When I was young and obsessed with prog rock, people used to make fun of me. They would learn I loved prog and they would be bemused or even a little shocked/outraged. And I was confused because I really liked the stuff. Eventually, I realized that those who made fun of my tastes were often talking about different prog. One day my friend just started ripping on Supertramp and then apologized to me and I finally realized that what my friends thought was prog and what I was listening to were two different types of prog. Based on this record, Read More
This is a weird combination of what sounds like super eccentric singer-songwriter solo stuff and music that is basically Van Der Graaf Generator. It’s an odd mix that I would find less appealing if I didn’t like Hammill or VDGG so much. It’s great that Hammill wrote so much so that even when the band was on hiatus he just had so much material. But one of the things I struggle with while listening to solo albums from the frontmen or songwriters of bands is when their solo music sounds too much like their band. That’s a weird problem to Read More
1984, Art Pop, Music, New Wave, Prog, Prog Rock, Progressive New Wave, and Progressive Rock.
Listening to this record, it’s no wonder they broke up for nearly a decade. I can hear the strain. Read More
This set was a famous bootleg before it was released for good reason, a bunch of it ended up (in edited form) as a major portion of Starless. Read More
1971, Canterbury Scene, Music, Prog, Prog Rock, Progressive Rock, Psychedelia, Psychedelic Rock, and Space Rock.
This is the first proper Gong album I’ve heard, because, for some reason, I’ve only heard their jazz rock spinoff to date. It seems pretty obvious to me that Allen was once in Soft Machine because this sure sounds to me like the kind of music The Softs were making early in their career. And maybe that’s why I find the record a little underwhelming. It is wacky, out there, fun, and ridiculous, as well as well-played, but I sort of feel like I’ve heard music like this from The Softs back in the 60s. I guess what I’m trying Read More
I didn’t realize this was a weird, US-only hybrid album when I bought it. I somehow convinced myself it was their most recommended album (I guess I was listening to some US critics…). Anyway… The influence of Cream is particularly heavy here, on the opening track and the Bruce cover (even though it wasn’t a cream song). It’s kind of shocking but it also acts as the missing link between Cream and so much jazz and prog rock. The album is a hybrid of things not usually found together: jazz rock and prog rock. At their most jazzy, they don’t Read More
The idea that this is the first weak Gentle Giant album just doesn’t match what I’m hearing. Yes, I’m not sure the concept holds up all that well (this is a musical “interview” or something…), but the band is still quite capable of making their nutty, extremely inaccessible prog. The songs feel like maybe their lacking strong enough melodies. And it sure is short. But I can’t say I dislike it anyway, as it’s still very much GG doing their thing, something I think I’ll always appreciate. 7/10 Read More
When I first listened to this I didn’t like it at all, and I’m not sure why. I didn’t like it to the extent that I removed it from our next podcast, telling my cohost that it “wasn’t one of their best.” I guess maybe it was the lack of Hastings songs – his are a little more immediate, I think. Anyway, now that I’ve had some time to digest, it’s pretty great. It’s very Caravan, but that’s not a bad thin – the weird and whimsical lyrics and the keyboard solos (and occasional winds and reeds). I don’t like Read More
For most of my prog-rock listening life, I have not fully gotten Yes. I don’t know what it is about them, but of the Big 6 they were long my least favourite. This has changed as I got older, as I have come to find ELP extremely inconsistent and Tull to be more than a little repetitive, but I still don’t love Yes. And I still can’t understand why. I should love them, as I love aspects of what they do, but I don’t. This record is the earliest of theirs I’ve heard so far, but it actually sort of Read More
This is the cleanest produced VDGG album I’ve heard so far (it’s the fourth I’ve heard), and that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. On the positive, Hammill’s voice has never been so front and centre, and you can really hear how incredible a singer he is – if an album like this doesn’t convince you he was one of the best male rock singers of the ’70s, there’s no saving you. On the other hand, the appealing murk of earlier albums – ‘is that an organ, a guitar or an electric saxophone I am hearing right now?’ Read More
I think if anyone had any doubt back in 1971 that Emerson was the greatest rock keyboardist ever, the title track probably proved them wrong. It’s too bad that it doesn’t really have the same coherence and oomph of the best side-long prog epics. But it is still the highlight of an album that I guess set ELP on their path of trying to be eclectic – or trying to please different demographics of their fans, not really sure which – which set them up to have such uneven studio albums. I mean the first side is a true prog Read More
Having just suffered through some of their late ’70s crap, it’s nice to hear them back in the day when they were still making interesting music. Always over the top, at least this stuff is also provocative. “The Endless Enigma” is almost a classic. It’s too bad the vocal sections are so weak compared to the rest of the composition. And “From the Beginning” is a Lake song I actually don’t hate, so that’s another big positive. On the whole there is a lot to like here with their characteristic unevenness – there seem to me to be very few Read More
1977, AOR, Music, Pop Rock, Prog, Prog Rock, Progressive Rock, and Rock and Roll Revival.
Years ago, when I was still young enough to maintain that ELP was a truly great band, I gave this a listen or three and rated 6/10. I think I wanted to believe the common idea that this is better than Volume 1 because at least here the bands sometimes sounds like ELP. Well, there’re a bunch of problems with that. The idea that this album is related to Volume One is, in itself, a bit of a foolish idea. Volume One was, after all, a way for all three band members to record on their own while still putting Read More
Jon Lord was one of the earliest rock keyboardists – along with people like Keith Emerson – to attempt to fuse so-called “classical” music (actually it was usually romantic) with rock. He convinced his band, Deep Purple, to cover Richard Strauss, among others, to include his string and wind arrangements, and to eventually perform his “Concerto for Group and Orchestra” (certainly one of the inspirations for Metallica’s experiment with a symphony). All of this occurred before Deep Purple decided to try out (the early version of) heavy metal instead. After this change in direction, Lord was certainly one of the Read More
2005, Art Rock, Avant Prog, Experimental, Jazz Fusion, Latin Rock, Math Rock, Music, Prog, and Progressive Rock.
The more I listen to the Mars Volta the more I become convinced that they are pretty much the only mainstream band keeping the spirit – if not the sound – of progressive rock alive. They manage to combine relatively adventurous ideas – whereas early prog rock usually borrowed from Romantic music or mainstream jazz, they borrow from free jazz and funk – with the volume that only a few select prog rock bands from back in the day actually managed. Too many of the revivalist neo-prog bands don’t are about the “rock” part of progressive rock but these guys Read More
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard something via Exclaim‘s ClickHear that I could get excited about. I can get excited about this. Yes, it’s pretty scatter-shot. But that is part of its charm. It embraces a whole whack of genres, each of which I like (or at least don’t mind). The band has chops (imagine that, a band featured on Exclaim! with chops…that wasn’t very nice of me as it does happen…only it feels like less than once a month). Call it prog-something, call it post-something, it doesn’t matter. It’s good. And it’s inventive. And that’s what we Read More