Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Roger Waters - The Wall 2015 [Documentary/Live Performance]

What i just wrote on Facebook:
I saw Roger Waters "The Wall" documentary/live performance last night in the theater. Pretty surreal at times, and astounding visually at points. I also really liked the personal scenes of Roger driving in parts of Europe, visiting memorials for his dad and other fallen War veterans.
However, my feeling on the album itself remains the same.1/3 of it I love, 1/3 I enjoy for the concept I suppose, and 1/3 is just way too over the top, melodramatic and overtly dark and psychological, and political , that I can't fathom enjoying to a large degree.
I only can imagine if he or another band had the money, time and people involved with such a spectacle, for an album I do feel more fondly about, even say The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway . I would probably be able to fully appreciate the accomplishment that Roger and crew pulled off.
I also really liked most of the Q&A between Roger and Nick Mason (Official) afterwards, sans for the large number of questions asking or alluding to stuff with David Gilmour obviously.

I also should add, I stumbled across a live RPWL collection of Pink Floyd tunes the other day online and it reminded me why I love so much of that Pre-Dark Side Floyd stuff. A 19-minute version of "Fat Old Sun" alone gave me multiple goosebump moments.

The Faceless - The Spiraling Void

Not bad, especially the outro; although I still feel strongly, they should include keys again, which from memory, have not been all that present since their debut album Akeldama, which honestly, is the last and really only album I really love from them.

But I will have to check out their next record on the strength of this album. Their old/original? singer I guess is back.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kimbra's Wish [Animated Video per Snow White]

Rather surreal to see and even just hear. It must have slipped my mind, or I missed it and never saw much talk about this cover she recorded last December. I guess it's from the Snow White Disney film/soundtrack.

Anyway, this dude Adam C Sager, who did the directing and sync-work must have spent quite a lot of time in the editing room.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Dear Hunter - The Wayfarer Volume 1 (Video)

I received this with my preorder the other day as I explained in this video. Pretty sweet book/magazine, etc.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dream Theater - A Change of Seasons (original demo)

Dream Theater's EP A Change of Seasons recently turned 20,

I probably won't go in-depth as I should per time. But while I do love the 23 minute piece they released in 1995 and it was the 1st official release they put out after my actually becoming a fan (I knew "Pull Me Under" going back to hearing it on the radio in 1992-1994), in May of 1995.

But I was sent via cassette tape trading from a dude from South Dakota I met at a Rush show I think, a copy on tape with some others, a circulated bootleg(s), that included this original demo version of ACOS.

edit: it was on the "Antiquities" bootleg per the description in YouTube.

And I grew to love this version more? why? I think largely, Labrie really goes all out with the falsettos especially. But also the arrangement and the use of samples as well.

Sure the production is just in demo form, etc. But I can look past that.

It also includes Kevin Moore of course, although they played it live in 1993, but I think at that point, that version resembled the EP version more so, and didn't include the "Please Don't Go!" section from memory.

Anyway, I think for all the fans who can't say enough praise for the final, EP version with Derek Sherinian, they at least should BE AWARE of this version, to know what it was like.

That all being said, I sure as hell would go for:

1) The EP finally being released on VINYL

2) A Boxed Set mastering of THIS VERSION in some format soon. I dunno if the DT guys would want to put it out at this point though. But every band does them. I could see it coming out on Vinyl and a DELUXE cd version that includes both this demo version and the 1993 live-version as well which I do think came out on 1 of the official bootlegs, along with a remastering of the final EP version.  Maybe it won't be happening on this, its 20th anniversary, but perhaps 25th in 2020?

The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra - Earth Lift (2014-2015)

9/23/15 12:41AM


September 29th  is the release date (next Tuesday).

I haven't checked out the new tracks yet as I'm currently at a show watching another good local MN band in Treading North, in fact.

But this certainly one I'm looking forward to in the next few days, as I imagine they will have copies for sale at TGCO's show with Brice Plays Drums this Friday September 25th at Harriet Brewing.

Also noteworthy is their cover of Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" which I really enjoyed live.

edit: "Fish of a Feather" is awesome.

Earth Lift cover art

1. Forward Motion (Part 2) 01:47
2. You Do That 02:05
3. Fish of a Feather 05:57
4. When the Levee Breaks
5. Earth Lift
6. Swara Kakali
7. Picker Waddle
8. The Demented Waltz
9. Poison
10. Minion (Part 2)
11. Honky Bumblebee

Thursday, September 17, 2015

That Drummer Guy: Native Construct Interview at PPUSA

Good interview from That Drummer Guy at ProgPowerUSA. It sounds like they really impressed a lot of people there last weekend. Probably as much as a reason I want to see their show with Between the Buried and Me at The Skyway Theatre on the Monday before Thanksgiving, November 23rd.

The Pneumatic Transit - Concerto for Double Moon (2014-2015) (ex-EAPZ guitarist)

9/17/15 2:04PM

I know this is an old entry and maybe the original entry I posted about this, etc. But it does give some context of how long this project/album has been in the works.

They have added a new Facebook Page here

The below article adds an update.

Release date is finally on October 13th

And a trailer:

I will definitely be adding a lot more in this blog, possibly as a new entry. But per the trailer and what I already know about this record, it has some amazing playing and wonderful compositions on it.

12/20/13 6:29PM
This sounds intriguing from seeing this video and write up here:

Former Exotic Animal Petting Zoo guitarist Jeff Zampillo has been at work on a new project called The Pneumatic Transit — and we’re pretty sure it’s going to blow your mind.

The band have been in the studio tracking material for their debut release, Concerto for Double Moon. While there aren’t too many details revealed yet, we caught wind that Zampillo has tapped a couple members from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to lend their talents to the project.

Concerto for Double Moon is tentatively slated for a spring release. Here’s the latest studio video from the group. We’ll keep you posted as we go.

This is a new project from ex-Exotic Animal Petting Zoo guitarist Jeff Zampillo. Muscially, it seems to be including if not featuring or strongly emphasizing string and classical elements, which maybe has as much if not the primary reason I am curious about this.

EAPZ, unfortunately, I have never fully loved, mainly due to the screaming vocals. But the rest of their music, has some amazing moments including a lot of the guitar work. And I guess (per Wikipedia) Jeff Zampillo was not with EAPZ debut record, but on 2012's sophomore LP Tree of Tongues.

I have no idea why he left, or when exactly, but I guess if it was to focus on making orchestral music, this music may turn out all the better.

This Concerto for Double Moon is a double debut LP expected sometime in 2014 apparently. When more information is available, I'll try and pass it along in here.

edit: it just occurred to me, an orchestral debut double LP? it may not resemble it much if in any way, but this debut album does share those specific qualities with The River Empires. If somehow it's even half as good as TRE debut record, I'll be listening to it as much as I can.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Dear Hunter - Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise (2014-2015)

9/16/15 6:16AM

Here's how it did its first week on the Billboard Charts. Pretty impressive, even just for a week or however long it lasts.

From Facebook

When I started writing the story for the Dear Hunter in the winter of 2004, it never occurred to me that it would reach ears beyond my family and friends. It would be easy to dismiss my career thus far as "lucky", I know it's more than that; this is all thanks to the open minds and hearts in the world who have given me and this music a chance. You all are just as responsible for this music as I am- and should be as proud of its success. I promise to you all, if you keep giving me this opportunity- the chance to be myself, to respect the audience as much as the art, and to shy far from compromise- I will never take it for granted, and will always show you all the greatest respect I can through this music. Thank you all, from all corners of my soul. 

- Casey

9/8/15 10:17PM

New video for "Waves." Well shot, and a lot of metaphors.The whole process of our main character I presume, and waves of emotion about finding love and then losing it. Having kodak pictures of his experience with this woman, etc.

Also a couple of more things:

Act IV's RATEYOURMUSIC.COM Page is just a small fraction or indicator of how well it is being received, only 5 days after its release. But for what it is worth right now, it is being rated rather well (or high) with 47 Ratings and the avg rating currently is at 3.91.'s 2015 Albums Chart hasn't been updated in a little while, but when it does, I am curious where this album may show up.

Just looking at the current Top 100, the following albums have a comparable number of ratings and all of them have a lower average rating currently:

#7 Ryan Adams - Live at Carnegie Hall 60 ratings 3.90 avg
#28 Joe Bonamassa - Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks 41 ratings, avg 3.91
#35 Blue Pills - Blue Pills Live 42 ratings, 3.86 avg
#44 Archivist - Archivist 80 ratings, 3.62 avg
#58 Devo - Hardcore Devo Live! 40 ratings, 3.83 avg
#61 Magic Pie - King for a Day 86 ratings, 3.54 avg
#63 Ty Segall - Live in San Francisco 64 ratings, 3.74
#92 Guardians of Time - Rage and Fire 69 ratings, 3.58 avg

As for a review and my take. I gave it 4-stars out of the gate. I may change that at some point, especially since I've only listened to the whole thing twice (other times, I have been interrupted and never went back to it).

But I should have a video review hopefully soon (just guessing, but it could be next Monday or Tuesday per I'm on PTO).

Also fitting how Monday is the day after their concert in Minneapolis at The Triple Rock.

The RYM 2015 Album Chart just was updated and it opens up ranked #35 with 48 ratings and an avg of 3.86. We'll see how much that may change in the next few weeks/months. If enough ratings start to happen and it stays in the top 100 or even top 50, more of the rym population may find it and rate it that would not have otherwise.

8/10/15 7:54PM

Another new track "Wait"

7/9/15 2:17PM
"Waves" is streaming

nice tune, and very much sounds like it segues to and from other tracks ("Old Haunt" and "At the End of the Earth") and one that I have not heard from memory. I know it's been played live the last few tours, and there are some live videos that I don't even recall watching; but it seems many on the forums know this song like the back of their hand from live performance, lol.

6/26/15 1:35PM

Very cool video produced/edited by Casey for the new single. I think once I've heard this record, a lot of the things in this video will make more sense, maybe just within the whole story of the "Act" records.

Great track though.

6/16/15 8:45PM

Preorders and Sept/Oct tour dates, including Sunday September 13th at The Triple Rock in Minneapolis.

Aug 19 Circolo Magnolia w/ Manchester Orchestra Milan, Italy
Aug 20 B72 Vienna, Austria
Aug 21 Strom w/ Manchester Orchestra Munich, Germany
Aug 22 Pukkelpop Hasselt, Belgium
Aug 23 Gebaude 9 w/ Manchester Orchestra Cologne, Germany
Aug 24 Magnet w/ Manchester Orchestra Berlin, Germany
Aug 25 Molotow w/ Manchester Orchestra Hamburg, Germany
Aug 27 Concorde w/ Manchester Orchestra Brighton, United Kingdom
Aug 28 Bodega Social Nottingham, United Kingdom
Aug 29 Think Tank? Newcastle, United Kingdom
Aug 30 King Tuts Glasgow, United Kingdom
Sep 01 Clwb Ifor Bach Cardiff, United Kingdom
Sep 02 Joiners Southampton, Uk
Sep 03 The Rainbow Cellar Birmingham, United Kingdom
Sep 04 Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen London, United Kingdom
Sep 05 Bruis Maastricht, Netherlands
Sep 11 Musica Akron, OH
Sep 12 Riot Fest Chicago, IL
Sep 13 Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis, MN
Sep 15 The Loving Touch Ferndale, MI
Sep 16 The Ready Room St Louis, MO
Sep 18 Granada Theatre Lawrence, KS
Sep 19 Marquis Theatre Denver, CO
Sep 22 The Crocodile Seattle, WA
Sep 23 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, OR
Sep 25 The Boardwalk Orangevale, CA
Sep 26 Slim's San Francisco, CA
Sep 27 Strummer's Fresno, CA
Sep 29 The Roxy Theater West Hollywood, CA
Oct 01 The Observatory Santa Ana, CA
Oct 02 The Irenic San Diego, CA
Oct 03 Crescent Ballroom Phoenix, AZ
Oct 06 The Parish Austin, TX
Oct 07 Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill Dallas, TX
Oct 09 EXIT/IN Nashville, TN
Oct 10 The Loft Atlanta, GA
Oct 11 Thompson House Newport, KY
Oct 13 Rock and Roll Hotel Washington, DC
Oct 15 Union Transfer Philadelphia, PA
Oct 16 The Stone Pony Asbury Park, NJ
Oct 17 The Royale Boston, MA
Oct 21 Irving Plaza New York, NY

6/15/15 8:35PM-6/16/15 5:56AM
Just heard "Night on the Town" which is being released tomorrow (or tonight at Midnight?).

Digging it, and it does seem to fit the "Reprise" element to the title of the album, probably more than I realize after only 1 time hearing it. A 9-minute track mind you.

I'm of course very jazzed about this record, although I tend to lean towards not wearing out songs long before the release. It may not be easy in this case though.

Anyway, I'll definitely edit/update this entry in X number of hours when "A Night on the Town" is officially released.

"A Night on the Town" CDUniverse link (for those of us who don't use iTunes)

iTunes Preorder shows September 4th rel date

also  track 11 is "King of Swords (Reversed)"

edit, some comments have been mentioning the following tracks:
Bitter Suite (kind of obvious)
Untitled 1
Mustard Gas
In Cauda Venenum

6/13/15 10:46AM

Here's a teaser from the Acts tour videos Casey made in early May. I saw these already and anyone who did, but it was nice for this fan (I recall from the Fans forum) put them together like this which now is a quasi-Album trailer.

6/11/15 6:05PM

As odd as this is, it actually seems pretty likely to be accurate as I know Casey mentioned to a few fans at shows last month that Act IV would likely be released in Mid-August. But, I must say I wish whoever posted this stuff, cited a conversation or something more directly from Casey.

edit: holy crap that Bitter Suite title, lol

Or more preferably, just reading about from Casey specifically.

But, whatever, in the grand scheme of things, it shouldn't matter as it's just info. And seeing some of it on a site like cduniverse before an official press release is not unusual or anything.

Where did I see it? The Fans Forum. link


The Dear Hunter is set to release his new album, Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise on August 21 through Equal Vision!

The first single of the album is called Night On The Town, a 9 minute track that's set to be released on the 16th. You can check out the tracklist below

1 Rebirth 2:51
2 Old Haunt 4:36
3 Waves 4:12
4 At the End of the Earth 5:16
5 Remembered 3:50
6 A Night On the Town 9:00
7 Is There Anybody Here? 6:42
8 Squeaky Wheel 4:35
9 Bitter Suite IV And V: The Congregation And The Sermon In The Silt 5:40
10 Bitter Suite VI: Abandon 5:32
11 King of Swords (Reversed) 5:07
12 If All Goes Well 4:41
13 Line 3:37
14 Wait 3:20
15 Ouroboros 5:25

3/03/15 4:29PM


I'm excited for this of course, but I also can't help but see this a bit unexpectedly as I recall 2 or 3 or more interview/chats in the last year or so, Casey mentioned how there will be an Act IV (and eventually V and VI), but the record he was working on now (or next after the Symphony a year or 2 ago), was not going to be it.

But, I also recall a question or 2 about Act IV and him being rather vague about it, not denying nor really confirming it. I suppose as an artist, it's best to be more ambiguous about your future plans namely.

At any case, I certainly look forward to this. Sometime in the next few months it seems. And the live album below, which is cool. I haven't listened to much of it yet, or looked at the details on the YouTube streams, but part of me hopes (but does not expect) something from it is from the show in Minneapolis at The Varsity Theater of course.

And the upcoming "Acts" tour, would be sweet to see, but no date in Minnesota of course. I'll be curious to check out the setlists when those shows happen anyway, just out of curiosity.

More details of course about Rebirth in Reprise in due time (wouldn't surprise me rather soon, as the last interview I caught from Casey, he mentioned wanting to release this record in May if possible).

edit: here's the interview/chat Podcast I'm remembering

Letter From Casey Below

Having spent the better part of the last 6 months indoors, I’ve developed a bit of a necessary wall in regards to contact and communications, but Ill do my best in this message to convey surreal internal musings with realistic external translation.

Within the past decade spent behind The Dear Hunter moniker, it would be foolish to say I haven’t swayed with the times, and that I hadn’t rubbed elbows with thoughts of giving into the tide. There has been an always open door behind me, suggesting me to do any number of things to appeal to wider and more quantifiable audiences. However, in times when this door seemed widest of all, I always felt the need to turn and push further away.

It’s a pretty old clichĂ© - the story of a band gaining notoriety on something unique, or at the very least, something honestly themselves - trimming just enough off of who they are to fit the mold, then living out a life of diminishing creative return.

When I started The Dear Hunter, there were never any aspirations associated with fame, or sales… only aspirations associated with creative output, and a cohesive body of honest and progressive work, that at the very least could account as some sort of chronology of my creative life.

Along with that wish to constantly grow as a songwriter, came the desire to improve as a performer. This, at first, felt incredibly foreign to me - as someone who spent almost all of his time locked away creating (a very introverted behavior), the idea of such a social display was frightening. Anyone who witnessed the early shows for The Dear Hunter, can vouch for that palpable discomfort. Over time, I began to discover the live performance as an opportunity to create something new, and fleeting, each night - with an entirely different palette of instruments, both musical and human. Though the fear of the stage, and nervousness associated with outgoing interactions never left, a new feeling eclipsed them both - and with this grew the desire to improve. It was always a journey of some strange faith.

This is what I spend my time doing. My life is lovingly devoted to improving myself in all areas. Mental, emotional, physical, creative, metaphysical… I have always tried to take the same approach with The Dear Hunter, no matter how hard the adversity, whether personal or financial, I have only strived to make better art.

From this desire to grow, and through incredible fortune, I was given the opportunity to design a tour that I had never thought possible. A night devoted to performing with The Dear Hunter and a string quartet.

Luckily, Equal Vision Records was kind enough to furnish us with a system capable of multi tracking the entire tour - something we had never done before. While moments of hilarity exist (and they are wonderful), we’ve lovingly combed through these recordings to bring 10 tracks of this tour to the ears of any and all who might be interested. I hope that you feel, listening to the music, the love and excitement we felt performing.

I wanted to surprise our fans with this release, as it is my gift to you all, for supporting me over the years, and never giving up on me.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your continued faith in The Dear Hunter.

I want to humbly ask you all to share this letter.  Word of mouth has always been the lifeblood of this music, and the suggestions of good friends always outweigh a well placed banner ad.

I leave you all now, scurrying back into my cave with my nose to the grindstone, preparing the next record for The Dear Hunter… It is coming along swimmingly, and I can’t wait to share it with you all.  Please keep your eyes peeled for Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise, coming later this year.

Entire Live Album Stream


01. Bring You Down
02. Procession
03. Shame
04. Girl
05. Home
06. The Thief
07. Mustard Gas
08. Progress
09. Where The Road Parts
10. Things That Hide Away

The Dear Hunter 2015 Tour Dates:
04/20  Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court *
04/23  DeKalb, IL @ The House CafĂ© *
04/24  Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo *
05/05  Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair #
05/06  Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair ^
05/07  New York, NY @ Gramercy Theater #
05/08  New York, NY @ Gramercy Theater ^
05/12  Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
05/13  Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel &
05/15  Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge &
05/19  Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre &
05/22  Pomona, CA @ The Glass House#
05/23  Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour ^
05/24  San Francisco, CA @ The Independent &

* = Casey Creszenzo solo
# = Act II, w/ Northern Faces
^ = Act III, w/ Northern Faces
& = songs from Act II and Act III, w/ Northern Faces

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Dear Hunter Live 9/13/15 at The Triple Rock Social Club

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I saw them last night for what I count was the 8th time in as many years, at the Triple Rock.

I believe this is the setlist, or quite close to it, with the order possibly a little different.

The Thief
Mustard Gas
The Old Haunt
Smiling Swine
The Line
A Night on the Town
Misplaced Devotion
Things That Hide Away
Where the Road Parts

The Church and the Dime
Life and Death

Pretty epic show.

I arrived around 8:45PM; the 2 openers Gates and CHON: Gates had already finished, and CHON about to start, so unfortunately I wasn't able to see Gates per I had Rosh Hoshannah dinner last night. CHON though were pretty amazing, rather technical, mathy at points. A lot of use syncopation and interplay between their guitarists and drummer. I would compare them to being maybe a bit more of a math-rock version of Scale the Summit or Animals as Leaders.

But of course The Dear Hunter then went on and put on another highly energetic, very *live* show. The set-list more or less speaks for itself. We got "The Line" which I guess some other shows got "Bitter Suite IV and V: The Congregation and the Sermon and the Slit"

A lot of the Act IV tunes sounded great live. I will say, the mix at The Triple is normally pretty good, compared to other venues. Last night it was hit and miss, as at point it was clear the guitars were a lot higher than things like the vocals or keyboards, as at points I only really could hear them. But that was probably only in isolated moments.

The Crowd was rather large, in fact maybe the largest crowd I've ever been to at a The Dear Hunter show. The Entry show a couple of years ago probably had 200-250 people, I'd guess last night was around 300 or more. I think many came for CHON though, which happens sometimes depending on the openers. Regardless though, it was quite a lot of people to see them, even compared to past years, namely when they've headlined.

Baby steps I guess in terms of a following. Casey mentioned it multiple times how grateful they were to see that many people there for them, and even surprised initially how crowded it was.

Friday, September 11, 2015

All Things Must Pass: Tower Records Documentary (10/16/15)

LA Times Link of Movies coming out Sept-Nov 2015

Lot of other pictures I want to anticipate on that list, including the Kate Winslet/Danny Boyle/Aaron Sorkin movie "Steve Jobs"

But the main one I saw is the listing for the Tower Records documentary Colin Hanks spent many years making, showing a October 16th release date.

Now whether it manages to come to Minnesota is a different story. I should check my upcomings email from Landmark and the Film Club and see if it has been mentioned. If not, I also wonder if it might be at The Twin Cities Film Festival which happens around that time as well.

Cynic - Rest in Peace? (again)

9/11/15 6:01AM

Sean Reinert in response

From Cynic's Facebook

Instead of playing into the "tit for tat" game of trying to defend any accusations of unscrupulous behavior on my part, with regards to the split of Cynic (Paul and I: Two people, Not three) would be childish. But he's caught in a lie below saying he can't post and I took over the page which is obviously not true. I'll leave it at that. I can't physically stop Paul from playing CYNIC's music with other musicians, but it won't be CYNIC, merely Paul playing CYNIC songs with hired guns, which as stated he's wanted for a while. This isn't the way I wanted things to work out. 


9/10/15 10:07PM

Well apparently the earlier announcement was a 1-way thing as
Paul Masvidal posted on FB

Dear fans and friends, this is all news to me. I just landed from Japan and my inbox was exploding. Sean didn't confer with myself or Malone about Cynic's official breakup or the tour being cancelled. I'm honestly somewhat relieved it's finally over since it's been quite challenging over the years but I'm also trying to figure out how to possibly salvage this tour (with a new drummer) since the damage he's causing by pulling out at this last minute is inconceivable for me at the moment. Please share this message with friends or fans as Sean has taken me off our FB page so I can't access it at the moment. Love to you all. I apologize for the drama...but sometimes life gets messy.
P.S. Cynic will continue one way or another.

I guess Cynic continuing as they are is different enough from the Focus-sound, I'm sure it will matter, but these situations are better resolved privately, typically. Hopefully Paul and Sean will be calm the flames soon.

9/10/15 2:38PM
I guess I can't be totally surprised and not incredibly down about this as their record from 2014 Kindly Bent to Free Us was not incredibly memorable, even compared to their previous EP Carbon Based Anatomy.

I personally love FOCUS, and the stuff they did since their comeback was not quite at the FOCUS level.

Still, it's sad to see them go. I can at least be happy I got to see them live (twice? I think, although not with Sean Malone unfortunately).

Weird/downer about them now breaking up and with uneXpect as well recently. I hope this pattern ends soon.

Facebook Link

It is with a heavy heart that I post today's CYNIC news. CYNIC is no longer an active band. Due to artistic and personal differences, the second chapter in the ‘BOOK OF CYNIC’ has come to an end.
I will say the last shows we played in JAPAN have left me with a positive charge, even though they were the last live performances with Paul, Sean Malone & I on the same stage. My longstanding creative partnership with Paul, which started when we were very young kids in south Florida, has simply endured so much friction that there is no way, from my perspective, that CYNIC can be salvaged, repaired or kept afloat by any means.

I profusely apologize to the fans who were not only expecting us in China & Taiwan (that was not our fault), but to the fans who were planning to see us in Europe next month. These things happen, unfortunately, to bands. There can be differing levels of conflicts and/or differences in opinions, musical directions, or perspectives. Sometimes these things are insurmountable, and no amount of time or effort can resolve them. This is the case with CYNIC.

This page will stay up, and of course there are our respective personal pages and websites that will continue to let everyone know what we’re doing individually.
I wish all of you love & peace.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Savatage + Trans Siberian Orchestra interview

I found this interview interesting. It's from a few weeks ago I think the day before Savatage and Trans Siberian Orchestra did a joint show/reunion thing at the Wacken festival in Germany.

I'm not sure if there is any footage from that show on YouTube, but if not, it sounds potentially incredible.

Jon Oliva, Paul O'Neill and Al Pitrelli are interviewed.

I'd love for a Savatage reunion someday, although the odds are next to zero I imagine.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Some more Vinyl and slight update (YouTube)

This is just showing some more vinyl and just a little rehash and announcement. I have a few days off in the coming weeks, which hopefully will allow more videos including some abbreviated video version of the Retro Favorite Albums.

Although, with those 3 High Holiday days off coming, I have of course some things that are a bit higher of a priority, like looking at a loan for a car and some long-needed cleaning of my barely used apartment if I'm going to be prepared to move in the next few months (or possibly as late as next June).

But time permitting, I will look to make some of the video reviews I mention in this update video.

Retro Favorite Albums: 1974

1974, a very deep year for albums, like pretty much every year in the early and mid 70's.

On the surface, there's a couple of all-time favorites of mine from Yes and a derived project from Mahavishnu Orchestra. It also saw Rush finally put out their debut record, the last record with Peter Gabriel in Genesis, 2 of the better King Crimson albums, and another excellent record from Renaissance. Also 2 of the early Queen records, which are among my favorites in their catalog.

Genesis and Yes albums came out within 10 days of each other in November. And the Rush debut album came out the same day as one of Camel's best records.

It also seemed the prog thing was reaching its peak and jazz-rock also seemed to be really big. Quite a few albums came out with only 2-4 tracks on them, featuring side-length suites of course.

Also there seemed to be a fair amount of rock/pop and art-rock coming into fold, with bands like ELO, Supertramp, Sparks, and 10cc putting out some of the best records of their career in 1974.

Overall, I wouldn't consider '74 quite as top-heavy as '73, but maybe as if not having more depth in quality.

Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark
rel January 1, 1974
I know this album mostly by reputation. I do recall checking it out from the library some 10 or so years ago and enjoying it. I recall with my love for Annie Haslam and Renaissance, I once posted a question to some friends about who the queen of progressive rock is, and while Kate Bush and Annie come to mind, some others like Annette Peacock and those outside of prog circles like Joni and Sandy Denny also came to mind.

This record, and Blue I guess I recall being regarded as her finest works, at least from the early-mid 70's. But my memory of it is vague as I can't name a lot. The track "Help Me" was a top 10 chart hit I guess and in sampling it again, I do recognize it, but maybe not her most well known track.

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Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic
rel February 20, 1974
This is the record that opens with "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" which is one of the better Steely Dan tracks. I guess this is one of those records that has a cool name and cover art, that I've always been curious about, but never gotten around to, even when seeing used copies on vinyl at Half Price Books once in a blue moon.

I suppose like a number of other 70's bands, I like their hits, but could probably enjoy more of their music at the point I get around to hearing their records, and for Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic is likely one (as well as their previous LP Countdown to Ecstasy).

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Deep Purple - Burn
rel February 15, 1974

The 1st Deep Purple record with David Coverdale and I think bassist Glenn Hughes. I know the title track mainly, and I'll admit that I don't prefer Coverdale to Ian Gillan. But this is a record I could go for hearing more from out of curiosity, just for the lineup changes alone.

Tangerine Dream - Phaedra
rel February 20, 1974

Tangerine Dream have a vast and incredibly lengthly catalog of records, and I have never really invested much time with them I'll admit. But Phaedra is by many, regarded as their finest studio work, even for a band who I've always sensed were best experienced live. Ambient, space rock of a sort, that is as much about mood and relaxation, as tone and texture.

The 17+ minute title track makes this record, although I guess the 2nd track "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" was released a 7" 45 single as an excerpt (being the full track is nearly 10 minutes).

A record I probably respect more than I love at this point, but I do own a copy on vinyl and consider it their most notable studio album.

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Rush - Rush
rel March 1, 1974
The debut record from Rush, which was the accumulation of about 5 years or more of work and the time Geddy and Alex started playing together. And of course this album had John Rutsey, who shows his talents throughout this album.

I always have enjoyed this album, and when I checked it out, I remember it appealing to me per my love of Led Zeppelin. The heavy blues rock that had a lot of energy and in your face riffs.

On paper, I enjoy every track, even "In the Mood." I guess over time, my favorites became "What You're Doing" "Here Again" and it as a heavy methodical seguing ballad. "Take a Friend" and "Need Some Love."

Along with the 2 staples "Finding My Way" and "Working Man" that I knew from owning Chronicles, the compilation I got from the BMG  music club from memory. I do love the twanging on the solo on "Working Man", and the crescendo. Both of those tracks just rock hard, and are raw yet still sound unique.

My favorite Rush albums did come later, but I have always still loved this album and the early, more Blues-Rock/Zeppelin-like Rush. Even without Neil. Where it compares in '74, not a top 5, but still would have received regular rotation had I been around then.

Camel - Mirage
rel March 1, 1974

Maybe Camel's most iconic record, just for the cover art I suppose, and the cigarette company and packaging similarity. From memory, I have meant-to, but never gotten to this one as well. Although Camel, like some of the other somewhat popular, but still obscure 70's progressive rock bands, I have never been highly impressed by. I'm not sure why, but it's kind of a little soft and many of their ideas I have heard similar things from other bands and enjoyed like Pink Floyd of Genesis.

That being said, I have still felt I should try and give them more time, and this record would likely be 1 of the obvious titles. "White Rider" and "Lady Fantasy" per Wikipedia, this record is known for as well anything else they ever did.

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Queen - Queen II
rel March 8, 1974

This is one of my favorite Queen records, and I find to be a step-up from their debut. It has one of my favorite tracks, and among their most progressive in the 6+ minute "March of the Black Queen." I love the gradual build and the use of falsetto harmonies of course. Probably the best section is the bridge with the

"Aah ah aah
La la la la laa
Ah ah ah ah aah
Ah la la la laa
I reign with my left hand, I rule with my right
I'm lord of all darkness, I'm Queen of the night
I've got the power - now do the march of the Black Queen
My life is in your hands, I'll fo and I'll fie
I'll be what you make me, I'll do what you like
I'll be a bad boy - I'll be your bad boy - I'll do the march of the Black Queen

Ah aah ah aah
Ah aah ah aah
Walking true to style
She's vulgar 'buse and vile
Fie-fo the Black Queen, tattoos all her pies
She boils and she bakes, and she never dots her "I's"

But even beyond that, this record includes the full "Seven Seas of Rhye," 'White Queen (as it began)," "Father to Son," "Ogre Battle," and even "The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke" which features some cool harpsichord.

This is not my favorite Queen record, but it definitely is one I hold in high regard, and was clearly showing a band who was developing their distinct sound from their 1st album, and then where they would go with their next couple of albums especially.

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Frank Zappa - Apostrophe (')
rel March 22, 1974
Some consider this one of Zappa's best records, and I guess per Wiki, it was his most successful studio album in the States.

"Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" is the one track I recognize among the track list. "Watch Out Where the Huskies Go, Don't Let Them Eat That Yellow Snow" which in just sampling, has a suite and segues nicely into "Nanook Rubs It" and then "St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast" and basically all of Side A.

I would imagine, like many of his records, this is one I could grow to love. Very much less and more is more, as he was still doing enough of the clever fusion stuff.

Weather Report - Mysterious Traveller
rel March 24, 1974

This is I know, considered one of the better Weather Report records, including the title track. Even though Jaco Pastorius had not joined the band yet. Alphonso Johnson was no slouch.

"Cucumber Slumber" is a track I know best from the Live and Unreleased record which didn't even come out until 2001, and does include Jaco.

Although in sampling it, it seems much of it is more methodical and almost ambient at points. I suppose Joseph Zawinul was driving the band's sound more in that mid or slower tempo mode, and less dynamic as they would get with Jaco.

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King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black
rel March 29, 1974

The 2nd album with Wetton and Bruford, and I do own this record on vinyl, but do not know it incredibly well. I do recognize tracks like "The Great Deceiver" and "The Night Watch" for what I recall are live bootlegs and/or boxed sets or compilations. I forget.

It also includes the title track, which is instrumental, and I recall has a connection with the track "Starless" at least, which came later in 1974 on Red of course. And actually, it probably shares as much if not more in common with "Red" the song in it's subtle dynamics.

In Sampling: I do know "The Night Watch" as it's one of the better Wetton-era pieces. In fact, I recall rather enjoying it as much as most of my favorite Crimson tracks. Love the narrative with Wetton vocals and Fripp's sad and melodic guitar lines. And David Cross's violin refrains are a great complement.

"Fracture" is another track I recognize the title, but am not highly familiar with. And in sampling, the other tracks don't grab me as much as the rest of the record, but I could also see enjoying them with more play. But for now, I would probably rank this 3rd among this era of Crimson, but still a record with a lot of good work.

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Kansas - Kansas
rel March 1974
The debut Kansas record, that I honestly probably know better than I realize and I do own on Vinyl. A lot of it was covered in the new documentary I saw a few months ago, even just how they found the cover art.

But from a name standpoint, "Journey From Mariabronn" is the standout track on here. Great interplay between the fiddle and keyboards namely. And one they frequently played live, that was probably even better.

I own the Singles Boxed Set, and I'm sure it includes "Can I Tell You" and "Bringing it Back" and likely "Lonely Wind," it's just been years since I played that thing.

Also the last 2 7 and 9-minute plus tracks "Apercu" and "Death of a Mother Nature Suite" stand out in some ways, as more extended pieces.

Not my favorite Kansas record, but still a good one, which I consider all their 70's albums quite good.

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Triumvirat - Illusions on a Double Dimple
rel March 1974
German band like ELP.

This is I guess considered Triumvirat's best or at least many see it as their most well-known record. I know this band, mainly per name as they have been name dropped off and on within progressive rock forums for years.

They are more or less Germany's answer to ELP, but like some of the Italian progressive rock bands of this time especially, regarded as pretty good and enjoyable, even if their sound may not be incredibly original.

This record is 2 20+ minute pieces, that I don't have time right now to even sample. But this is on my wishlist and one I think I will try and check out in the near future.

Renaissance - Turn of the Cards
rel May 1974

Another great Renaissance record, and like Led Zeppelin, supports them being one of the most consistent bands in the 70's. It is filled with favorites, from the dreamy and almost gothic "Black Flame" which includes what sounds like an oboe part (although it may just be a keyboard patch).

"Running Hard" and "I Think of You" as well, as I always like the rhythms and lead bass-lines from Jon Camp on those.

And "Mother Russia" is very much a suite of sorts, with of course I always think of Winter and the grandiose, epic nature of a symphony or a journey within the snow; possibly a blizzard or something, journeying up to a castle or something.

It's a great closing piece. Annie sounds wonderful of course.

The only track not ringing a bell is the 9+ minute "Things I Don't Undetrstand" for some reason, but I remember enjoying every track on this album, the last time I listened to it. But a revisiting of that one may be in order soon (and possibly an edit, as it very easily could be one of those album-based tracks I love, but don't recall as well because I don't remember it being played live or on 1 of the compilations I have).

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Sparks - Kimono My House
rel May 1974

I guess this album and the one they released later in the year Propaganda, are among the best Sparks records. I'm sampling it right now and I must say, I hear a lot of things to like with it. Poppy, and energetic. The Apes and Androids comparison does fit at points, although it does sound of its time in there is a clear 70's rock vibe.

The opening track "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us" is almost like Queen meets T-Rex or something, and I could totally hear someone like Amanda Palmer covering it. I would say the same about the 2nd track "Amateur Hour." Catchy, energetic, playful, and glamorous style vocals. Like Bowie or Freddie Mercury.

I could see myself becoming a much bigger fan of Sparks, I just have never gotten around to it,. But this along Propaganda seem to be as good of places to start.

10cc - Sheet Music
rel May 1974

Like Sparks and many others (ELO, Dire Straits, Supertramp, Squeeze) 10cc are a band I've known about vaguely for many years. Ever since my friend John compared House of Fools to them, I've been curious about them, but never spent the time to hear their stuff.

And then recently I read in article about Jellyfish in PROG magazine, and Andy Sturmer mentioned being a big fan (along with ELO and some others..ironically, I don't think he mentioned XTC).

But this is considered one of the best 10cc records, so it is one I mean to seek out. I'm sampling it right now and songs like "The Worst Band In The World" and  "The Wall Street Shuffle" I can hear the influence certainly.

I kind of wonder if they ever toured with ELO as their style seems to be somewhat similar. Vocal harmonies, clean guitar lines, and soaring melodies. I suppose they sound a bit like Supertramp as well.

But their lead vocalist is definitely a little different than both Jeff Lynne and Roger Hodgson.

I dunno, I think I could potentially enjoy all 3 of those bands a ton, even though I'm not sure if their sound varies a lot within each record. But the songwriting seems still rather good. And Sheet Music very well could become one of if not my favorites from 10cc.

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Stevie Wonder - Fulfillingness' First Finale
rel July 22, 1974

Of the 4 or so records in Stevie Wonder's classic period, this is definitely the least well-known. And I honestly don't even recall if I got to hear a lot of it.

"Boogie on Reggae Woman" features a lot of fat synths and an extended harmonica solo.

"You Haven't Done Nothin'" almost sounds like "Superstitious" part 2 in some ways. Similar rhythm and keyboard patch.

Interestingly, this album did rather well at the time, as it won a grammy for Album of the Year and was Stevie's first album to top the Pop Albums Chart.

I guess in sampling some of it, it seems like the clear transition album between Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life.  Some energetic pop/funk, some ballads and some jazz. Although it does seem a lot of the deeper tracks on it are more slowjams and mid tempos. Which having seen all of Songs in the Key of Life live last March, that album does include a fair amount of as well. Those tracks also feature a lot of gang or choir vocals, almost in a gospel way. "It Ain't No Use" maybe being my favorite, as the outro is very uplifting.

Unlikely a favorite Stevie record of mine, but I also follow why it falls into his best period of making albums. Could be a grower.

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Herbie Hancock - Thrust
rel September 6, 1974

Herbie's follow-up to Headhunters, as much as I love that album, I probably owe it to myself to check this one out. It has a similar structure, having 4 tracks between 7 and 11+ minutes.

I guess it has mixed reviews. Some see it as better than Headhunters, but also many found it a step down. I'll have to give it a go at some point to know how I feel.

"Butterfly" I guess was on the live record Flood.

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Gentle Giant - The Power and the Glory
rel September 20, 1974

I do have this on Vinyl, and know it vaguely. Why I say that is I distinctly recall my friend Creighton bringing his copy down to KFAI and playing at least 1 cut off it on the air. And I think he regarded it as his favorite Gentle Giant album. And I have noticed some comments about it at least being one of if not their most underrated album, if not their best.

From the track list, the 1 track that rings a bell is "Cogs in Cogs" from memory.

I dunno, as much as I know some of their others better, my time with GG is still in its infancy, and this could end up becoming a favorite in due time. I've always like the cover art anyway.

Supertramp - Crime of the Century.jpg
Supertramp - Crime of the Century
rel September 1974

This is I guess considered by some, Supertramp's most prog-like record. Although it does include 2 of their biggest hits in "Bloody Well Right" and "Dreamer"

It also has songs like "Rudy" "School" "Asylum" "Hide in Your Shell" and the title track which all clock in well over 5 minutes, which is by pop standards, too long.

I've meant to pick this up, even just on cassette tape soon, just to try and spend some time with this album. Just from sampling it on YouTube, it seems to still include a lot of the Supertramp sound, with harmonica and saxophone, and Rodger Hodgson's vocal lines. Perhaps it uses piano more prominently? ..I guess why it may stand out more than some of their others, I'll have to follow-up this at some point.

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Todd Rundgren's Utopia - Todd Rundgren's Utopia
rel October 4, 1974

I own this record on Vinyl, which is the debut album from Utopia. And it is at least on paper, of the progressive rock ilk, only consisting of 4 tracks, 1 being the closing 30-minute "The Ikon"

Interesting though, as the 1st track, the 14-minute track "Utopia Theme" is actually live.

I've always thought of this record as sharing qualities with Zappa and other jazz-rock, so I should and probably could love it. Time may tell, and it may totally rank alongside other great 70's prog albums and even for 1974 which had a number of other classics in this style.

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King Crimson - Red
rel October 6,1974
This is the 1 Crimson record I have yet to pickup on both vinyl and cd. But I have listened to a lot of it per other sources. And I do love some of the tracks.

"Starless" first and foremost, as I think it is their best song, and one of the best rock epics ever recorded. The saxophone solo is incredible, and the way it gradually builds and crescendos. I don't find a second of it boring.

The title track which is instrumental, I guess I also think of this album for. It's quite rhythmic and dissonant, but has kind of a catchy element and the build works quite well.

"One More Red Nightmare" I know, although I think I will always associate most with my friend Creighton trying to play a version of it on a Celtic instrument, late 1 night at KFAI with my friend John. The stringed instrument did channel David Cross's violin work quite well I recall.

"Fallen Angel" and the live "Providence" I honestly don't recall too well, but probably have heard.

As for 1974, this certainly is among the better albums, although strange to say that even though I don't even know the whole thing. I also look at this as the end of the 2nd era of Crimson of course which is sad, but a great way to go out.

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Jethro Tull - Warchild
rel October 14, 1974
Given this album followed 2 of my favorite albums of all-time in A Passion Play and Thick as a Brick, it really doesn't compare too well. And I have listened to it, but nothing really stands out a lot from memory.

I guess they made this record as they did, as a response to not be doing progressive rock so blatantly, and just doing rock music.

"Bungle in the Jungle" being the 1 single from it, and oddly enough, on many of the Karaoke setups at bars and things, it is the only song they have from Tull for some reason. (and not "Living in the Past" or "Locomotive Breathe" for example).

Many of their other 70's records I grew to enjoy, but this one, especially considering when they released it, kind of sticks out like a sore thumb. But maybe I need to revisit it again and my mind may change.

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Electric Light Orchestra - Eldorado
rel October 1974

I own a copy of this album on Vinyl. And the cover is sort of iconic. And ELO, a band who I know a few of their radio hits, but have meant to listen to some of their records, and this was one that was recommended I think.

"Can't Get it Out of My Head" and "Boy Blue" were the 2 singles from Eldorado. The former, I do recognize as 1 of their less known radio tracks.

I mean this album has the ELO sound of the strings, falsetto vocal harmonies, and such. But how if differs from some of their others, I'm unclear having not listened to it in full.

I guess it's a concept album, and the track "Mister Kingdom" was acussed of sounding like The Beatles, specifically "Across the Universe."

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Queen - Sheer Heart Attack
rel November 8, 1974

Queen II was released in March, and then 8 months later they followed up with Sheer Heart Attack. The 2 records are pretty close in quality, but I suppose I'd be lying if I didn't say I found this album slightly better.

While it was/is a radio hit, I still love "Killer Queen" in its playful quality. The falsettos are magical, and Brian May's guitar solo is one of his best.

It also includes favorites like "In the Lap of the Gods,"+ "In the Lap of the Gods Revisited," "Flick of the Wrist," and the incredibly fast and riffy rocker "Stone Cold Crazy"

I suppose with each early album, Queen kept getting better and more interesting, and what would come next followed that pattern/progression.

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Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
rel November 18, 1974

This was the 1st Genesis album I heard, back in the late 90's after seeing it suggested. And while I did buy it and liked some of it, I remember struggling with it. It really took me a few years later to revisit it after falling in love with their previous records.

It's 100 minutes long and 23 tracks, and I guess overall, it is pretty cohesive and flows pretty well. I guess one thing that allowed me to appreciate it more, was hearing Kevin Gilbert's band Giraffe cover most of it at ProgFest 1994. Songs like "The Lamia" "The Colony of the Slipperman" I certainly got more into.

I mean I still regard this as the worst of all the Gabriel-Genesis records (sans for the debut album From Genesis to Revelation), but I suppose that is only a half-true statement. I say that, because I see it as their most ambitious record certainly, and unlike Pink Floyd's double album The Wall, there is still way more good music, than not. And I also would put it above every record after Gabriel left.

My favorites?

-"Back in NYC" ..I love so much about this song, but maybe my favorite part is the line "No Time for Romantic Escape. When your fluffy heart is ready for rape, no. Off we go, off we go, off we go, off we go. "

-"Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist"  absolutely love the Steve Hackett guitar melody.

-"Riding the Scree"..some of the harmonic use is magical.

-"In the Cage" this was the 1st Genesis song I ever loved, and many people like it, even who don't like this album. The keyboard solo is fantastic and a trademark of both Genesis and progressive rock.

-The opening title tack and "Fly on a Windshield"

-"Lilywhite Lilith" which opens the 2nd half or 3rd side.

-"Carpet Crawlers" as much as this was maybe the token pop single from this album, it's still a wonderful and gorgeous ballad. "You've got to get in, to get out" 

"It" the closing track, which is as catchy or almost dance-able a tune as they ever wrote. Also the lyrical nod/reference to the Stones with the "It's only knock and knowall, but I like it" Which has this great upllifting, end-of-a-journey feeling, like with many concept albums.

The concept itself? I do like the story or narrative that the album includes, and I've spent time trying to understand the story, which not unlike many others, I still am mystified by a lot of it. But the jist of it to me is the story of Rael, a young Puerto Rican man who is in New York City and wanders into the sewer system when he either gets separated from his brother John, or in the time he comes to NYC, his brother is missing (or he is just looking for his brother). And the different entanglements and adventures he experiences in trying to find him.

I guess I like to think of, maybe per the way it does sync so well with the movie Dark City, that the story/adventure/experience is similar to that of that movie. I mean it is SciFi I suppose, and not without many angles you can interpret it. I know Peter Gabriel has had at one point, tried to pursue an actual Stage Adaptation aka "On Broadway" or maybe off it. Maybe it'll happen someday, and some of the concept and story may be more clear. But I suppose part of the charm of this album and the story is how ambiguous and mysterious it is.

And to think, it was released just 10 days before my favorite Yes album in November of 1974. Listening to those 2 records for the 1st time, at the same time, seems almost mind blowing.

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Yes - Relayer
rel November 28, 1974
This has been and still is my favorite Yes album. I went into a lot of it as many details can be found HERE.

"The Gates of Delirium" is just a trip I never get sick of. Moraaz is so good on that, and the interplay between all the members. The battle section probably being my favorite. It's really as good as progressive rock can get in terms of adding so many different tracks that complement each other so well. And everything and the kitchen sink in terms of a non-stop assault of musicianship.

"Soundchaser" I grew to love, even as odd as it can be.

"And To Be Over" every moment is gorgeous.

This is likely my 1974 album of the year, but given when it (and many others) came out, it would have likely swooped down and grabbed the throne in the last few weeks, although it's amazing how many other records that showed up at the end as well. It's almost like 1974 was a year when bands wrote and recorded great records, and got them out at the last minute.

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Sparks - Propaganda
rel November 1974

An odd choice or band I suppose for myself, but given my love for Apes and Androids, I saw their name suggested multiple times, thus I've wanted to get into them ever since, but haven't gotten around to it. They were sort of a glam pop/rock band, but perhaps given it was in the mid 70's when this album came out, they also had some art rock or prog in their sound I guess.

And this was 1 of 2 albums I wishlisted back in 2008 or 2009. It included 4 singles I guess "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" maybe being the most successful. In sampling that one, yeah, it's pretty cool. Symphonic in a way.

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Gryphon - Red Queen to Gryphon Three
rel December 1974

This is my favorite or even just the 1 record I know somewhat well from Gryphon. Back when I went to Nearfest in the early 2000's, not only some people at the festival, but a couple of my friends I attended Nearfest with would not stop talking about these guys. And they played some of their music for me there I recall, this likely being the album.

And I'm pretty sure my friend Creighton played something off this album on KFAI with me back around that same time.

Gryphon are one of the token Canterbury bands, and this is probably their most popular record. It's all instrumental rock, which has almost a classical-like or chamber/baroque tone and texture to some of it. The synth patches and the use of recorder, bassoon and krumhorn seem to be a distinct part of their sound.

This album, like some other records from 1974 on this list, only includes 4 songs, all between 8+ and almost 11 minutes. In just sampling some of this again, the 2nd track "Second Spasm" has this very cool driving rhythm on guitar and bass that now I remember why I enjoyed these guys.

Also noteworthy how Gryphon went on tour, supporting Yes on the Relayer tour in North America that November and December, and the final show I recall, was in St.Paul per this link. They even joind Yes on stage for the 2nd encore for "South Side of the Sky." I've always wanted to hear that show and that encore Gryphon did with Yes. Maybe someday.

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Stanley Clarke - Stanley Clarke
rel December 1974

Stanley Clarke's 2nd solo LP, that I think I own after finding a cheap copy a few years ago. I guess I think of his solo albums 1st and foremost with School Days, but this album includes some of the same ilk. "Vulcan Princess" almost makes me wonder if he brought some of the ideas from that tune,to Return to Forever with "Vulcan Worlds" since the song came out around the same time. Perhaps they are connected in some way?

Bill Connors, Jan Hammer and Tony Williams are among the personnel on this record, so it's kind of a cool blend of jazz-rock allstars like many of the fusion albums of the 70's were it seemed.

The 13+ minute "Life Suite" which is a 4-part suite, closes out this album as a highlight.

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Jerry Goodman and Jan Hammer - Like Children
rel 1974
Many details can be found HERE as this album became an all-time favorite. It is partially a product of the transition Mahavishnu Orchestra went through after Birds of Fire . I'm not sure what all went down, but per Wikipedia, Everyone left M.O. after the live album Between Nothingness and Eternity, sans John McLaughlin.

Like Children does include some of the music that was on BNE, from memory, the ending piano part from "I Wonder," which also ended up on The Lost Trident Sessions which came out in 1999.

I guess to not rehash exactly what I wrote on that entry a couple of years ago, this is just one of those records that I had never heard fusion quite like it. And the production and compositions just are so tight and clean. It is one of the greatest examples I've heard of less being more, but also including a ton of ideas crammed concretely into each song.

And "Country and Eastern Music" has such a funky ear-worm, I love it each time I hear it.

Certainly one of the best from 1974, which what bugs me for 1974 at a glance, when it actually was released is not clear.My guess would be it came out sometime in the Spring or Summer just given Apocalypse from Mahavishnu was released in March.  So McLaughlin got a new lineup for the band either late in '73 or early '74. Goodman and Hammer likely started making this album around that same time.

But that's just hypothetical guessing. But just in terms of 1974, stuff like Red and Relayer came out much later in the year, so this could have been on top of the mountain for quite awhile.

Return to Forever - Where Have I Known You Before
rel Fall/Winter 1974

I have this record on Vinyl of course, but like so many others in my collection, haven't spent the time with it. But among the RTF catalog, it's considered one of their better albums. It is of course maybe most known as Al Di Meola's 1st record with the band, and he was only 20 years old in fact, which makes his performance all the more impressive.

In looking at the track list, it includes "Vulcan Worlds" which I know and is one of my favorite RTF tracks. The interplay between Corea and Di Meola is awesome. And the patches Chick uses are very distinct, 1 section resembles a bass.

"Beyond the 7th Galaxy" is I guess a sequel or follow-up to the title track off their previous record Hymn of the 7th Galaxy.

The closing 14+ epic "Song to the Pharoah Kings" has a lot of minor key and use of darker tones, but overall it works and is one of the best lengthly compositions RTF ever did. The patch used in much of it does remind me of that majestic texture on a lot of No Mystery. I suppose it does kind of sound egyptian in some ways, hence the *Pharoah* in the title.

Marvin Hamlisch - The Sting Soundtrack
rel early 1974 (film was December 25, 1973)

I'm including this as something noteworthy from 1974. The cover/arrangement of Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" I heard quite often growing up, as some friends of mine in grade school would play it sometimes when a piano was in the room. Little did I realize it was not Joplin's but Marvin Hamlisch whose it was. Plus I did catch at least parts of this film over the years on local tv, and always associated "The Entertainer" with it.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Coheed and Cambria - The Color Before the Sun (2014-2015)

9/5/15 5:49AM

New song "Here to Mars" and the artwork and track list are below. I am getting kind of luke warm about this record. On 1 hand, I don't expect them to make another record as good as Good Apollo 1 or In Keeping Secrets, although many of their records since have had some good songs, but something about them has not worked overall for me (compressed mixing of the cymbals, swallowing into the mic namely from a narrative between or within a song).

I guess we'll see as this record drops in a little over a month.


Coheed and Cambria

1.  Island
2.  Eraser
3.  Colors
4.  Here To Mars
5.  Ghost
6.  Atlas
7.  Young Love
8.  You Got Spirit, Kid
9.  The Audience
10.  Peace To The Mountain

7/9/15 9:18PM

B-mouth has some more about the record. Release date is October 9th. "You Got Spirit, Kid" is officially released tomorrow, July 10th.

This album is their 1st album that is not a concept or tied-in to their other albums "Amory Wars" concept, which honestly is fine by me. But then again, I haven't really been into any of their albums since Good Apollo I in 2005. GA II was okay I guess, and they have had some nice tracks here and there on the subsequent albums.  Their last album, The Afterman: The Descension I honestly thought I would like, but from memory, the narrative bits with the swallowing close to the mic totally ruined it, despite the (mostly) lack of clipping cymbals in the mixing (which also from memory, was a big issue with some of their others like Ascension and Year of the Black Rainbow)

This 1st single is not bad, although some comments are saying it's insanely catchy, which I agree it's catchy, but not like some of the highly memorable hooks in GA 1.

I guess I have come to find like with many other bands I've enjoyed in the last decade that I loved initially, but follow-up records have not excited me as much, I will check out this album, but not expect an amazing comeback. But if it happens, I'm all the more happy.