Friday Random Ten, August 1st

  1. Kansas, "Byzantium": an example of why Kansas fans waited so long for
    Kerry Lofgren to return to the band. The guy's a brilliant songwriter. Even with
    Walsh's voice clearly aging and suffering from abuse, this is fantanstic stuff.
  2. Isis, "Wrists of Kings": Fairly hard post-rock. I like Isis a lot, but one thing
    about them that takes some getting used to is the "lead singer". In general, Isis has a sound
    a lot like Mogwai, but they do use vocals. And their vocals consist of a guy screaming
    hoarsely in the background. This track doesn't have the really awful vocals; in fact, the
    singing here is pretty reasonable.
  3. Genesis, "Squonk": I've been going back and listening to old Genesis lately. And
    it's really amazing to listen to. You can see why so many of the neo-progressives start
    out by trying to sound like Genesis - it's such an amazing, unique, engaging sound.
    This is off of the first Genesis album after Peter Gabriel left, so it's a pretty dramatic
    change from what preceeded it. But it's still distinctly Genesis - listening to
    "The Lamb Lays Down on Broadway" followed by this, it's clearly the same band.
  4. Marillion, "How Can it Hurt?": a bit off of the worst album Marillion ever made. Considering the album that it came off of, this isn't a bad song; but for Marillion, this
    is crap.
  5. Sonic Youth, "Rats": typical Sonic Youth. That means that it's fantastic,
    strange, full of odd tonalities and controlled noise. It somehow manages to be smooth
    and mellow and noisy and dark all at the same time.
  6. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, "Static: Terrible Canyons of Static": The deities of
    post-rock. No one can do this kind of music like Godspeed. I dearly wish they'd get back
    into the studio and do some more music. Their spinoff "A Silver Mt. Zion" is really good,
    but it's not Godspeed.
  7. King Crimson, "Indiscipline": Brilliantly goofy song from King Crimson. This consists
    of wonderfully improvised dark noisy guitar and spectacular drumming, interspersed with
    Adrian Belew talking about some thing, without ever saying what the thing is.
  8. Kruzenshtern and Parahod, "March": progressive klezmer. Wow. This is strange,
    and wonderful, and amazing, and really strange. I'd kill to be able to play
    my clarinet like that!
  9. Naftule's Dream, "The Aimless Path": In a wonderful coincidence of iTunes
    shuffle randomness, another bit of progressive klezmer. Naftule's Dream is
    a spinoff of the Shirim Klezmer orchestra. Shirim is fantastic, mostly traditional Klezmer.
    Naftule's Dream is the stuff that really pushes the boundaries of the genre. Highly recommended, and a lot easier to find than K&P.
  10. The Flower Kings, "Man Overboard": The Flower Kings are, probably, my favorite band. They started off as a blatant Genesis ripoff (see my comment above on "Squonk"), but they've evolved into a really amazing band with a real distinctive sound. You can't mistake the Flower Kings for anyone else - just a couple of seconds of any of their songs, and you know that it's them. This is one
    of my favorite of their shorter tracks - only 3 1/2 minutes! But it's got the most amazing twisted rhythm and chords in the chorus, connected by a highly contrasting smooth melodic bridge. It's amazing.

More like this

The Flower Kings, "Underdog": a neo-progressive track with the lead played by a bagpipe and a steel guitar. How can you not love that? Broken Social Scene, "Ibi Dreams of a Pavement": A post-rock track with vocals. Very good stuff - very dense. Like I said it's got vocals, but they're not the…
1. **Thinking Plague: "The Aesthete"**: Thinking Plague is just plain *odd*. They're a hard-to-classify group. It's got vocals, but instead of the vocals being the lead, they treat voice as just another instrument. They're often atonal, and when they're tonal, the chords are often…
Peter Hamill, "The Unconscious Life": A track from an amazing live performance. In general, I'm not a big fan of live recordings - you really need to be there for a live performance. There's a dynamic between the performer and the audience in live music, and in a recording, you're listening…
Sonic Youth, "Or": Very smooth for SY. But great. They're an amazing band. The Flower Kings, "Blue Planet": A typical track from one of my favorite neo-progressive rock bands. For the Flower Kings, this is a short one at only 10 minutes. The Clogs, "Lantern": once again, one of my favorite…


By Anonymous (not verified) on 01 Aug 2008 #permalink

To be fair, "How Can it Hurt" by Marillion was never on Holidays in Eden, it was a discarded track that was only revealed when they released the bonus disc of the remaster 2 CD version. But yeah, it goes nowhere fast.


I've got the original American edition of "Holidays in Eden", and it includes
"How Can it Hurt?". It's definitely not a remastered edition of the CD - I got it the day the album was released in the US, and I would never have spent another cent on anything related to that album. Maybe it was only included on the American version?

Glad to see you mention Sonic Youth. Personally I feel the same way about 'the silver sessions' by the SY. Like alpha waves or sth...

Greetz! Wouter

On Trick of a Tale, I prefer the title track and Entangled, though the whole album is fascinating. It's musical "Steampunk", in the sense of being a Victorian facade on modern culture, just in music instead of inventions and technology.

Holidays has this knack of being a horrible album with the best songs. When they did their "popular music" survey for a MarillionWeekend (name your favorite songs not on Brave or Sunrise, as those were done as friday specials on those events), 4 songs from Holidays made the cut (if you count the This Town medley as one set). So the songs are liked and are good, but live they are quite different from their studio versions, and much more "Marillion sounding" in their production.

By Joe Shelby (not verified) on 01 Aug 2008 #permalink

Ah - the American release included 2 tracks that were b-sides of singles from that album, How Can It Hurt was one, and The Collection was the other.

The album was released in America months after its UK release, so the label thought the extra tracks would be incentive for us Yanks to wait.

The Collection *almost* made it worth it. It is a nice little gem of a piece on a very strange subject matter...

By Joe Shelby (not verified) on 01 Aug 2008 #permalink

Thanks for the clarification. You gotta love the record labels for thinking more is better. Holidays in Eden has some complete gems on it, but having a big distraction on there can certainly do it. Anyone say "Most Toys?"


Ps. Check out the Rogues' Gallery podcast, I think you may enjoy the prog!

"Brilliantly goofy song from King Crimson..."

All I can say is "These are words that begin with 'E'..." Elephant talk? Elephant talk!

"Squonk" was one of the first tunes I learned when I started playing bass way back when. Then on to Geddy Lee, and Les Claypool. Oh, the horrors!

Kansas is playing here in Reno soon, but, unfortunatley, in a smallish casino venue. I expect a decent performance.

By BobbyEarle (not verified) on 03 Aug 2008 #permalink

Have you heard of Darkest Of The Hillside Thickets?