- Gordian Knot, "Singing Deep Mountain": As frequent readers of my FRTs may have figured out, I'm not typically a big fan of instrumental progrock. Most of the time, I find it to be
cold, sterile stuff - technically impressive, even amazing - but utterly devoid of meaning,
emotion, or feeling. Gordian Knot is one of my favorite counter-examples to show that it's not
the vocals that I'm missing; GK manages to create instrumental music that's got
both incredible technical virtuosity and real feeling.
- Jason Ricci and New Blood, "I Turned Into a Martian": a few weeks back,
a commenter on my last FRT suggested that I might like Jason Ricci and New Blood. He
was absolutely right. One YouTube video I found describes Ricci as "a cross between
Muddy Waters and Frank Zappa". That's a pretty dead-on description. Ricci and New Blood
play incredible blues, with a mixture of other influences, which would be pretty
decent stuff just by itself. But then Ricci is a nearly supernatural harmonica player.
The things that the guy can do with a harmonica are just astonishing. And the rest of the band aren't exactly slouches. Highly recommended. (YouTube clip at the end of the post.)
- Spock's Beard, "The Slow Crash Landing Man": Decent neo-prog. Not a particularly
special track, but not bad.
- Riverside, "Before": Riverside is a band I recently discovered via E-music. They're
a phenomenal neo-progressive band. Their sound is hard to describe; somewhere between
Marillion, King Crimson, and Porcupine Tree.
- Mono, "mere your pathetic light": another really fantastic post-rock ensemble,
very much in the "godspeed" vein. Really excellent stuff.
- Frost, "Welcome to Nowhere": Yet another new neo-progressive band for me. I was
ordering some CDs, and threw this in on a whim. They're quite good - a bit on towards the
poppy-end of neo-progressive. If you like Marillion, there's a good chance you'll like these guys. In particular, they're good at the same kind of wonderful transition that Marillion is known for.
- Steve Hackett, "Omega Metallicus": Hackett is always terrific.
- Marillion, "80 Days": speak of the devil, Marillion pops up. As much as I like some
of the new, Marillion influenced neo-progressive bands, when Marillion comes through the headphones, it's just different. There's just a depth to them that not many bands can
match. Spock's Beard, Frost, Jadis - they're good. But they're not in the same league as
- Tony Trischka Band, "Haunted Hand": Tony Trischka's first album with his jazz band. I'm a bit biased here, because I know Tony personally, and he's one of the most genuinely
nice people I know. I love his band, and Tony playing jazz on the Banjo is even
better than Bela Fleck.
- The Flower Kings, "The Melting Pot": and if you want to make even Marillion sound
like a bunch of pikers, just put on the Flower Kings.
I'm listening to Gordian Knot right now -- it's good stuff. I grew up listening to this kind of music, but I eventually became a fiddler playing old-time American and Irish dance tunes. I still return to prog-rock from time to time, though! I agree that Jason Ricci is quite amazing. A commenter on my blog told me about him.
I was just listening to the new Mono the other day and thinking I should tell you that you'd like it :)
Hey, as the guy who posted the Jason Ricci video, and the one who has been writing about him for years at the Mercury News until I got laid off, I'm glad you picked up on it. I was a lone voice in the wilderness for a long time....I always wanted someone at Google to notice..
Mark, if you haven't already, you might want to check out Cynic's latest album, Traced In Air. Sean Malone (mastermind behind Gordian Knot) is their bass player. Ostensibly a death metal band, the latest offering is very listenable even if you're not into the genre.
Nice comments about Jason, spot on. I echo Brad's frustration, but there're many of us in this wilderness, and Jason's slowly getting the recognition he deserves. This song is on his new album, "Done With The Devil". For those who want to hear/see more, there are a bunch of videos at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=snarkus&view=videos . He also has 50 or so live shows up at http://www.archive.org/details/JasonRicciandNewBlood