Tuesday, October 22, 2019

2019-2020 Albums Anticipation LIST (no blurbs, as of 9/19/19)

Just a preliminary list that I'm sure will look quite different even in a month.

The regular names of an album could but still has yet to come out, often with artists/bands that like to take their time. 

I am particularly excited for the King's X, Ours, Pain of Salvation and Pure Reason Revolution albums namely.


1: Long Distance Calling - STUMMFILM – Live From Hamburg
1: Josh Rouse - The Christmas Songs of Josh Rouse
8: The Flower Kings - Waiting for Miracles
8: Vonavi - Reflection
22: The Who - WHO
Dirt Poor Robins - The Complete Raven Locks (on CD) EARLY NOVEMBER

Cloud Cult
The Family Crest - The War Act II (Spring) Double?
Gospel - Absurd Challenge
Green Carnation
King’s X (double album, Winter/Spring)
Ours - Spectacular Sight III (Double?)
Pain of Salvation
The Polyphonic Spree - Salvage Enterprise
Protest the Hero
Psychotic Waltz
Pure Reason Revolution
Steven Wilson

3 - Live at Bearsville Theater, Woodstock, NY
The Dear Hunter
Dirt Poor Robins - Dead Horse, Alaska (including Black)
Fish - Weltschmertz
Mayer Hawthorne
Negroni's Trio
Neverending White Lights
Pepe Deluxe
The Red Paintings - Anthems for Unwanted Wars
Sculptured - The Liminal Phase
The Tea Party

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


here's at least a Percentage of the Nomination Committee who decides who gets on the ballot.

As seen by that link and the lists year-by-year, it's mostly the same people year-after-year.


Anthony DeCurtis, per what my wife mentioned to me, HATES The Monkees. That guy should be BOOTED today.


Sandy Alouete   
Holly George-Warren   
Amy Linden
James Bernard   
Meg Griffin   
Tom Morello
Nathan Brackett   
Dave Grohl   
Amanda Petrusich
Cliff Burnstein   
Greg Harris   
Robbie Robertson
Anthony DeCurtis   
Mike Kaufman   
Paul Shaffer
Reginald C. Dennis   
Lenny Kaye   
Seymour Stein
David Dorn   
Rick Krim   
John Sykes
Bill Flanagan   
Jon Landau   
Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson
David Fricke   
Alan Light   
Steven Van Zandt
Elysa Gardner   
Rob Light   

Tuesday, October 15, 2019



Why are Rufus with Chaka Khan, MC5 and Kraftwerk nominated again???? I highly doubt enough people will vote for them.

No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again
No MONKEES again            

edit coming later.

Pat Benatar
Dave Matthews Band
Depeche Mode
The Doobie Brothers
Whitney Houston
Judas Priest
Nine Inch Nails
The Notorious B.I.G.
Rufus with Chaka Khan
Todd Rundgren
Thin Lizzy

Monday, October 14, 2019


This Article is a pretty good history + update on the band Gospel.

Okay, so if you search this blog, you'll find more than reference and/or feature writings talking about this band.

But to summarize: they released a really cool progressive post-hardcore album in 2005 The Moon is a Dead World.

And I forget how long after, maybe 2 or 3 years later

edit: in reading what I wrote last year here, their break up, or at least 1 of them happened in 2010.

But "Tango" is amazing.

That article and their Facebook Page under "onetruegospel" they did a reunion show on September 20th at "St.Vitus" which I am presuming is in New York City. The band originates from Brooklyn anyway, but some members had moved away and are moving back.
Anyway, I'll just quote a couple key parts of that article:

I ask if that mean we’re finally getting the completed “Magic Volume of Dark Matter,” a never-recorded album-sized song that looms enormous in Gospel’s lore.

“Hopefully! We have other new songs we’ve been working on that we need to record,” says Miller. “Songs we wrote a few years ago when we were playing. ‘The Magic Volume’ is a huge undertaking, but we are hoping to get everything recorded.” 

But the band did mention several times that  they’re preparing to enter the studio again, most likely this Winter⎯

“It’s probably going to be called Absurd Challenge,” quips Dooling about the next album. “Because it is.” But Gospel seem more than up to the meeting the task, on their own terms. Praise be. 

So naturally I am verrry curious and optimistic to see what they do, when, however soon. I wonder if doing the reunion might escalate the process somewhat. 2020 or maybe 2021? I guess I am not going to assume anything, other than there is good reason to start following them and paying attention to their Social Media in the coming months/year(s).

The way that article reads, the stuff they may be doing could be amazing, but there also is the concern of the time gap. Cautiously optimistic I suppose, but I'm happy that anything new could be coming our way from Gospel.

Absurd Challenge sounds like a great title for an album from these guys.

It does sound like they will be taking their time to get the writing and recordings as best as they can, which may bode well.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Big Wreck with Texas King @ The Turf Club 10/9/19

So Big Wreck, 1 of the Canadian trilogy of bands to come out in the 90's with a Prog Grunge kind of thing (The Tea Party and I Mother Earth being the other 2 I think of), played in St.Paul on Wednesday night.

I 1st saw them open for Dream Theater in 1997 (October or November?). That was my 1st Dream Theater concert, but I do recall liking them somewhat, even though I was not exactly hearing the Soundgarden meets Led Zeppelin thing exactly.

Their debut album In Loving Memory Of was released that same year, 1997. And the truth is, I don't think I picked it up any time around then, and I never really followed-up with them, until around the same time I got into I Mother Earth and The Tea Party largely from the discussion on the forums.

I eventually picked up In Loving Memory Of and the 2001 follow-up The Pleasure and the Greed.

The debut I especially got into. The strong guitars and melodies really worked.

And the band ended up breaking up not long after I recall, only to reunite almost 10 years later; eventually releasing now 4 albums since. The latest being But for the Sun which came out in late August. And that new record might be the best of the 4 albums since.

But while I did get into those 2 albums back in the 2000's, and have enjoyed all of their records since they reunited to varying degrees, I haven't found them incredibly addictive. And the other thing I think of them for is the LENGTH.

And I have not listened to their early records probably in over a decade. Per my memory was spotty on the older tunes. I did revisit some of the more well know ones like "The Oaf"
and "That Song" which are maybe my 2 favorites off ILMO.

But seeing them live some 22 years later (which I think was the last time they played in Minnesota, or even toured the States; Visa's, costs, etc I imagine could have a lot to do with that.

The CROWD though at this show was nearly a full house at The Turf Club. Really surprising, per I never see their new cds in stores, they aren't on the radio or mentioned much in the music media.

But they have their fans either here in MN, or people traveled from the likes of the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin for this show.

Overall, they had great energy for the large majority. the middle slowed down a bit when they were playing some of the more Sabbath-like doomy pieces.

But like the epic "Blown Wide Open" that closed the main set I felt went on for awhile, with Ian Thornley's guitar solo, but once the rhythm section picked up the tempo, it suddenly became really dynamic and BIG. I really was digging it.

Great encore as well, especially from an energy standpoint. And I love their parts with the twangy/zeppelin/blues-rock guitar parts.

I am happy I went, even with I suppose some of the vocals being drowned out and the hit and miss element of the show. Big Wreck do put on a fun show, and this was long enough to satisfy.

I would go for seeing them again, maybe even supporting someone like Coheed, Mastodon, Fair to Midland (given a reunion) or The House Harkonnen, Dream the Electric Sleep, Vennart or even say King's X (or in a fantasy, THE TEA PARTY or I MOTHER EARTH).

Also to note, the opener Texas King was fun. Another band from Ontario in fact, with HUGE ENERGY. I may have to check their stuff out.

Set List
In My Head
That Song
One More Chance
Ahead by a Century / Wolves
Help Is on the Way
Amazing Grace / Albatross
Found My Place
Too Far Gone
Blown Wide Open

The Oaf (My Luck Is Wasted)

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Family Crest: The War Act II (Coming Spring 2020)

This sounds sohhh BIG.

Now, I have to cite the fact I pretty much knew the plans for this were brewing many years ago. I want to say on that 2015 tour when I saw them at The Cedar, I spoke to more than 1 member of the band about this.


And that The War album(s) could blow Beneath the Brine away (an album many fans love incredibly).

I'm wondering a few things:

How connected/similar this album will be to Act I and Prelude. Act I mind you, was MY ALBUM OF THE YEAR for 2017-2018 (2018).

Is Act II going to be a DOUBLE ALBUM? I suspect it very well could be. Or something of that ilk.

How creative and outside-the-box will the band be with it?
Packaging, guests, concept, reprises, instrumentals, voice-overs, samples, STYLES, etc, etc.

Maybe they have a Choir on some of it? Huge vocal harmonies?..I dunno. I'm brainstorming, but I still have very high curiosity for this, as much as I love all of their albums, especially many tunes on Brine and Prelude, and of course Act I.

Spring 2020.


We are The Family Crest, an independent orchestral rock band from San Francisco.

Our band began as a recording project in 2010, with a simple mission: we wanted to make music with anybody who wanted to join us in an artistic project, regardless of their background, musical or not. We believe everyone is musical when given the opportunity, and over the years, hundreds of ‘Extended Family’ members have joined us on recordings, at live shows, and participated through other mediums, too - visual arts, dance, and many more.

Since forming the band, thanks to the support of the people who listen to our music, we have released three EPs and three full-length albums. Our music has been featured in TV shows, documentaries, and films. We had the opportunity to perform a Tiny Desk concert. We’ve played countless shows in the U.S., and toured in Canada and Europe. It’s been a lot of work, with a lot of ups and downs, but we are so grateful for everything that has come our way.

The War

In 2017, we set off on a journey: we decided to release our largest project to date, a multi-album concept series called The War, on our own. The decision wasn’t made lightly; it’s a ton of work to release an album independently. Ultimately, we knew we wanted to retain control over how we make our art, and how we deliver it to the world. With a project as large and complex as The War, the need for creative control was paramount. We released the first and second parts of this series, Prelude to War (EP) and The War: Act I ourselves. Now, we need your help to complete the next part of the story, The War: Act II.

The War: Act II is the heart and soul of the series. It’s going to be our grandest work to date. The songs on this album span the past 10 years, some having been written while we were mixing our very first album, The Village. It's the album that we in The Family Crest have been wanting to release, and more importantly, play live, almost since our conception. Here are a few fun facts about the record:

 The War has been recorded in over 20 major cities across the United States. In 2015 Liam and John went on a recording tour of the U.S. to make sure everyone who wanted to play on the album could participate.
By the time we finish the record, we estimate there will be over 140 people on the album
The record features over 60 instruments, including strings, woodwinds, horns, an array of percussion instruments, synthesizers, and choirs. Several band members learned and played new instruments for the album. 

Steve Hackett @ The Pantages Theatre in MINNEAPOLIS 10/7/19

October 22nd, 2005, at Rossi's Bar in downtown Minneapolis, Steve Hackett last played Minnesota.

Since then, he's toured somewhat regularly in North America, including in Chicago in 2010 where I saw him and his band last with Renaissance.

So 14 years since his last performance in my home state, and it fell on the same evening of the Twins vs Yankees Game 3 ALDS playoff game. I bought my ticket for Mr. Hackett and company back in March, which was before the Major League Baseball Season had even began, lol.

But, this isn't a review of that game, the series, or the Twins Season (maybe soon?).

I can just say, this was without question the best, tightest, most epic performance I've seen from Steve Hackett and his band. And this was the 4th time seeing them, 5th seeing Steve.

He has a great band, with the likes of Jonas Reingold of The Flower Kings on Bass, Nad Sylvan vocals (Agents of Mercy, Solo, Hackett's Genesis Revisited II), Craig Blundell on drums (Steven Wilson), Roger King on keys, and Rob Townsend sax, flute, vocals.

I very much enjoyed the 1st set of Steve's solo work, including some of the material off his I guess very well received new record At the Edge of Light. Epic, heavy, moody, atmospheric.

Also the version of "Everyday" and "Spectral Mornings" namely really sounded wonderful and very "live." The whole band seemed so in tuned and in great spirits, extending many parts out.

Of course the 2nd set was the complete Selling England By the Pound, an album that has been an all-time favorite of mine, since the point I was fully won over by Genesis nearly 20 years ago (2000/2001/2002).

"The Cinema Show" is my favorite and it did not disappoint. They totally pulled every second of it off, and added some flourishes and different dimensions. Blundell is quite the master, channeling his inner-Phil Collins. As well as Roger King on keys pulling off maybe the greatest Keyboard section ever in Rock music.

I gotta say though, "Firth of Fifth" totally got me as well. I have always loved it, but also heard it maybe more than anything on this album. But seeing those guys pull it off live, made me respect and love it again.

And maybe the most impressive moments of the set and show was "The Battle of Epping Forest." I grew to adore that tune, as busy, quirky, and drawn out as it does get. The vocals are incredibly wordy with long run-on narratives. Plus the characters channeled. Its extensive arrangements and journey through the tale comes across as a mouthful, but it totally grew for me to appreciate how difficult and meticulous it is.

And for that, I totally applaud Nad's performance.

A couple of other things not to forget. The extended almost jam added in the middle during "I Know What I like" I really dug. I love that tune, but sometimes when it ends it makes me sad it's over. I have a HUGE nostalgia for it, going back to the early 2000's at work. I almost was brought to tears in moments last night remembering those days at work with it on. And to see it live and have them add more to it, totally worked for me.

And for them to include "Deja Vu" which Steve mentioned was a tune they wrote and maybe demo-ed? during the making of Selling England. I had never heard it, nor heard of it. I enjoyed it, although it reminded me more of something from his solo music.

I'd love to hear a demo of it anyway, especially with Peter Gabriel of course.

But I guess it did come out on the 1st Genesis Revisited album with Paul Carrack on vocals. I can't remember if I own that, or the 2nd as I bought at least of them on CD in the early 2000's.
But it's on YouTube here

Set List

Under the Eye of the Sun
Fallen Walls and Pedestals
Beasts in Our Time
The Virgin and the Gypsy
Spectral Mornings
The Red Flower of Tachai Blooms Everywhere
Clocks - The Angel of Mons


Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
Firth of Fifth
More Fool Me
The Battle of Epping Forest
After the Ordeal
The Cinema Show  
Aisle of Plenty
Deja Vu
Los Endos
Dance on a Volcano

Saturday, October 5, 2019

DIRT POOR ROBINS: Top 11 Guitar Solos

Some of the fans voted on Facebook for these. #1 totally make sense, and #3 I can totally see why it is high.

Granted, I'll confess when I think of DPR, the guitar solos are not all that high on my list. They are good, but their music offers many other things I honestly get more from. But hearing these again, in this mashup, I think I may have found a little more appreciation for them and thinking about their music.

A little like Steve Hackett with Genesis. I have grown to really appreciate his guitar work, even though initially I would not think of him over the piano, vocals and even drums necessarily.


11 Furthest Star
10 Sonnet to Science 9 But Never a Key
8 Behold the Grave 7 Take Him Away 6 Scarecrows 5 The Saints II 4 Alibi 3 Great Vacation 2 Fallen 1 Leviathan

Thursday, October 3, 2019

REACT TO: The Prog Report's Top 5 FATES WARNING Songs

So to coincide with the upcoming solo album What the Water Wants, from Ray Alder, The Prog Report did another one of their Top 5 Songs lists podcasts with Ray and a longtime fan of Fates Warning named Kyle.

If I had to choose MY Top 5+, as hard as it is to, here's MY list, and naturally there is a good amount of Crossover.

1 A Pleasant Shade of Gray
2. Still Remains
3. The Light and Shade of Things
4. The Ivory Gate of Dreams
5. Epitaph

Honorable Mentions: 
The Apparition
Traveler in Time
Fata Morgana
Prelude to Ruin
Nothing Left to Say
Through Different Eyes
Chasing Time
The Eleventh Hour
Face the Fear
Outside Looking In
Something for Nothing
Pieces of Me
Another Perfect Day
Heal Me
Left Here
Handful of Doubt
Ghosts of Home
From the Rooftops
Seven Stars

EDIT: also check out this list of Top 50 FW songs

1. A Pleasant Shade of Gray
2. Face the Fear
3. The Eleventh Hour
4. The Light and Shade of Things
5. Another Perfect Day

Honorable Mentions: Handful of Doubt, Pale Fire, Firefly, Falling, Nothing Left to Say, Seven Stars

1. Still Remains
2. The Eleventh Hour
3. A Pleasant Shade of Gray (I, V-VII)
4. Ghosts of Home (The Light and Shade of Things passed per Kyle already chose it)
5. Point of View

Ray Alder
1. A Pleasant Shade of Gray
2. Guardian
3. The Light and Shade of Things
4. The Ivory Gate of Dreams
5. Wish

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Billy Cobham @ The Dakota 10/1/19

I saw 90% of the 1st set last night at The Dakota, of Billy Cobham's band play CROSSWINDS.

He played I believe most if not the entire Crosswinds album.

His band consisted of

Billy Cobham (drums)
Fareed Haque (guitar)
Tim Landers (bass)
Osam Elelwy (keyboard)
Paul Hanson (bassoon)
Randy Brecker (trumpet) – Special Guest

Spanish Moss – 'A Sound Portrait'
The Pleasant Pheasant

Under the Baobab Tree
Snoopy's Search

I may be missing a track or 2, but then again, I arrived at like 7:10, so I missed the 1st 10 minutes or so.

Great to see Billy again, my 1st time since 2013 (my only other time seeing him live). He has such an addictive snare tone, like none-other, I sometimes just get lost in hearing it.

Fareed Haque and especially Randy Brecker were also a very big deal to see, playing with Billy. The Crosswinds album I'll admit to owning, but never listening to, per I have it only on Vinyl. I think I bought it for like $2 or $3 in fact. But it is the album that follows Spectrum, and the 1st cut "Spanish Moss" is a side-long epic, which for that alone I am guilty to have slept on.

I mean every piece they played last night had great, chilling, goosebump moments even beyond Billy's solos. Although I literally was in the FRONT ROW 15 feet away from him. At 75 years old or whatever he is, he still pulls this stuff off. And I didn't want to miss him again given who knows how many times, if ever, he'll be back.

THE DAKOTA: I'll be as tactful as I can be. But let's just say the amount of Elbow Room and close-proximity to the table I was sitting at almost made the Minnesota Zoo's amphitheater seem less claustrophobic.

And the fact someone actually was sitting in the Seat I paid for, lol. I found the seat I did at the same table and didn't bother telling the other person they were in my seat. I mean I arrived 10 minutes after the show started, but that still is no excuse.

That and the crowd seemed to be mostly Businessmen who probably have never heard a Mahavishnu Orchestra record in their life. The usual Dakota customer who comes to dine and has more money than they know what to do with.

It's fine, but it still pales in comparison to the experiences I used to love among the Jazz fanatics when they were located in Bandana Square or the group that would show up at the old Artist Quarter.

But so be it. I still got to see Billy Cobham again, maybe my favorite or 2nd favorite Jazz drummer (with respect to Mr. Wertico).