portnoy would be one of them? Although I kind of wonder if the Foo Fighters guys would be involved as well (or instead) given how much they talk about them. Taylor Hawkins I guess could also be someone who'd play drums with them.

But if/when it could happen, it certainly would not be Rush if anyone went out with them live on a tour or 1-off. But they would likely play some Rush tunes at least.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pretty & Nice - Golden Rules for Golden People (2013)

I've been meaning to post something about this band over the last week, but never got the chance to.
I was suggested this band Pretty and Nice by a new friend on who I've been suggesting music back and forth with.

He recommended this band to me after I was telling him about Apes and Androids. And I follow that to an extent, but actually there music reminds me more of sElf actually than Apes and Androids.

sElf and The New Pornographers, with a bit of a Post-Punk element sort of in the AandA's or Bloc Party vein at times. And I'm referring to just on this newest record of theirs Golden Rules For Golden People which was released in 2013.

They're also on Equal Vision Records, the same label The Dear Hunter is on, which makes me wonder if they'd ever get the chance to tour with them. Perhaps it will happen as they are based now in Boston (and originally from Vermont).

Definitely one of the best new bands I've discovered of late, and in the Power-Pop or experimental Pop style. This record is consistent track-2-track with really strong energy and melodies yet still having that quirky, left-of-center experimentation to it.

I want to now check out their other records of course, which they released 2 others previously. And I imagine since this dropped in 2013, Pretty and Nice could be coming out with something new soon, like in 2016 even.

edit: they also released an EP in 2014 titled Infinitely Forever which includes a couple of tracks on this record.

Into the Machine: Upcoming new Prog Rock Documentary Series

Quite curious about this. I hope they may take some suggestions.

Premieres on January 7th.

10cc: I'm Not In Love - The Story of 10cc [BBC Documentary]

Pretty good story, especially for someone like myself who honestly, has always meant to spend time with their music, but never fully has. A friend of mine has talked about them, and I've noticed some stuff per among other places of late about 10cc.

Plus they go back to a comparison when I 1st heard their name in 2006 when I was sharing some of House of Fools music with my friend, who said the music sounded like 10cc.

That and then recently Jellyfish were featured in PROG magazine, and I think it was Andy Sturmer who said 1 of the bands they grew up being inspired by was 10cc, which given his love for McCartney I can understand certainly.

Anyway, definitely recommended for casual fans, or of course the people who love them.

Now I need to check out The Original Soundtrack and Sheet Music as well as maybe some Godley and Creme stuff.

I had no clue about Graham Gouldman's songwriting credits and even the "The Game of Love" and those Yardbirds and Hollies tunes. Rush even covered "Heart Full of Soul" lol.

Friday, December 4, 2015

2014-2015 Albums Countdown

12//21/15 5:03PM

I know this was posted in another entry, but per people not finding it there, I'll double post the video I made here.

12/4/15 11:56PM


I didn't do a full-on Twitter-length blurb for all of these, but I did for a lot and it was for the most part easier.

But, and there's a number of paragraphs to be written about this year and even recently, not only from a musical standpoint, but just from a personal standpoint for me. But as I do want to put this up as soon as I can, I may have to spill out something longer and more detailed soon, maybe even this weekend. Kind of a 2014-2015 Afterthoughts I suppose.

But for now, I'll just say, this was a long year, and a good year for new music. I had a shit ton of things to deal with, that all the music I took in wasn't quite what I would prefer. And part of that was of course time.

But a lot of comebacks that were good to very good. Long awaited really, and the fact they came out in general meant as much to me in many cases as the actual albums themselves.

More to add hopefully soon..

Some I didn't check out yet, or did in spots, but never fully got to hear:

Sir Video - Young as the Night [EP]
Nile - What Should Not Be Unearthed
Spock's Beard - The Oblivion Particle
Duran Duran - Paper Gods
Stateless - Sixfold Symmetry
Brian Wilson - No Pier Pressure
Tangled Thoughts of Leaving - Yield to Despair
Torres - Sprinter
Jim O'Rourke - Simple Songs
Hidden Hospitals - Surface Tension
Nightingale - Retribution
Ne Obliviscaris - Hiraeth
Ne Obliviscaris - Saraband of Nihil
Timmy Sean - Songs of the Week

The Clements Session EP cover art
The Barnum Meserve - The Clements Session [EP]
Kamasi Washington - The Epic
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie and Lowell
Demians - Mercury
Eidola - Degeneraterra
Vola - Inmazes
The Helio Sequence - The Helio Sequence
Battles - La Di Da Di
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
AM and Shawn Lee - Outlines
Steve Hackett - Wolflight
Josh Rouse - The Embers of Time
Lost Lander - Medallion
Beardfish - 4626 Comfortzone
Author - Of Brighter Days
TesseracT - Polaris
Susanne Sundf0r - Ten Love Songs
Dan Mangan and Blacksmiths - Club Meds
Between the Buried and Me - Coma Ecliptic
Thomas Giles - Modern Noise
Hardcore Crayons - Zozzled
The Basics - The Age of Entitlement
David Gilmour - Rattle That Lock
The Decemberists - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
The Bird and the Bee - Recreational Love
Daniel Johns - Talk
Sweet Billy Pilgrim - Motorcade Amnesiacs
Umphrey's McGee - The London Session
Pink Floyd - The Endless River
The Night Flight Orchestra - Skyline Whispers
Scale the Summit - V
Other Lives - Rituals
False - Untitled
The Winery Dogs - Hot Streak
Tuxedo - Tuxedo
Caravan of Thieves - Kiss Kiss
Public Service Broadcasting - The Race for Space
Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel
Riverside - Love, Fear and the Time Machine
Danny Cavanagh - Memory and Meaning
Dead Letter Circus - Aethesis
God is an Astronaut - Helios / Erebus
Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your Weapon
Coheed and Cambria - The Color Before the Sun
Muse - Drones
Metal Allegiance - Metal Allegiance
SOAK - Before We Forgot How to Dream
Dave Kerzner - New World
Warpaint - No Way Out / I'll Start Believing
Refused - Freedom
Falling Up - House Full of Caverns [EP]
Motopony - Welcome You
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls
Faith No More - Sol Invictus
East of the Wall / Cryptodira - Split 7" [EP]
Madam Officer - Madam Officer [EP]
Signal-to-Noise - I Won't Let the World Become a Prison
Mercies - Blue Against Green
Ringo Sheena - Hiidzurutokoro

The Barnum Meserve cover art
The Barnum Meserve - The Barnum Meserve
Enjoyable debut album

Original Entry

The Velvet Teen - All is illusory
Great to see them release a new full-length after nearly a decade. It's like a mix of all their other records in one. Enjoy some of the textures and drum work especially.
Original Entry

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Thurisaz - The Pulse of Mourning

Enjoyable record, and maybe a little under-played at this point.  The chamber instrumentation and piano from memory adds something.

More from the Midseason Entry

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Punch Brothers - The Phosphorescent Blues

Another solid record from these guys with a couple of standout tracks.

More from the Midseason Entry

Tigran Hamasayan - Mockroot

Very impressive modern-sounding jazz-fusion record, which from looking at their history, adds to an impressive catalog. This guy should tour with Hiromi sometime. More from the Midseason Entry

Good Luck Have Fun is our fourth album. We recorded five new songs and an instrumental suite arranged from music we composed for a documentary about Starcraft and professional gaming. The album is out August 14, 2015. Listen to the album’s opening track via the link below. It’s called “Kid.”
Mother Falcon – Good Luck Have Fun

Another nice record from this Texas-based chamber rock/pop/folk band.  The 1st half I have enjoyed more each time I've listened to this album whereas the 7-part Starnation Suite on the 2nd side often seems greater than the sum of its parts.

A record I anticipate more out of in the future certainly, especially after I missed them live (after buying a ticket) per the death of my Grandmother the same week.

Original Entry

Prose cover art
Words for Penga - Prose

Great new Minnesota progressive/post heavy rock/metal band. Like East of the Wall with Darren from System of a Down singing. Very impressive debut LP with a lot of potential down the road. The sax tones add something unique about them.

I always thought there's a connection between "This Was Icarus Drowning" and the last track "Drown."

Fjokra - The Mellowsound Sessions [EP]

Absolutely adore this, much like I revere Thoughtsteps from 2014. This is all acoustic or stripped down tracks, including a cover of a John Grant tune. "Koi" still remains my favorite and absolutely breathtaking, tear-jerking tune along with the nostalgic, melacholic video images with it of people racing on ice skates, etc.

Fjokra has become a huge favorite of mine the last 2 years, and this EP is part of that. I cannot wait to hear what he and his band do next, which seems to be likely coming in 2016.

Original Entry

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Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase
Another quality record from Steven Wilson, this probably being the most overt and maybe moving concept record he's made (both solo and PT it seems). I guess I see it a little better than the sum of its parts, and even more moving live, with many of the videos. "Happy Returns" still gets me every time, and the title track still is too catchy to forget.

The Dreams of a Life  Joyce Carol Vincent story I think I may have been even more fascinated by

Original Entry

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Nordic Giants - A Seance of Dark Delusions

I enjoy a lot of this, like their previous 2 EPs. A somewhat unique blend of Post Rock with some different guest vocalists, using samples well. "Evolve or Parish" the one with the sample talking about needing to go into space may be my favorite.

Original Entry

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Native Construct - Quiet World
This debut album from Berklee College of Music Students is quite impressive and somewhat unique for progressive metal, a genre that doesn't lack in new artists, but does in bands who emphasize songwriting as much as technicality.

"Mute" "Passage" and the closing multi-part piece "Chromatic Aberration" are among my favorites. Great use of synths and varied impassioned vocals/vocal harmonies.

I suppose in some ways these guys are doing music like Between the Buried and Me that is grabbing me more than BTBAM newest music itself.

Original Entry

Archive - Restriction

Another engaging, moody, electronic and textured record from Archive.

Original Entry

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Miracles of Modern Science - Mean Dreams

Much like their last EP, many songs include those time/mood-shifting moments I look forward to.  The vocal harmonies standout especially.

Original Entry

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Hotel of the Laughing Tree - New World Sundown

The 2nd record from HOTLT, which is more song-oriented, but still rather engaging. More trumpet, catchy riffs and AJ Estrada's signature style of vocals. Favorites: "Brussels" "Aging Archimedes" and "Temple Arms."

Original Entry
Video Review Entry

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The Pneumatic Transit - Concerto for Double Moon

The review I wrote linked below kind of tells more or less my take on this album. But in a  nutshell, it's a very well composed and produced modern sounding instrumental jazz-rock record, featuring use of Cello and saxophone among other non-traditional rock instruments.

As an early King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra fan, this record really appeals to me.

Original Entry/Review

Gatherer - Heavy Hail

A different kind of record in a lot of ways, compared to their impressive debut So Be It from 2012, yet it still resembles their frantic, schizophrenic, in-your-face style. This record includes a lot of electronic textures that add atmosphere and density.

"High Fives" and "Sensational Creation" remain the catchiest or most memorable tracks, but overall, this record is another greater than the sum of its parts release. But I think it's a bit more moody than their last album.

Another enjoyable record from these guys, although one I probably could enjoy more with some time.

Original Entry

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Mew - + -

A 6 year gap since their last record, which overall I guess I find to be worth that wait, but I'll admit to being a bit of a fanboy.

"Rows" was initially and still is the biggest highlight on this album. After the show they played in Minneapolis in September I concluded it's 1 of their 5 best songs, at least on my list. The epic nature, different layers, textures and sad, emotional sections get me every time. Plus I love the percussion on it.

Other favorites being "Water Slides" "Satellites" "Clinging to a Bad Dream" and "Cross the River on Your Own."

Even having Kimbra guest appear added to the quality of this album.

But among their catalog? it's sort of in the middle. But another greater than the sum of its parts, and heavy on the dreamy moments, less heavy, rocking stuff save for "Witness" and "My Complications."

It was good to be a Mew fan in 2015. I just hope their next record comes sooner than another 6 years.

Original Entry

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Subterranean Masquerade - The Great Bazaar

Mew had a 6 year gap, but that seemed short compared to the 10-11 year gap for this sort of sideproject that has become a little more in 2015.

This is more prog metal than their debut record, but still in a good way. There still is the blend of clean and growling vocals from Paul Kuhr, and still many moments that have me turning my head.

"Tour Diary" "Blanket of Longing" and "Early Morning Mantra" probably still remain my favorites, but this record also works best heard all-at-once.

Original Entry
Video Review Entry

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Timbre - Sun and Moon

Epic and Ambitious record that Timbre spent nearly 5 years to make. A concept or story release that clocks in at 110 minutes being a double album.

"Night Girl: Nycteris Sees the Sun" still remains my favorite with the off-beat /playful interplayed section in the middle that goes all progressive rock that I'm a sucker for.

But I enjoy well over 3/4 of the music on this, and even the story, that its length and even the extended Choral vocals at points I have found add to its charm and sound/style.

Well worth all work and wait for Timbre, and I can say I'm happy to see a lot more interest in her music this year as a result. Namely per which I think this album is still in the Top 50 albums or so, which says something for such an underground and niche-style artist (despite the comparisons to Joanna Newsom).

Original Entry

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Everything Everything - Get to Heaven

It has become my favorite Everything Everything album. Excellent and consistent track-2-track. "To the Blade" still maybe is my favorite for its energy and riff, but I always love the energy on this album, especially the 1st 6 tracks.

A record that definitely has my mind taken to other parts at times like time travel or just being a misfit in some part of England or another country far from my home.

Improved vocals and vocal harmonies in a lot of ways too.

Original Entry

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The Dear Hunter - Act IV: Rebirth and Reprise

A comeback sort of, in the return to the Act Series. An epic record that resembles Act II, my favorite in many ways. "This Old Haunt" "King of Swords (Reversed)" are maybe my 2 favorites. But this is The Dear Hunter, most of their songs I enjoy for different reasons.

I have come to believe it deserves a lot of the praise it has received, although my fanboy bias and high standards for them probably prevents me from loving it more than some of their others.

But it also could be a grower years from now.

The Acts series are now getting through and I now picture Casey talking about all 6 acts and the whole story in the not so distant future from a musical and story standpoint.

'Waves" may be 1 of the most accessible tunes they've written i.e. for those uninitiated, it's not a bad place to start. "A Night on the Town" as well though. The callbacks, etc.

Also the influence of the work on the Symphony is clearly present on here, for the most part, in a good way. Even as methodical as it can cause it to seem at poiints.

Good long record.

Original Entry

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Foals - what Went Down

Consistently engaging and energetic record. It's odd how this album is probably become their most polarized as I know a lot of fans who found it boring and lacking what they love about Foals. But some like myself just find all the songs have moments to look forward to. Wall-of-sound guitar layers, dynamics, dreamy moments and melancholy points that all are worth looking forward to.

"Lonely Hunter" is the biggest track to me still as I get goose bumps every time I hear it. The line "It's a new day" I always think of it for.

Original Entry

Vennart - The Demon Joke
Wonderful return from Mike Vennart, after Oceansize's ending 5 years ago. "Doubt" remains my favorite track, but every song on this record is good and I never skip. "Operate" and "Infatuate" are 2 others I always love hearing.

I love the textures both on guitar and synths.

Closest thing to Oceansize since their breakup. Being that I love Oceansize, that is a really good thing. The sky only may be the limit for what Mike may do in the future, but for now, The Demon Joke is as impressive a a debut record I've ever heard.

Can't wait for British Theatre soon as well

Original Entry
Kaddisfly - Horses Galloping on Sailboats
This turned out to be everything I would have hoped for, beyond my #1 hope of it just finally being made and released.

I did revisit it again and I've come to conclude while it has a ton of things that I love so much about their other records, namely Set Sail the Prairie of course.

I guess how this is different though is many of the songs have their great moments and twists and turns, that i look forward to, but also many include attached sections that segue into the next song. A little like what The Dear Hunter has done at times.

That being said, I do love it and maybe even love the fact it came out finally after 8+ years. And the whole concept continues to grow on me, and bringing thoughts and images to my head. The Vinyl hasn't been released yet, but hopefully it will. And hopefully the lyrics will be included in it, as I haven't disciplined myself to read them more thoroughly.

But until then, I guess I will hold this record still on a very high pedestal. It has a ton of magical moments, from the synths and vocal harmonies, to the dynamics. "The Painter" I chose to play on KFAI last month, and it still remains the song with maybe my favorite moments with the pretty yet sad, melancholy tones.

But as I explained in my Video review, every track has things I love and look forward to.

The only thing I haven't done I suppose is listen to Buy Our Intention, Set Sail the Prairie and this back-2-back-2-back as a trilogy. That certainly is something I plan to do in the near future. And hopefully not only it coming out on Vinyl but perhaps either some live shows or just some hope for more music from these guys is in their future someday.

Original Entry

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Small Leaks Sink Ships - Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals

This is a 5-star record. Post Rock of a kind with vocals. The dynamics and melancholy moments standout  especially. It's an album that tells a story or takes you on a bit of a journey.

The haunting/cinematic element to "Midnight Jin" and its crescendo, and the absolutely jaw-dropping almost entirely instrumental 9+ minute progrock piece "Building Blocks" are 2 of my favorite tracks from 2015, without question.

But even beyond those, this is one of those classic grower records, and one that came out of nowhere to win me over and never drop off.

"We All Die" "Orchis" "The Devil in the Desert" "Yellow Bird" "Iceberg"

and the closing epic "The Mind is Its Own Place" just get me every time. That epic closing track I get this amazing uplifting feeling every-time towards the end. It's quite inspiring.

I also will likely always associate this album with mornings at work as I tended to put it on frequently in the morning at work, and it was during the Winter, so I guess the cold weather and the barren, sort of dreamy mystical dark-out atmosphere I used to get, getting to work while it was still dark out and it giving me an escape. And the fact I found a total diamond in the rough, a buried gem, etc as this album did totally come to win me over unexpectedly. I checked it out on a whim after knowing this band from many years ago.

It's those experiences that are often my favorites with great albums, and they don't seem to happen incredibly often, especially recently. Maybe once a year, or even once every couple of years.

We'll see if it happens again and what these guys do in the future as I know they are working on a new album already. And of course I'd love to pickup this record on Vinyl which may happen as it was the goal of the band initially, but for time and cost reasons, they obviously weren't able to do it yet. But hopefully in due time.

Original Entry

Chris Isaak - First Comes the Night
Mutemath – Vitals
SikTh - Opacities [EP] (December)
David Bowie - Blackstar (1/8/16)
Brooke Waggoner - Sweven (1/15/16)
Steven Wilson - 4 1/2 (1/22/16)
The Besnard Lakes - A Coliseum Complex Museum (1/22/16)
Obscura - Arkoasis (2/5/16)
Hands of Despair - Bereft (2/15/16)
Cloud Cult - The Seeker (February)
Vektor - Terminal Redux
Dream Theater - The Astonishing
Radical Face - The Family Tree III: Leaves
Klimt 1918 – Die Sentimentale Jugend
dredg - Catch Without Arms (Vinyl) (4/22/16)

22 - You Are Creating
Abnormal Thought Patterns - Altered States of Consciousness
The Barnum Meserve - LP #2
British Theatre ("Numan" a working song or album title)
The Faceless
The Family Crest
Falling Up
Fates Warning
Happy Body, Slow Brain
The Mercury Tree
Pain of Salvation
Painted in Exile
Pepe Deluxe
Ramona Falls
The Reign of Kindo
Tiny Giant
Diablo Swing Orchestra
Dream the Electric Sleep
Kaddisfly - Horses Galloping on Sailboats (Vinyl)
Small Leaks Sink Ships - Face Yourself and Remove Your Sandals (Vinyl)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hands of Despair - Bereft (2015-2016)

12/3/15 9:06PM

1st single "Sleeper," 9+ minutes.

11/15/15 8:09PM
Facebook Link

Release Date is February 5th. More details about their album launch coming.

Hands of Despair released a rather impressive record in 2011 in Hereafter.Combining elements of progressive, black and death metal in a unique way. And the production and clarity of the sound was a big part of that. Ever since getting into that record, I've been rather curious to hear what they do next.

1.  Reborn (10:11)
2.  Bereft (8:02)
3.  Sleeper (9:05)
4.  Veil (4:09)
5.  Remnants (7:00)
6.  Étoc (9:44)
7.  Void (15:00)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

SikTh - Opacities [Mini-album] (2015-2016)

12/2/15 1:31PM
Full Mini-Album Stream

11/2/15 1:55PM

Per I haven't updated this in the last couple of months, the Opacities EP drops on December 4th.

"Philistine Philosophies" is below.

Me likeee. Not dramatically different from their other stuff, although it does seem the production is a bit improved.

I just can't help but now feel more justified in not getting much from so many of the recent Extreme Metal and djent bands that have come since SikTh went on hiatus, since, SikTh are so bloody good anyway (and I feel so much better).

The video itself is kind of crazy, and the animation almost reminds me of Tool.

8/20/15 12:21PM

Pretty excited for this, even if it is just a "mini-album."

6 tracks including a spoken-word track, coming in November.

Facebook Post

We are proud to announce that the new mini album will be called OPACITIES and unveil the cover artwork that has been created by Dan Mumford.

MIKEE : "I really love what Dan Mumford has done here. There is a clear divide under the cityscape between the bright over indulgent lights of the riches and then the squalor underneath. The concept of Opacities comes from the layers we see beneath the surface. The undertone of the city. It can relate to anything though whether it be humans or whatever . Also inspired by the hypocrisy in modern culture."

The mini album is made up of 6 songs including one spoken word and is available for pre-order via it is now fully recorded and being mixed by Forrester Savell.

After the November release, we have a December UK Tour scheduled with support coming from Hacktivist and Feed the Rhino.

Sat 5th @ Classic Grand, Glasgow
Sun 6th @ Academy 2, Manchester
Thur 10th @ Motion, Bristol
Fri 11th @ Academy 2, Birmingham
Sat 12th @ Forum, London

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

React To: WATCHMOJO.COM'S "Top 10 Rock(Folk-Pop) Vocal Harmonies"

Voting Results (only 1 factor WMJ uses of course)

While this list isn't a bad list overall (I enjoy Queen, The Beach Boys and Crosby, Stills and Nash The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel tunes namely, although they all have other, maybe better examples than the ones included), there's some stuff that is pretty head scratching about it. For one, it seems like 7 or 8 of the 10 songs (and most of the Honorable Mentions) are not really "Rock" but more of the "Folk-Pop" style. Other than Queen and Alice Chains really, not really many of these songs or even artists people refer to as "Rock" but more "Pop" (or Pop/Rock) and Folk.

Also stuff like the Fleetwood Mac and Eagles tunes are nothing special from a vocal harmonies standpoint.

So I have included below many of my favorites and what would be among my favorites or on my list. I'm sure I'll remember some I am not including on here (and maybe I'll edit them in, or do a 2nd list?).

Sunday, November 29, 2015

React To: VELOCITIES IN MUSIC: Top 10 Double Albums (of course incl some of mine)

Stream the video below or Download it here

Kind of surprised to not see Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway on there namely, or even Dream Theater's Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. but I actually am unclear on where these guys stand on Dream Theater or even Genesis for that matter.

Some of my favorites? not including extensively long CD's that make double (or even triple) LPs on Vinyl. But the fact that Baroness submission is on there, than I can take a liberty or two with 2 records released individually, but go together anyway (maudlin of the Well).

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Soft Machine - Third (1970)

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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973)

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Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

maudlin of the Well - Leaving Your Body Map/Bath (2001)

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Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002)

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Spock's Beard - Snow (2002)

Marillion - Marbles (Campaign Edition) (2004)

The River Empires - The River Empires (Epilogue) (2010)

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Timbre - Sun and Moon (2015)

from their list:

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Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland (1968)

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The Who - Quadrophenia (1973)

The front of a brownstone
Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti  (1975)

Two human hands making gestures in front of exploding red lights on a brown background.
Godspeed You Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (2000)

Favorite Double Albums
The Beatles – White Album
Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde
Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works Vol. II
Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
Baroness – Yellow and Green
Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St.
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
The Who – Tommy
LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem
Public Image Ltd. – Metal Box / Second Edition
The Clash – London Calling
Aphex Twin – Drukqs
The Clash – Sandinista
The Who – Quadrophenia
Thrice – The Alchemy Indices
Swans – The Seer
Marvin Gaye – Here My Dear
Pink Floyd – The Wall
Derek and the Dominoes – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
Frank Zappa – Freak Out
Phish – Junta
Jimi Hendrix – Electricladyland