Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Spock's Beard - Noise Floor (2017-2018)

Coming out on May 25th, NDV is back on drums. More melodic.

Will check out of course.


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Spock’s Beard announce 13th studio album ‘Noise Floor’ 

Legendary US progressive rockers Spock’s Beard have announced the release of their 13th studio album ‘Noise Floor’ for 25th May 2018. As announced previously, for this album Ted Leonard, Alan Morse, Dave Meros & Ryo Okumoto are joined in the studio once again by drummer & original member Nick D’Virgilio, who records his first album with the band since 2010’s ‘X’.

Spock's Beard are a band who are in a continual state of evolution, as is always the case with genuinely creative musicians. And their new album, 'Noise Floor', fits perfectly into this process.
“We are always about evolution, not revolution. But what we have done this time is make the songs more melodic,” believes vocalist/guitarist Ted Leonard. “We still love our crazy prog, but now appreciate how important it is to grab people's attention early on.”

As with all Spock's Beard songs, most of the new album was written by the individual members, and then brought to the rest of the band as high quality demos. “We all do this type of thing in our home studios,” adds Leonard. “So, by the time they reach the stage where the entire band get to judge them, they are really developed, and therefore everyone can make a reasoned judgement.”
Much of what you will listen to here is very much the product of fresh inspiration from the Californian band.

One key change on this album sees the return of drummer Nick D'Virgilio, who originally left in 2011. There are also two violinists, a cello player, a viola player and an English horn featured on the album, thereby giving the sound a slightly more evocative and persuasive twist.

The album was once again engineered by long-time collaborator Rich Mouser and will be released as a 2CD digipak (featuring an EP of material from the same sessions), gatefold 2LP + 2CD & as digital download.
The track-listing is as follows:
Disc 1 – Noise Floor
1. To Breathe Another Day
2. What’s Become of Me
3. Somebody’s Home
4. Have We All Gone Crazy
5. So This Is Life
6. One So Wise
7. Box of Spiders
8. Beginnings

Disc 2 – Cutting Room Floor
1. Days We’ll Remember
2. Bulletproof
3. Vault
4. Armageddon Nervous

Look out for more information in the coming weeks!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Tax the Heat - Change Your Position (2017-2018)

So That Drummer Guy mentioned this UK band to me earlier today, per an interview he did with 1 of the members which is below.

I've of course never heard of them; and I checked out 1 of their most popular tracks from their last/debut album from 2016, and it's really quite good. Full of energy, riffy blues rock that reminds me of the likes of Wolfmother or White Denim as he compared them to.

Anyway, so this new album Change Your Position comes out on March 9th and I will definitely look to checking it out just hear that track below and the album preview.

Preorder link

Release date March 9, 2018

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1. Money in the Bank
2. Change Your Position
3. Playing With Fire
4. All That Medicine
5. On The Run
6. The Last Time
7. Taking The Hit
8. My Headspace
9. We Are Consumers
10. Cut Your Chains
11. Wearing A Disguise
12. The Symphony Has Begun

Inferi - Revenant (2017-2018)

The song below is awesome. It's odd, this American Metal band are listed as Melodic Death Metal, but unless I wasn't paying close enough attention, but I was getting more of a tech/death vibe.

So be it, I'm excited for this album, after turning my head a few times the other hearing that 1st single/last track "Behold the Bearer if Light."

1. Within the Dead Horizon
2. Condemned Assailant
3. A Beckoning Thrall
4. Through the Depths
5. Enraged and Drowning Sullen
6. Thy Menacing Gaze
7. Malevolent Sanction
8. Smolder in the Ash
9. Behold the Bearer of Light
releases April 21, 2018

Grimus - Unmanageable Species (2017-2018)

edit 2:
Physical CD
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1 Heart To Break 3:31
2 You End I 3:19
3 Dysfunctional 4:11
4 Albatross 4:29
5 Piblokto 4:32
6 Carelessly 3:15
7 Sunrise 3:22
8 TV and Booze 3:19
9 Illusions Have No Flaws 4:45

edit: 2nd video/single "Piblokto"

 I'm adding this here, but it's a bit hard to be fully confident without some research or more details, especially considering it seems this is being initially released at a Concert

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But from the info I found and the article linked below, the concert and album is coming on Friday, February 23rd. I wonder if they will put it up on Bandcamp or 1 of the streaming sites (like the single below is) with more clear details.

Grimus of course are from Romania and their music is vaguely similar to Ours and some other bands I enjoy. I really enjoy all their albums, namely their last one from 2014 Emergence.

The 1st single "Carlessly" is below.

Article (in Romanian,but translated per Google)

The winter of 2018 brought a new material signed by Grimus, "Unmanageable Species". Recorded and mixed in Germany in August 2017, the disc will be released on February 23 through a concert to be held at Fratelli Studios in Bucharest. All nine tracks are in English, produced by Jan Kerscher.

Cover of the album

Track List?

Heart To Break
You End I
TV And Booze
Illusions Have No Flaws

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer (2017-2018)

 Details and 2 new songs/video

“Dirty Computer” - an emotion picture by Janelle Monáe arrives on 4.27.18

14 tracks per itunes

edit: Now having heard and watched both, I can follow this post she made on Twitter

These 2 songs/videos are more "out there" and controversial than many if not all of her other songs/videos. "Django Jane" being explicit verbally and basically being a Rap.
Although it is in a lot of ways taking the idea behind "Q.U.E.E.N."  "Categorize me I DEFY EVERY LABEL" etc.

The "Make Me Feel" song is not bad, and the video, I guess is explicitly provocative and sexual, which also seems like a departure to a point for Janelle. But I can see finding that fine.

I guess I like both tracks, but especially Django Jane, I hope fits a concept to this new album (although I like a lot of the pop-culture references, Decepticons?, and I would rather listen to Janelle rap over 99% of other rap or hip-hop artists...blechkendrickblechlamarblech).

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No release date, but interesting to see Tessa Thompson in the trailer.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Modern progressive CHAMBER/BAROQUE/ORCHESTRAL (Rock/Pop/Folk)

Alright, so I'm going to go with what I have here to avoid drawing this thing out too far and having it become more novel-length than it should be at this point.

Modern progressive Chamber/Baroque/Orchestral Pop/Rock/Folk bands. I suppose many would just call them "Indie" bands with some extra textures and players, but I hate the term 'indie" and think their use of violin, cello, trumpet, trombone, viola, flute, clarinet, oboe, tuba, harp, mandolin, xylophone, etc, etc stands out.

And these are MODERN artists, per of course you can say many artists like Frank Zappa, ELO, Jethro Tull, Chicago, Kansas, King Crimson, Genesis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Renaissance, the Moody Blues,
etc used these kinds of instruments of course long before any of these bands formed.

And of course I'm sure I didn't include many and if necessary, maybe I'll do a Part 2 or a REDUX at some point, an Update or whatever.

Of course below is a list of featured artists and then another longer lists who probably also deserve more detail about, namely the artist that feature 1 like a violin or mandolin or something, but I kind of see them as just a 1-added instrument only I suppose.

Post-Rock though, I think there's tons of them, per these extra instruments are almost a trait of modern Post Rock, or the recent stuff from the last decade especially. And frankly, those are the Post Rock bands I often enjoy, rather than the Explosions in the Sky-worship sound.

Anyway, I'm glad this is finally getting published. I may try and make a podcast again or a video about them, but maybe not. I do think including Dirt Poor Robins kind of pushed this entry to get done more as they have this style and

Also mind you, all of these artists ARE GOOD SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS. I.e. other groups (i.e. Joanna Newsom, Arcade Fire, lol) may use some of these elements, but their songs don't do ANYTHING FOR ME per I would not call them "progressive" or even just worth my time at this point.

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The Polyphonic Spree

This was the 1st band I discovered that really made all the instruments (and members/size) a THING as in, a large part of their sound. They included maybe 15 or more instrumentalists, and then an additional number of singers that I think did percussion. The whole Phil Spector WALL-OF-SOUND fits in a lot of ways. Multiple drummers, guitars,keys, and then stuff like trumpet, sax, oboe, french horn, violin, cello, flute, clarinet..not sure.

I'm not sure if I want to scan their Wiki or RYM just to see, but the point being, they added a ton of extra/non-traditional rock instruments.

And yet, their SONGS were songs, not a large mess of sound.

As far as their catalog, I enjoy most of their records, although I've never found myself obsessed with any of them. The Fragile Army is probably the record I would say is my favorite, and I know St.Vincent was with them on that album (she may have been on others as well I think).

Together We're Heavy and The Beginning Stages of.. are kind of conceptual or at least structured/labeled like Suites or Classical pieces.

I should add though, I kind of concluded, while they do involve a lot of complex arrangements with all the instruments and members, the music they write is not as odd or adventurous as some others on this list. I.e. they use a lot of Major Keys and don't use odd times that much; so how "prog" are they really? I dunno. I still think they are unique and at least not making music to get on the radio really.

Also their concerts and sound in general does seem kind of cult-like almost religious in some ways. Even just with the Robes they wear on stage I suppose.

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Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens may be the most influential and well-known among all the artists mentioned in this entry. However, the odd thing is the actual Chamber/Baroque music he has done, is really only a fraction of his output. And frankly, only a fraction of it that I like.

Illinois and Michigan are frankly the 2 albums I think of him most for the emphasis on Chamber/Baroque instrumentation.

Although I must admit, I don't know his debut album A Sun Came nor even the 60+ minute EP All Delighted People that well to know how much they are used.

But I do recall many of his other albums, including ironically my favorite The Age of Adz they are not noticed if not there at all.

But to summarize, the horns and strings are well found and represented on those 2 concept albums about the 2 US States. Although not highly in technical standpoint, but at times they get complex and very layered. They do seem to be highly using FOLK MUSIC though, which is common, but not necessarily the case with many of the other artists on this list.

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Cloud Cult

These guys are definitely 1 of my favorites, and while I love so many aspects to their songs; mind you many kinds of songs if you go back to their early period; I definitely feel their use and emphasis to use Violin, Cello and Trumpet among other instruments, I love.

I think Sarah Perbix plays a fair amount of Trumpet and even some French Horn when I've seen them live in recent years.

Which albums do they stand out the most? off the top of my head, I'm not sure. I suppose Lightchasers comes to mind as many of the riffs not only come from Craig's guitar, but the Cello. And the violin often helps amplify and drive the rhythm.

I mean compared to some groups, maybe they don't use them as much, but per they have had members just on those instruments for over a decade, they certainly are a big part of what their sound is.

Shannon Frid I think joined the band sometime in the Mid 2000's and certainly since then (The Meaning of 8 or even Happy Hippo onward).

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This is one of my favorites among this list. I guess to just get it out of the way, they came from Michigan and came up not long after Sufjan did, in the early 2000's. So once a guy online was telling me how while he enjoys Anathallo, he felt Sufjan kind of was the 1st to do this sort of thing.

Which I can't argue,  but I will argue their music is different from Sufjan. Namely per how energetic and even heavy it gets at times. They aren't Metal mind you, but even on their debut album
Luminous Luminescence in the Atlas Position reminds me more of Tool at times than Sufjan.

They didn't have as much with the extra instruments on that one (although I recall there are some horns from memory), but the subsequent releases, Sparrows, Holiday at Sea and Hymns EPs and especially the masterpiece many look to in 2006's Floating World, definitely features horns, strings, extra percussion and what not.

Plus of all the people who played on it, Timbre is included on Harp (and vocals harmonies?)

Their final album, 2008's Canopy Glow has a lot the chamber/baroque instrumentation as well.

Anathallo honestly were an awesome band, that aren't around anymore like many bands from the 2000's, but I think even if their influence isn't direct, their music can certainly be included in the development and changes in artists using more than just traditional rock instruments.

Margot and the Nuclear So and So's

Margot and the Nuclear So and So's began not that long after Anathallo, but I didn't get wind of them until maybe late in 2006. Their debut album Dust of Retreat uses trumpet and cello, harmonica, violin at times. Although like Sufjan, the songs are still largely driven by guitar and keys along with Richard Edwards vocals.

The same can be said for the 2 follow-up records Animal! and Not Animal! which came in 2008.

Unfortunately, the music they have done since, I think largely per dramatic lineup changes, has dismissed a lot of the Chamber/Baroque (progressive) elements.

I'm sure there were good reasons for that to happen, but as a fan who was loving those 1st 3 albums, I still feel the loss of that style. Thankfully, many artists have come since both chronologically and on my radar.

Will Margot ever go back to it? I'm skeptical, but some fans are fine with that. My biggest thing is to find out what people like Andy Fry are doing now. I even recall chatting with him about Marillion once, lol.

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Jared Micah and Hats

Jared Micah and Hats are 1 of if not the most obscure artist on this list. I'm not sure when they began, but from what I know, they only released the 1 debut album T.C.H.T.O.B. in 2007, an album I really enjoy. It's a lot like the Floating World period Anathallo, but with a bit of a religious and melancholy approach.

Although if I recall, there is 1 track which includes a girl crying for a bit.

I think they broke up around 2008 per there's an article talking about Jared moving to NewYork which I think he even ended up playing with a guy I met once named Zeke Zumbach. But I remember at 1 point there was info about a 2nd record, but obviously it never came out.

What Jared is up to now? I should try and research.

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The Dear Hunter

The Dear Hunter, I guess I don't need to elaborate in huge detail per I've done so with for what seems like countless entries in here (they may be the band I've mentioned most, lol).

But certainly they have and still do at times feature chamber/baroque instrumentation. In recent years, Act IV and V namely, they used "The Awesome Orchestra."

But I suppose I think of some of the string and horn parts most in Act II and maybe Act III even at times. I distinctly remember even seeing video of Casey on MYSPACE in 2007 playing a Cello if I'm not mistaken, in a Making-of Act II clip.

I guess unlike Cloud Cult and some others on this list, they don't actually have any Full-Time members who play cello or violin or trumpet, but they do incorporate those elements more prominently than some (even like a band like dredg for example).

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The River Empires

Definitely among this list, they go toward the top of my favorites. The 1 Double Album Epilogue
 they released in 2010 is an epic masterpiece and remains my favorite release this current decade.

Jessy Ribordy has Falling Up and the TRE spinoff The Gloomcatcher, but this is where he totally blew me away. The lush instrumentation of Strings namely (also horns and percussion, and mandolin)
Many of the pieces are really modern classical works.

I am not sure, but I thought Jessy had an assortment of musicians involved (per maybe why it took so long to release?) but much of  those arrangements may have been done with something like ProTools?

edit: NO WAY. I don't have my CD in front of me, but per Discogs. Cello, French Horn, Fiddle, Oboe, Flute, Trombone, Tuba, etc.

Anyway, I've written much about them in the past, but certainly having Casey Crescenzo involved along with the approach to making a big concept album, shares much in common with the artists doing this style.

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Emanuel and the Fear

When I was 1st introduced to Emanuel and the Fear in 2010, from an online-friend named Sara, she noticed how much I loved Apes and Androids and they may appeal to me. Which I follow to a point, but they definitely have differences.

Their debut album Listen includes violin, flute, cello and even trombone. I really was more reminded of the likes of ELO or something I guess.

The subsequent albums, The Janus Mirror and Primitive Smile, I recall used a lot of those extra instruments, although the albums and songs themselves don't stand out as much, so I guess I don't necessarily think of them. I suppose in fairness, The Janus Mirror in 2012 I did like, but for some reason, failed to go back to, which I guess I still should.

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She is a Harpist, maybe first and foremost. So that alone makes me think of her music under this umbrella. And while her album Little Flowers features other things even beyond the brilliant Harp arrangements, I think she emphasized those instruments even more on the 2015 Double Album Opus Sun and Moon.

She used an orchestra on the 2nd CD I know, although that one is more spotty per the Choral/Opera elements. And the work on the 1st disc involves a lot of things even beyond her Harp arrangements.

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Marketa Irglova

While I might not think of her solo music emphasizing the extra instruments as much as others on this list, they still do enough. She is doing Orchestral Folk/Pop of a sort. The arrangements are lush enough, even though the large base of her sound is her voice and use of piano and other folk elements.

But looking at Muna's credits, Trombone, Violin, Daf, Banjo, Upright Bass are among the credits list. And Anar includes Sax, Trumpet, Trombone and Cello among the credits.

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Typhoon were a bit of a breath of fresh air to discover in 2011 when I found their new EP A New Kind of House. I guess it was partially per seeing Anathallo break up and Margot having those lineup changes, Typhoon were a great find, and a band who toured.

White Lighter came out in 2013 of course and it really raised my interest even more. And then just a month ago, their new album Offerings, while it doesn't have as much emphasis on the extra instruments, still includes more than enough to not feel they changed that great part of their sound.

They are a large ensemble, or were at least at 1 point a couple of years ago when I saw them at The Cedar Cultural center. At least 17 or 18, maybe more like 25 members including trumpet, violin, cello, viola, banjo.

Hunger and Thirst, A New Kind of House and White Lighter may include it more, but even with a bit of a shortening of membership, they still a lot of extra instruments and in a progressive way.

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Mother Falcon

I found Mother Falcon around the same time as I found Typhoon in 2011, and immediately enjoyed their album Alhambra. As the pic above shows, they have multiple cellists and other extra instrumentalists.

And in some ways, I kind of wish they would receive the same attention as bands like Typhoon or even The Family Crest, per they've been pretty prolific with an album every couple years with You Knew in 2013 and Good Luck Have Fun in 2015.

I think some of the members have day jobs teaching music which may be part of why their momentum hasn't been at the same level as some other bands.

I will never forget some post on FB from them about Stravinsky and Punk and I couldn't help but chime in with the fact Yes were influenced by Stravinsky and being progressive. But so be it, the fact they draw from Stravinsky seems like a large reason to see them as a modern baroque or classical group.

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Speaking of artists drawing from classical music, the pianist from iamthemorning Gleb Kolyadin I recall mentioning his influence/interest in classical music. And iamthemorning do use Cello, Harp, Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet and a lot of other percussion and instruments. Namely on their last record Lighthouse from 2016.

The fact they come from Russia and the history with Classical music there may have something to do with that being a part of their sound. Although I guess I think of Marjana's vocals and the piano 1st and foremost with their music, but definitely notice a lot of the chamber/baroque textures at times.

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The Family Crest

The Family Crest have become a favorite of mine ever since seeing them open for Mother Falcon at the 7th Street Entry in 2014, and then checking out both of their records at the time, Beneath the Brine and The Village.

They used many kinds of orchestral and chamber instruments, and not just from full-time members of the band, but in looking at the credits on Beneath the Brine, there's many extra musicians.

Flute, Viola, Violin and Cello among the members of the band.

The EP Prelude to War also includes a good amount of saxophone, and the also seems to be showing up on their upcoming record The War: Act I per just the 1st 2 tracks shared.

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Dirt Poor Robins

The final artist to feature here is the band whose blown me away over the last couple of weeks in Dirt Poor Robins. I'm not sure if a lot of the string, woodwind and horns are played on their albums, but I suspect a lot. From Trumpet to Cello, to Violin to Trombone I think.'

And with the vaudeville/ragtime styles they include, using those extra instruments seems almost unavoidable. But the arrangements of them are equally impressive.

I love the way they use them, much like The Dear Hunter or Cloud Cult, they really serve the songs and even concept/story very well. I think they use them as well as any artist on this list and I hope they continue to do so.

Post Rock/Metal
Godspeed You Black Emperor
Sigur Ros
Do Make Say Think
The Most Serene Republic
Nordic Giants

Violin, Cello-Driven or Mandolin-featured
Clann Zu
Murder by Death
Kiss Kiss
Radical Face
The Red Paintings
The Stiletto Formal
Crippled Black Phoenix 
My Latest Novel
Judgement Day
The Red Paintings
Bent Knee
Miracles of Modern Science
The Pneumatic Transit
Crooked Fiddle Band

Orphaned Land
maudlin of the Well
Subterranean Masquerade
Diablo Swing Orchestra
Ne Obliviscaris

The Reign of Kindo
Forest Park

Amanda Palmer
March Fourth Marching Band
Janelle Monae (Archandroid namely)
The Decemberists
Brooke Waggoner

New Videos: Kimbra, Sculptured, Dirt Poor Robins, The Family Crest

A couple of new videos, or 2 parts of 1 stream of consciousness of mostly music topics. 2 new cds and the Kimbra set list too.

Of course the 1st video was ended early per some people showed up while I was babbling about Dirt Poor Robins.

The 2nd part filmed like an hour later, largely per I came home and was on my own (filming videos doesn't work too well when the wife and mother-in-law are in the same room(s).

The Sculptured CD that I bought/showed there Apollo Ends is actually the 2nd Sculptured album and rym shows it being released in 2000. The 1st Sculptured album The Spear of the Lily Is Aureoled came out in 1998 (again per rym) and I have on order, but it has yet to arrive. But when The Liminal Phase does come out, I will try and do a longer feature on them I think, and hopefully show all their albums.

The Janelle Monae movie with Steve Carrell, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger directed by Robert Zemeckis is called The Women of Marwen. Also the film from 2017 I was spacing on was Hidden Figures.

The Muse tune is "Thought Contagion"

details of course not always rememberd off the top of your head.

Anyway, more updates coming, podcasts and more physical stuff to show soon.

Kimbra - Set List 2/5/18
Sculptured - Apollo Ends
Dirt Poor Robins - The Raven Locks Act 1

Dirt Poor Robins The Family Crest The Dear Hunter Janelle Monae Muse

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Muse - Thought Cantagion (2018) [1B]

not bad. The video I think may beat the song it self.

Thriller much?

Stranger Things, The Goldbergs and 80's nostalgia.

Arcade Game, a Lamborghini Countach, even the Vampires and look of the that scene screams 80's Teen Horror/Teen Vampire movie or tv show.

Also I just noticed how "Black Mirror" the Anthology Scifi show, was an influence on their new music/album (a suggested video anyway).



Not going to elaborate a ton, but I likely posted about this new doc last year (March 2017), as there was a lengthly trailer (10 or 15 mins maybe?).

The BBC then went on to Pull it much to Andy Partridge and the other XTC guys dismay and disappointment I imagine (and fans like myself).

But I guess it started airing on Showtime within the last few weeks.

Which I guess is great to hear about, save for the fact I don't get Showtime (don't PAY for it anyway).

But the wife's friend does (we saw the George Michael documentary Freedom per her help).

So hopefully either with her help again, or another means eventually (Netflix, Amazon Prime, or maybe even Redbox or On Demand) I'll get to see this.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dirt Poor Robins - TBA (2017-2019)

Dirt Poor Robins 20 Questions on FB Live

Neil talks about it in the Facebook Live video I finally got around to checking out in-full today.

Around the 35 or 40 min mark, he explains some of the details


1) have 1 song per month released starting in April 2018 all the way through April 2019

2) There will be a Podcast where Neil explains/talks about each song and/or lyrics and the concept each month I thought he said.

3) a Graphic Novel for this concept story is in the works and I'm not sure, but it may with this, told in poetic form (or he may have been referring to The Raven Locks story/graphic novel and possibly a stage production

The Raven Locks concept/story very well may be done, or on hiatus, I dunno.

Really good info none-the-less.

This very well also may be a Patreon thing like Kindo/TROK and Three did a few years back.

I'm really looking forward to it now. April ain't too far away!

Also another DPR note, Neil has ANOTHER band called No More Kings with Pete Mitchell of Interstates I believe, and it's pretty power-pop oriented. I haven't been able to check them out yet, but they have like 3 or 4 albums as well. I do like what I've heard.

aka Neil DeGraide is a musical genius!'

I also like some of the questions answered about The Dear Hunter and Jellyfish. 

Lost in Vegas - Reacts to RUSH - WORKING MAN

Another funny and smile-inducing Rush song reaction video. These guys are GOLD with more or less any prog or metal videos. My only beef is it sounded like some of the version they heard was edited, but so be it.

Keep em coming guys!

"The Trees" would be AWESOME!

also 2112 (The Overture + The Temples of Syrinx sections)

I'd love to request/suggest some others, but many that come to mind (Natural Science for 1) are probably TOO LONG for them.  But if they keep loving Rush, who knows?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

AMR Podcast #10: DIRT POOR ROBINS, Kimbra, Electric Dreams

New podcast, which unfortunately was a little rushed. I covered DPR pretty well in a short duration of time.

Electric Dreams I should have spent more time and giving more details about it and more episodes, but maybe I will soon in a video or another podcast.

The Kimbra thing was somewhat rehash of the entry and the video I uploaded yesterday. I probably should have made it the day after the show like the entrty, but so be it.

Kevin Gilbert's "Shrug (Because of You)" per Dave Kerzner on Cruise to the Edge 2018

omg, this singer SCOTT MEDINA sounds INCREDIBLY LIKE KEVIN's almost scary. I'm both in shock, awe, jealous, and would LOVE to hear him sing more Kevin and/or wonder what original music he's done. Maybe he was a fan on Cruise to the Edge? or  is in Dave Kerzner's band? or a friend of Dave's?

Monday, February 12, 2018

VIDEO: Shadow Gallery VINYL+ Kimbra concert comments

Unfortunately the memory card filled up unexpectedly (I need to delete a ton of things on it, although it can take some time to do oddly).

But I just showed that Shadow Gallery vinyl I got last week from Korea, and then per the Kimbra concert and apparel, I make a comment or 2 about it. I maybe want to record a Podcast about it soon to follow-up that long review I did last week.

DIRT POOR ROBINS: Favorite New Band in 2018


So, after catching on initially last week to this band Dirt Poor Robins, with Act 3, I wanted to follow-up and post an entry that is more extensive,

I highlighted and described most of my favorite tracks from All the Acts and the 2 previous albums The Cage and The Last Days of Leviathan, although I'll confess, I hadn't listened to all of those 1st 2 albums until today and am still taking much of the material in.

But I can already say my feeling last week about Dirt Poor Robins being a new *favorite* band is accurate. Probably the best new-band-to-me since maybe Small Leaks Sink Ships back in 2015. They are just so good at songwriting and composing varied parts of songs, melodies, dynamics, dreamy, mesmerizing sections. Kate DeGraide is an excellent singer and many of the vocal lines and layers of vocals, chants, and such just stand out and add to me wanting to go back to them.

I mean if I had to rate or have on rym, all the albums, my ranking would probably go:

The Raven Locks Act 3
The Raven Locks Act 2
The Last Days of Leviathan
The Raven Locks Act 1
The Cage

But every record has multiple songs that are among their best. The Cage. "The Hollywood Song" the more times I hear it, has become one of my favorites. It's incredibly catchy and also the lyrics hit home or in a way remind me of Kevin Gilbert and much of The Shaming of the True's message. Also a little System of a Down I suppose as they have more than 1 song about Hollywood.

I suppose it is also worth adding some of the artists they remind me of or are influenced by. From Jellyfish, to Amanda Palmer/The Dresden Dolls, to even Evanescence or some other Female-Fronted Heavy Rock/Metal bands, namely some of the comparisons with Kate's vocals.

Pepe Deluxe, Cloud Cult, Emanuel and the Fear, Neverending White Lights, Anathema

And obviously The Dear Hunter and The Family Crest and Kindo (TRoK). TDH obviously, but I find that they don't sound so identical, that it bugs me. It's just many stylistic similarities, namely the 1st 3 Acts and the orchestral/chamber parts. And the whole Conceptual element, fictional story set 100 years or more in the past. And the plans for a Graphic Novel.

But regardless, the music is just so damn good and addictive already, I am totally happy to have found this band, and can't wait to not only continue to take-in these 5 albums, but of course anticipate what they do next.

Which per timing, the next record might not come for a few years, but who knows. Act 3 seems to be their most polished and refined work both from a production and quantity standpoint; but also what seems like a knack for writing great songs and continuing the concept of The Raven Locks. So that may mean the next work may be sooner.

Also to see them live? I would love to see them get on a tour with The Dear Hunter or anyone really, although I also wonder how some of these highly layered songs would be pulled off live. I should spend some time on YouTube for any clips of them. I did find a video on their Facebook with them playing "Irony" and some other tunes, in what looks like a studio or something.

Also I ordered Act 1 on cd, the only album that I could find a physical copy of. The Cage is listed on CD with an expanded track list on Amazon as a Preorder, but I'm not sure what that is after asking Neil on Facebook. There is some stuff about the Graphic Novel and VINYL for The Raven Locks wanting to be released. How? I wonder if they could do a Pledgemusic or Indiegogo with it. At this point I would snatch it up.

I also will likely make a Podcast/Video soon. Especially when the Act 1 CD comes in the mail. But I should definitely go onto YouTube soon and babble on about DPR.

Also the entrres a bout Chamber/Baroque rock/folk and RIYL/FFO for The Dear Hunter I will certainly have to include this band.

And one other note, some of the members have another band called Interstates who are an all-instrumental Post Rock group who I did check out some of their album from 2012 3-4 and enjoyed quite a bit of it, and mean to check it and maybe their other music as well soon.

The Cage
rel March 12, 2007

The Eleanor Rigby cover is nice and a bit different. Using echoes and electronics at times, and sped up tempo.
The Hollywood Song: The piano is lovely. "You have do what they say, cause they can take you to the top. Can you validate me? In the end, all the world is the not the stage you asked for? "It's much more lonesome when you drop"..I hope there's something more than Hollywood"
Masquerade like the funky element to this tune and the use of cello along with a ragtime section in the bridge.
An earlier arrangement of Great Vacation I kind of like as much as the Act 3 version.
Wallflower: the verses are strong along with a driving drum part.
Aquiline Rise Up: Riffy, dark, but cool rhythm. The lyric "Rise up with Wings like Eagles Rise Up with strength to follow. Rise Up it's calling us to go."
Loud is the World: This is a nice Power Ballad that builds throughout the song.
Love Again:  Rather uptempo, playful tune. "This is the story of how we learned to la la la la" it kind of reminds me of Cloud Cult

The Last Days of Leviathan:
rel February 26, 2010

Alibi: Reminds me of Amanda Palmer, among many of their tunes. The cabaret+power pop. Great harmonies towards the end.
Jim Jones: This track is catchy and energetic with the repeated line "There's another Jim Jones in America"
Human After All: This tune is a ballad that sounds like something that would fit on any of the Raven Locks albums. It's thematic, theatrical, majestic and with a cool narrative/story. "A Vapor Trail. Are We a Vapor Trail?"
Leviathan: Great energy in this tune, the solo is just plain awesome. Progressive blues rock really. One of the best tracks on the album, and in general.
Sonnet to Science: Blues Rock that is slow and methodical at times, but adds layers of heavy riffs and trippy moments that are epic.
With Slander for a Blade: This song goes through many dynamics that the twists and turns and dreamy moments are totally rewarding. Love the line towards the end "Can You Condemn another Man's sin without adding to it?" that has this backwards guitar.
Nightingale: This is a beautiful, and strong yet sad epic closing track.
Tah Dah: This is supposed to be a Bonus track, but it very well may be the best song on this album. The badass riff that comes in around 1:35 mark is ballsy as hell. It is kind of a *grand finale* of sorts as the lyric mentions.

The Raven Locks Act 1
November 19, 2013

Solemn Dream..this whole song is amazing, but the last minute+ is so goosebump worthy with the piano and build.
The Bird in the Birdcage: The Chorus is 1 of the best choruses the band have made, and Kate's performance stands out really well among other things about it.

The Raven Locks Act 2
rel September 30, 2014

We Oughta Know Better: Big guitars and for some reason, some of the softer vocals remind me of  Peter Silberman from The Antlers per Hospice.
Speak to Me: Dreamy as Hell. Especially about midway through with the vocal layering.
Men Without Chests: the bridge on this song soars with Cello, a lot of backwards drums/percussion and this wonderful chanting of the 1st half's chorus.
Evergreen: Wonderful build on this song, with a great use of cello and melancholic, multi-layered vocals.
Solemn Awakening: Love the reprise of Solemn Dream ending. It has such a great driving CRESCENDOHHHHHHHHHH

The Raven Locks Act 3
rel August 22, 2017

Great Vacation has a great energy too. "All of the World..all of the worrrrld..soon will be gone"
Welcome to Lady Hell: This may be the band's catchiest song. So poppy and uplifting. "So as sad as it seems, somehow she's holding on to her dreams"
Great vaudville/ragtime bridge with horns and guitars driving the rhythm.

Furthest Star: This is kind of a narrative/journey tune. Trip into space. Although the band who it reminds me at times, for some reason is Pepe Deluxe.
"Inside our Hiding Place. Clear Across the Milky Way, Beyond the Galaxy, on the Furthest Star you can see"
Wasteland: Great Chorus.
Justice: This tune has a great call-and-response vocal parts between Kate and Neil. And the outro is huge.
Irony: "It's on your merits"..sohhh sad and melancholy the way Kate sings that repeated chorus.
Behold the Grave: the 2nd half is amazing. So dreamy with many layers gradually added and then this frantic energy in a sped-up outro

Friday, February 9, 2018

AMR Podcast #9: 1st Quarter Albums + Anticipated Update

Kind of a crammed update to the List and Anticipated to a point. I do like that I have done this, this early. Just need to commit to it for the other 3 quarters.

I didn't realize the month when talking about BTBAM and The Decemberists, but o well. I did correct it.

LDC new album is really good, so I would not be surprised to see it finish in my top 10. But that list is really vague in order, Come May, I likely will have something more accurate. Although right now, I can't stop listening to Dirt Poor Robins, which I can anticipate a separate video/podcast coming about them anyway.

Long Distance Calling - Boundless
The Gloomcatcher - Blade in the Belfry [EP]
Typhoon - Offerings
Galactic Cowboys - Long Way Back to the Moon
Orphaned Land - Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs
In Vain - Currents
The Dear Hunter - All is as All Should Be [EP]
The Faceless - In Becoming a Ghost
Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pacifisticuffs
Greg Herriges / StellaRoma - Revel and Ritual
Esperanza Spalding - Exposure (+Undeveloped)
U2 - Songs of Experience
Cloud Cult - The Great Alone (OST, instrumental)
Nicholas Krygovich - In an Open Field
Field Music - Open Here

Umphrey's McGee - it's not us

+ a lot of anticipated albums and artists.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Dirt Poor Robins - The Raven Locks Act 3 (2016-2017)

I question, but I suppose I can say this may be down the road an exaggeration/premature.

But it very well may not be.

I came across this band on the facepalms forum the other day by a guy who loves The Dear Hunter, and in now looking, 1 of TDH groups on Facebook suggested them going back to last April.

Anyway, there's a lot to say, but the truth is as of right now, I've only heard this album, and only once. But my gawd, this is fucking awesome!

I would say, this might be the best band I've heard, for fans of The Dear Hunter since either Hotel of the Laughing Tree or The Family Crest (or The Reign of Kindo/Kindo I suppose).
The songwriting, melodies, concept, production, album composition, variety, thoughtful-ness, musicianship, vocal arrangements, use of chamber and orchestral parts.

Fuck, I may even start to feel about this band, like The River Empires.

I guess right now is a bit of a honeymoon, but it does kind of feel like hearing Hotel or TDH for the 1st time. Except they have 4 MORE ALBUMS I haven't heard yet, lol!

And their history goes back to 2007 with their 1st album, so they have been around basically as long if not longer than TDH.

Which is scary, and I suppose glad to find out. But my gawd, more people should know about them!

I may do a 2.0 or general entry about them soon per I mean to invest this week especially into at least the 3 The Raven Locks Act albums.

But I suppose to at least throw a bone or 2 just about Act 3 here,

Justice, Irony, Welcome to Lady Hell, Behold the Grave were among my early favorites. The female singer is wonderful, but the male singer also really works well with their music.

I may edit and/or add more about this album in that other entry, but I can definitely say, had I heard this album last year, it very likely would have been an AotY contender, lol. It impressed me THAT MUCH after only 1 listening.

Also they come from Louisville, KY, which I suppose isn't a place I know a ton of music from. The state of Kentucky in general. But it did make me think about Dream the Electric Sleep who do hail from Lexington, KY which I suppose may not be the same town, but I wonder if the 2 bands know eachother, or even ever played together or even could be on a tour together.

1 Great Vacation 4:47
2 Welcome to Lady Hell 3:48
3 Furthest Star 5:09
4 Wasteland 4:58
5 Justice 2:56
6 Woe to Me 2:29
7 Take Him Away 5:10
8 Irony 4:46
9 Behold the Grave 6:28
10 Librarium 2:21
11 Paper Dolls 3:33
12 We Forgot We Were Human Reprise 3:17

Kimbra @ The Cedar Cultural Center 2/5/18

Well this was my 4th time seeing Kimbra live, 3rd headlining, and while all of the other times she had a full band with drums, last night at The Cedar, it was just her with a bunch synths, a guitarist with another keyboard or 2 and maybe an Electric Drum or 2? and a bassist also with likely more than 1 keyboard.

Kimbra for the 1st time in a long while, played some guitar on a couple select, stripped down tunes (the Prince cover during the Encore and "Past Love" which she said the album version is much different).

But let's get down to brass tax here.

1) I love Kimbra, her music, her personality at least on stage, in interviews, videos she's done, and for the most part on her email list, AMA's and Social Media. But, now seeing her live for a 4th time and trying-to and yet failing again to get to meet her after the show, tell her how much I love her music and maybe ask 1 or 2 questions, in person. Maybe get a photo or something. NO DICE again.

Which basically tells me at of all places, the Cedar Cultural Center, she doesn't come out, at least not initially.

At this point, she is in a lot of ways taking the Ian Anderson approach. Or I suppose Michael Nesmith and Neil Peart.

Seems highly like-able and cool when you're a fan in those platforms, but it doesn't seem she's all that into interacting with her fans outside of that.

I guess I respect that, many celebrities have that identical or similar mentality and approach.

But it just hit me last night, to not ever expect to meet her really.

Steven Wilson for some reason has also come across a little like that as well.

The only thing I would say is, if I didn't need to get home to sleep, so I can leave for work the next day at 6:40AM, I might have tried to wait as long as possible.

And with last night or with the other shows, I did wait, but I suppose maybe not long enough.

But the message I get is, even if I were to wait, there's a reason why she didn't come out nor come out those other times right away, or even within 20 minutes.

She doesn't want to hang out with the fans, at least in that context, at this point.

Kimbra is pretty young, so who knows if she will maintain or increase that approach like Peart or Ian Anderson. I recall James LaBrie was like that in the early days with Dream Theater, and then he opened up.

Or of course, the Michael Nesmith and even Mayer Hawthorne approach now in that she'll do a VIP and/or Meet-and-Greet, which I guess depending on the price (and if it includes SEATING) I might do. But I still wish that wouldn't necessarily be the only way.

But I'm now going to have to come to accept that.

2)  From The Cedar website:

This event is all ages

This is a standing show with an open floor.
Tickets are ​only ​available​ through First Avenue​ online​ (click the "Buy Tickets" button above)​, at Electric Fetus, ​and The Cedar during shows.​

Standing show + me and the wife =/= good.

We even tried to arrive later (knowing the potential standing time could be many hours), but when I played some of 1 of the openers "King" for the wife, she was a bit too curious to skip them.But as it turned out, we probably would have been okay with that. They were nice, but had a bit of a samey style among all their songs. The Smooth synth and vocal harmonies-Neo-Soul with pretty much every song being in the mid-tempo. The wife did appreciate them quoting DeBarge at least. And props to them with a Grammy and playing Super Bowl Live. And that 2 of them were from South Minneapolis originally. I kind of wondered if they may have known Janelle Monae per they are likely close in age and Janelle actually lived in Eagan, MN when she was growing up for a period of time.

But no, like 95% of the shows at The Cedar I have seen were seated. Now as it turned out, there were seats, like when the wife and I saw The Bird and the Bee, but they were way off to the side, and we arrived too late to give up out acquired spots anyway, to even try looking.

But it wasn't great for either of our knees or backs to stand for nearly 3 hours.

We stood for Nesmith at The Troubadour, but it wasn't as long, and it was only him and his band. No down time, nor any opener.

I will add though the other opener Arc Iris I kind of liked, and may be checking out their music soon.

3) With Kimbra's setup, and playing 9 songs from Primal Heart, some of course having never heard, and then the other 2 new ones Sweet Relief and Hi Def Distant Romance, it was a night of new and unfamiliar music, which overall I still liked but for the wife, didn't even go as far.

And it was highly electronic. A lot of keys and textures. The videos behind her did help at least.

Even the arrangements of Settle Down and Two Way Street threw me and the wife off a bit, although I still enjoyed them. I do wish she would still include the VOCAL CHANTING SOLO in TWO WAY STREET, per it is the greatest moment of that tune. Even in another arrangement or on a keyboard or guitar or something. But last night? I don't think she did it.

As a big positive though,  Black Sky sounded really good; better than the videos I checked out of it a few months back.

And then Everybody Knows. Holy shit, this song is fan-fucking-tastic! 

I re-listened to it again yesterday at work, and it hit me how well arranged and melodic it is. Definitely the biggest winner on Primal Heart among the songs I've heard, which including the live ones last night, is most of it.

of course Hi Def Distant Romance is 1 of many new songs that won't be on Primal Heart, that Kimbra said in an email, will be coming leading-up to Primal Heart's release (and maybe throughout 2018?, I forget). I.e. she has a lot of music she's made that won't be on the album beyond HDDR.

St.Vincent at The Walker in 2012 and Imogen Heap: That is kind of what she was doing in a lot of ways with the keys and stripped down ensemble. I wonder if part of that is cost to pay musicians to tour?

The new album titled "Primal Heart" she talked about being inspired by a trip to Ethiopia I recall and seeing the primal? way they live. Which I was thinking the new album would be more stripped down and have more acoustic instruments and DRUMS. Like lots of them.

I am now thinking this album is taking the electronic side to some songs from Golden Echo, and making an album with even more of it. I mean she even worked with Skrillex on Top of the World.

The thing though I am keeping in mind is in that AMA she did on Reddit, I think she mentioned how this new album will not necessarily be the way she records down the road.

But the chances of a Vows part 2 ever happening seem unlikely, which I get. Artists don't want to repeat themselves, etc. But I guess it is the whole self-ish artist to experiment and try new things constantly, which I applaud her, but I can't be sure if I will ever love as much as her earlier work as-a-whole.

I did say in my 2011 Albums of the Year that i don't know if she ever will be able to top Vows, but that was more of just HOW GOOD it was.

That all being said, it was a fun show, very energetic, highly electronic/ with HEAVY synths. And pretty good consistent energy. And the crowd loved her for the most part. It was almost sold out, which I kind of wonder if The Cedar might be too small for her at this point. Unsure she'd play like The Palace Theatre or Skyway or something if she headlines again, but we'll see.

The Prince tribute was nice, a little predictable, but still very much appreciated. And cool to hear a deeper track like "Call My Name."

I do know I will not plan to stand for long lengths, especially with the wife, and  not expect to try and meet her again. I.e. no waiting around afterwards, which is probably for the best anyway.

9 songs from Primal Heart + a bonus that didn't make it. Plus a recent single.
Version of Me
Hi Def Distant Romance
The Good War
Black Sky
Settle Down
As You Are
Love In High Places
Everybody Knows
Past Love
Two Way Street
Sweet Relief
Top of the World

Real Life
Call My Name
(Prince cover)

Monday, February 5, 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018

Vinyl: 2/2/18 In Vain, Fates Warning, Blackrield

In Vain - Currents
Fates Warning - Parallels
Blackfield - Blackfield
Blackfield - Blackfield II

In now looking, the Vinyl copies of Currents from In Vain include the Bonus tracks in-effect. So the 7-track version I have heard is the standard version. I will have to find those extra tracks at some point soon (no ability right now to listen to my record of course).

Anticipating some others soon (reissues/1st time on vinyl)

Dream Theater - A Change of Seasons
Porcupine Tree - In Absentia
Porcupine Tree - Deadwing - What's in My Bag? (Amoeba)

Mew - No More Stories
Queensryche - Empire
dredg - Bug Eyes (Promo CD)
dredg - Excerpts from Leitmotif (Promo CD)

yeah, kind of an homage/tribute to the series that Amoeba records does.

I actually mentioned to the guys behind the counter about my blog. No official video from Amoeba of course. The Needle Drop they did one why no others like me?..maybe next time.

I did put back a few items like a Dream Theater live Vinyl and iamthemorning, plus the dredg SACD I mentioned.

Too much, had to save cash for the Nesmith show, etc.