Friday Random Ten, June 23

  1. Dirty Three, "Some Summers they Drop Like Flies". I've mentioned the Dirty Three before. Just go get their CDs and listen. Amazing stuff.
  2. Broadside Electric, "The Gardener". Broadside is a local electric fold band. Great music, really nice people.
  3. Tony Trischka Band, "Feed the Horse". The first album by Tony's current band. A very cool song actually, although the lyrics are utterly incoherent.
  4. Thinking Plague, "Consolamentum". Thinking Plague is, well, just plain weird. I'd probably put them into the same category as groups like the Dirty Three and the Clogs, but TP is a lot less approachable. Think of an often atonal ensemble of people trained in Robert Fripp's guitar craft program.
  5. ProjeKct Two, "Laura in Space". From Fripp acolytes to Fripp himself. ProjeKct two is a sort of free-jazzish improv by Fripp, Adrian Belew, and Trey Gunn.
  6. Kaipa, "Otherworldly Brights". Kaipa's a scandinavian prog-rock band; the first serious band played in by Roine Stolte of the Flower Kings.
  7. Moxy Fruvous, "Gulf War Song". A depressing song, especially in light of the events of the last few years. This was written by MF during the first gulf war, about the way that people in favor of that war and people against it couldn't speak to each other without getting into fights; looking back at the first gulf war, it seems like the disagreements concerning the war were remarkably civil in comparison to now. I don't recall having major public or political figures call me a traitor, or talk about how I should be killed for treason for disagreeing with their support for the first gulf war; this time around, that seems downright routine.
  8. Solas, "On the Sea of Fleur De Lis". Beautiful Irish song.
  9. Marillion, "An Accidental Man". Bit of a poppy track by my favorite british neo-prog band. Great song, even if it is a bit on the overly peppy side.
  10. Transatlantic, "Mystery Train". Transatlantic is quite an interesting band. Take Roine Stolte of the Flower Kings, Pete Trevawas of Marillion, Neil Morse of Spock's Beard, and Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, and throw them into the studio together. Usually when you do that, you got one of those typical "superband" monstrosities, where a bunch of guys with big egos whip something together, and it sounds like a patchwork mess. This sounds like a band that's been writing songs together for years: polished, exciting, complex stuff, with an incredible chemistry between the musicians. The strangest thing about it is that listening to it, it doesn't sound much like any of their normal bands; the closest comparison I can come up with is oldish Yes. But none of their normal bands sound particularly Yes-ish to me.

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Much of Transatlantic's work was written by Neal Morse before the band formed (a cd of his demos is available). Neal wasn't sure if it was solo material, but he was definitely sure it wasn't right for Spock's Beard. Transatlantic gave that opportunity to work with other musicians to polish the work. Most melodies were already there, as were much of the lyrics, but the band certainly did more than just "add their stamp" to it. Portnoy and Stolt had both been in bands where collaborative composition in a short time was the name of the game (Liquid Tension Experiment, for example), so they had the experience to make it work. Pete was the least experienced at that approach (Marillion takes *forever* to get through writing an album) but he learned quickly. ;-)

By Joe Shelby (not verified) on 23 Jun 2006 #permalink