Saturday, May 30, 2009

Every day a little sadder, A little madder, Someone get me a ladder

I have a real soft spot for progressive rock bands and therefore I'm a sucker for a prog sampler. I bought one yesterday - one of those el cheapo 'Essential Progressive Rock' CDs from the good people at Sanctuary Records. It joined my collection and nestled into the prog rock CD racks next to 'Frog Spawn' (12 lipsmacking new prog tracks) and others. Classic Rock magazine (left) invariably have prog specials and one such free CD a few years ago was 'Shine On' (12 tracks of epic ambient symphonic metal and frankly mad new prog). This is a brilliant collection of prog bands that has inspired me to buy a lot of albums by Porcupine Tree, Riverside and Mostly Autumn to name three. All three bands are worthy of further investigation and have albums freely available in NZ (although I bought most of their stuff in the UK).

Why prog? I love the noodling - usually the songs stretch out and include a lot of cosmic instrumental interplay/jamming/noodling. They're always skirting with the pretentious. They usually have lots of guitars going on (I'm not a Genesis fan - too little wig out guitar). They have a playfulness and intensity missing in other genres. They are not afraid to dip into jazz or classical or folk for melodic inspiration. And I guess I like the tag - progressive - it implies a forward movement. Unfortunately it gets a bad press because of all the reasons I love it but there are a lot of great bands out there playing prog (try to think beyond Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Genesis). Instead seek out Van Der Graaf Generator, Caravan, Barclay James Harvest, and Procol Harum of the old school and the new prog of the three bands I've listed above.

For now I'll concentrate on Mostly Autumn. Their live album - 'Storms over London Town' is a great place to start. They have a classic rock/prog feel with female vocals (a la Grace Slick's soaring, harmony style), a terrific lead guitarist and great songs. These two songs are pretty representative of their approach - nice soft melodic accoustic strum builds into classic rock out. Cool! Go ahead - search on youtube and dailymotion for other songs by them and visit their website -

No comments:

Post a Comment