Friday, January 29, 2010

Mellodrama: The Mellotron Documentary

While I was looking for this Moog Documentary to recommend as supplemental material for yesterday's post, I stumbled on yet another documentary that may be of interest to a Prog head like yourself (and myself).

Apparently there is a fairly new documentary that was shown in film festivals last fall all about Prog's other favourite instrument, the Mellotron. As much as I ranted and raved about the gooey analogue sound of the Moog, the Mellotron definitely has a special place in the hearts of any fan of Progressive Rock. Just play the opening of Watcher of the Skies in your head and feel your spine shiver. Ahhhhhhhh. Wow. As quoted from the film's site:

Soon, through the music of the Beatles, the Zombies, and the Moody Blues, the Mellotron became the "instant magic sound." In the 1970s, the Mellotron defined the sound of progressive rock bands like King Crimson, Roxy Music, and Genesis. Though forgotten during the 1980s, when digital synthesizers hijacked pop music, the Mellotron is today again a highly desired and sought-after device, a connection for artists like Radiohead and Kanye West to the mystical lost world of invention and possibility.

It features a whole plethora of important musical figures including Prog legands Patrick Moraz and Ian Macdonald. I'm not sure whether or not it is going to get a wider release or not (I highly doubt it) but it may be an interesting film to pick up once it comes out on DVD. The trailer is included below. Find out more at the documentary's website.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Important Prog Rock Instruments: The Moog Synthesizer

Most don't pronounce the name correctly. They look at the name on paper and see Moog and think it's pronounced with a long 'oooooo' sound. Like Food or Mood. This just isn't correct. You see, the Moog was named after its creator Dr. Robert Moog. His name is pronounced with a short 'o' sounds like Vogue or Toad. Say it aloud with me. Moog. Very good. Now don't you ever get it wrong ever again.

Now, here's a pretty amazing video. The late-great Dr. Robert Moog recounts how Keith Emerson's first use of his then new synthesizer on the ELP hit single "Lucky Man". Clearly this was a great way to introduce this strange new sound to the public as it was featured regularly on the radio. This pleased him greatly. Emerson himself takes the stage and proceeds to jam away on the Moog (Tarkus style). Check it out. See that huge mass of wires? That, my friends, is the original Moog in all its glory. It was a big honking thing.

This Wikipedia article will explain how it works. While that big honking machine opened up a new world of sound to progressive-minded keyboardists, it was a pain in the ass to drag around on tour. Enter the Minimoog. Mr. Moog explains...

The smaller form factor allowed Rick Wakeman to go out on tour and play crazy stuff like this:

Wacky. Anyway... Some may say that the Moog now sounds corny and dated. Others would argue that the vintage analogue sound generated by the Moog is timeless and is way more resonate today then the early digital synths of the 80s. In fact, with modern technology it is possible to generate the same sort of tones digitally. When I make my own music I often try to recreate the sounds that legends like Wakeman and Emerson used in the 1970s. What do you think? (Skip ahead to 6:30 for the minimoog solo)

A phenomenon perhaps unique the the world of Progressive Rock? Probably. But anyone who listens to the Prog of the early-to-mid 1970s knows that the Moog's sound can be something appealing even today when we aren't limited by antiquated technology. Sure, maybe it does seem a little cheesy. I don't know. In fact it may be the mellotron that is the real lasting legacy of the Prog keyboardists. We'll take a look at that instrument's story in a few weeks. For now, just enjoy those analogue tones.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Video: More scenes from Avatar?

Seriously Roger Dean should sue. He isn't even credited! Not even a thank you for the inspiration...nothing!

Credit to wigginsdesign who made this splendid animation of the master's art.


Found Link: Review of the new No-Man DVD

This is a DVD that I have been pinning to get my hands on since its come out. I, sadly, currently lack the financial means to acquire it. As many of you already know, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Steven Wilson's ability to produce some excellent sounding music. His No-Man project, which actually pre-dates Porcupine Tree, has always been an interesting blend of the Progressive and the Ambient. Their last two albums, Schoolyard Ghosts and Together We're Stranger, were sonic marvels. Based on this review that I stumbled upon, this DVD seems to be a culmination of the music from those albums with a continuation of the sonic perfection that has been Wilson's trademark for quite some time now. Please, by all means, pick this one up if you are fan of Wilson's work and the mellow moodiness of No-Man. Reviews | No-Man - Returning/Mixtaped [DVD]
The sound mix on this DVD is brilliant and makes clear the atmospheric sound from the sound of the rain coming into the right speaker on the headphones while guitar is played in the left at the end of the first track. The clarity of Tim Bowness’ vocals, the distortion of Steven’s guitar on ‘Lighthouse’. It's just crystal clear (and the reason I now understand why Steven has worked on remastering King Crimson’s work into 5:1).

Review: Pekka Pohjola - Harakka Bialoipokku (B The Magpie) 1974

The one thing I love about Progressive Rock in the 1970s is the sheer amount of music created, most of which is still virtually unknown to most of us even to this very day. It seems as though you could really keep discovering amazing obscure music from all over the world made during that decade and never run out of new music to hear for the rest of your life. Take, for example, Pekka Pohjola. This Finnish born musician/composer could have become recognized as one of the all time greats in a parallel universe. In our currently reality, however, he is probably best known to us in the English speaking western world as a member of Mike Oldfield's 1978 touring band. To others he is known as the bass player in the Finnish Prog band Wigwam in the early 70s. For my own interests, it is his work as a solo artist which strikes me as his true claim to fame.

This album was released in the UK under the title B The Magpie. B, I assume, stands for Bialoipokku. This instrumental album probably does recall another vocal-less Prog album that follows the trials and tribulations of a bird. It actually beat Camel's Snow Goose to market by a year and, in my mind, while similar in certain regards is actually far superior to its better known counterpart. You would be surprised to know that this was only Pohjola's second album as a solo artist. The jazzy brass arrangements and jaw dropping bass playing sound like the work of a seasoned pro.

The story, as far as I can tell, follows Bialoipokku the magpie from his birth, through some sort of great battle, to a kind of upbeat post-war conclusion. I really don't know. It's an instrumental album after all. It really doesn't matter. The music is the real charm here. The album opens on an almost melancholy note with some sad piano chords. Pohjola, while later on proving to be an excellent and varied multi-instrumentalist, handles the piano and bass playing on this album. The second track introduces the brass section. The tempo increases as the main theme of the album plays, and my goodness, what a theme it is. Catchy and uplifting. Anyone who is even remotely interested in the fusion of rock and jazz must check this out.

The real instrument-star of the album is Pohjola'a bass guitar. The guy has some real skill in laying down some thick and lush rhythm throughout, driving the album forward. Just listen to the bass under the sax solo on the album's centrepiece track: Bialoipokku's war. It's jazzy. It rocks. The bass steps into the spotlight on The Madness Subsides. Any doubt that this guy is a master bassist just need to check out the places he is able to take the instrument during the solo. Very very impressive stuff.

If there is any flaw in this album, in my mind, it would have to be that it all ends much too soon. Clocking in at just under 37 minutes, I always feel the need to start the album again once it comes to a conclusion. If you're a fan of the aforementioned Snow Goose and you don't have this album, you have a void in your collection that needs to be filled immediately. Harakka Bialoipokku is a charming, catchy and impressive album that really needs to be heard by just about any fan of instrumental Prog Rock.

Sadly, Pekka Pohjola passed away in 2008 at the tragically young age of 56. While he is considered a bit of a legend in some areas of Europe, I don't think the guy got the recognition he deserved here in North America. Thanks to the internet, we all have the ability to right this wrong. Take my word and not only track down this album, but explore the vast and varied solo works of an underrated master.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Found Link: Learn the art of recording from Prog legend Alan Parsons?! Wow!

Look at what I stumbled upon whilst I was taking my daily stroll across the interwebs. Apparently, Mr. Alan Parsons (you know, Alan Parsons Project, sound engineer for Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon etc...) has a series of video available where he walks you through all the ins and outs of the art of recording. Along the way he talks to a plethora other legendary producers and picks up all sorts of tips and tricks from the greats. The target audience is anybody who is interested in recording their own music at home using their own computer equipment. As the trailer for the DVD suggests, anyone with a laptop and an idea can be a music producer. If you are interested is such things you may want to check it out.

Santa Cruz company recruits sound engineering legend for new on-line/DVD series on the mysteries of recording music - Santa Cruz Sentinel
Who better, then, to learn the art of recording from than Alan Parsons?

Thanks to a Santa Cruz company, Parsons's brilliance is now an open book for anyone with a broadband connection. "The Art and Science of Sound Recording," produced by Keyfax NewMedia from their offices on the Eastside of Santa Cruz, might be called the "Alan Parsons Project," if Parsons himself hadn't used that name for his enormously successful 1970s and '80s recording act.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Found Link: Peter Banks interview with Gibson

Here's an interesting interview that Peter Banks did with Gibson (the guitar company) on a whole range of topics which include the founding of Flash, leaving Yes and obviously his use of the Gibson ES-335. Interesting stuff for anyone interested in this most underrated Prog Rock legend.

Prog-Rock Legend Peter Banks Talks About Yes, Flash And ES-335s
When you formed Flash, did you have in mind doing something stylistically that was radically different from Yes?

Looking back it would be very easy to say I had a grand plan, but I really didn’t. What I really had was a list of things I wanted to avoid. Even though I was just 22 or 23 when Flash got together, I had been a professional musician since the age of 17. I wanted to put together a true band. I had never had a band of my own before, but I didn’t want Flash to be my band. I wanted it to be a cooperative thing. And that’s basically how it was. I wanted to do something that was very involved, and original, and musical, and entertaining. I wanted to do things that a three-piece band ― with a guitar, bass, drums and a singer ― had never done before. We tried using a keyboard player, but that didn’t really work.

PETER BANKS The White House Vale

News: Porcupine Tree topps some of 2009's music polls

Us here at the Prog Rock Blog (pretty much just me) would love to congratulate our (my) favourite contemporary band Porcupine Tree on topping a whole lotta music polls for 2009. Steven Wilson and crew are easily doing some of the best music going today Progressive Rock or otherwise. Check out the link to their official website for all the details.

Porcupine Tree - Official Website
PT Tops The Polls
Porcupine Tree tops the critics polls for 2009 in Germany’s Eclipsed Magazine. The Incident was voted Best Album of the Year, with PT also grabbing the No.1 honours for Best Live Concert of the Year, and Time Flies came in at No. 5 in the Best Song of the Year category.

SW’s Insurgentes got voted in at No. 25 in the Best Albums of 2009 category, whilst SW’s remix of King Crimson’s seminal album, In The Court of the Crimson King was voted in at No. 9 in the Best Reissues of the Year section.

Listener’s to Poland’s Radio 3 also voted The Incident as No.2 album of the year.

The latest edition of Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine also publishes its Best Of polls for 2009 and once again, PT does very well indeed.

PT were voted as No.1 Best Band, the Critic’s No.1 Best Album of the Year was The Incident (SW's Insurgentes was No. 6). The Reader’s poll saw The Incident come in at No. 2.

For their Event of the Year, PT’s The Incident tour was voted at No.4, whilst Gavin got the No.2 spot as Best Drummer, and Steven nabbed the No.4 slot as Best Guitarist. SW also took the No.1 slot as Prog Icon of 2009! Finally, the King Crimson reissues (which SW remixed) were also voted in at No.1 in the Best Reissue category.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Prog Rock Guide to the Project/Object - Burnt Weeny Sandwich

By the time this album had been released, Frank Zappa had already dissolved the original lineup of The Mothers Of Invention. You might then consider this album a collection of leftovers from that lineups late 60s recordings. It is exactly a certain extent. The material on this LP was recorded over a wide timespan and is a bit of a collage. Some pieces were taken from here, others were picked up from there. Yet, somehow, Zappa was able to pull in all these various recordings and create an album that works as a whole just as well as any album by the original Mothers. That's no small achievement considering just how well all of those records were assembled. As I said in my review of Absolutely Free, Zappa and The Mothers were really insanely ahead of their time when it came to the use of The Album as a united whole as opposed to a collection of unrelated tracks.

What makes this album work so well as a whole? Well, the vast majority of it is entirely instrumental so it sure isn't unified by a lyrical theme. What makes this album work so well is the structure and order of the tracks. You really feel that you go on an adventure with this album. The album begins deceivingly with a simple doo-wop song. WPLJ is actually a cover of a song originally recorded by the Four Deuces in 1956. Zappa performs this song completely straight. It is essentially a heartfelt tribute to a song that clearly had an impact on a young Zappa and if it wasn't for the comical Spanish rambling near the tracks end, it is performed with honest sincerity. After the track fades out you should strap yourself in because you are about to enter a completely different world.

Igor's Boogie must be a tribute to Igor Stravinsky, another one of Zappa's childhood heroes. The short quirky instrumental is performed by the members of The Mothers who could actually read music. Zappa, in case you didn't know, was composing chamber music before he even considered becoming a rock and roll song writer. With many of the tracks on side one of Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Zappa creates a little chamber ensemble with the 'talented' members of the group. This chamber ensemble really shines on both movements of Holiday in Berlin. The track was composed after a Mothers of Invention concert in Berlin in which a riot broke out. The whole event was really dangerous for the members of the band and the playful feel of the music really doesn't quite reflect the nature of the event that inspired it. Nevertheless this is Frank the composer at his best.

Zappa's guitar is naturally present here and really shines not only on the Theme from Burnt Weeny Sandwich, but also on the 'Full Blown' movement of Holiday in Berlin. The guy really has a knack for some skilled yet tuneful lead guitar. The first side of the LP closes with Aybe Sea, a classically fused piece with lots of appealing layered keyboard and moving acoustic guitar. The sound of the piece is almost Baroque with its harpsichord. The piano and guitar shift gears and the whole piece trickles out like the tide. This is really one of Frank's more beautiful and underrated instrumental.

Side two opens with more piano. Zappa is really shining here as the great classical composer that he is often not given credit for being. The 18 minute epic Little House I Used To Live In has just about a bit of everything, from its soaring main theme to the extended live solos. In fact, you never know which bits are live and which were recorded in a studio. The track encompasses the collage theme of the album into a piece that has bits from all over the place and yet never feels disconnected. The highlight of the song might just be the extended violin solo that really burns the house down. It smokes. It rocks. It flies and soars. As the piece ends, many themes from side one are repised and the whole thing ends and a huge cacophony. The crowd arrupts with applause and then you hear some member of the audience shouting his lungs off. Zappa replies "Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform and don't kid yourself".

After the crazy instrumental adventure, the album comes full circle with yet another classic doo-wop cover. This time it's Jackie and the Starlites' Valerie. I'm not sure why, but it's almost an emotionally moving way to conclude the disc. It probably has to do with the album's amazing structure. Starting and ending the album with such simple and serious doo-wop songs creates a perfect circle. You start your adventure on firm familiar ground before being taken on a tour of the unknown before being brought home.

As vast and wide as Zappa's discography is, I really think that this album deserves much more recognition. It usually gets buried as being experimental and difficult, but this couldn't be further from the truth. This album has some of Zappa's most accessibly beautiful melodies. The unique and brilliant structure of the album means that you never feel it get too out of hand. It all fits together perfectly. I highly recommend this to any Prog fan who is looking for an early glimpse of instrumental Frank Zappa: the composer and producer. A real unappreciated work of art.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

News: Rush heading to the Canadian songwriters hall of fame

Rush is finally getting their dues as excellent songsmiths up here in the Great White North. You know, while I applaud the songwriters' hall choice, there seems to be a stigma about considering Progressive artists for these sort of accolades. It really is a great crime to always generalize Progressive Rock as nothing but a platform for showoff type musicianship. Just because Prog bands choose to break the traditional mold and structure of the typical pop song doesn't mean they aren't writing songs.

While you can't argue with the list of songs below, I would have loved for them to include at least one of Rush's early epic suits. How about 2112? Or maybe even the title track from Hemispheres? In my mind those are the real example of creative and original songwriting. But then again, I'm a crazy dude. Tom Sawyer's a great piece of work which you can't argue about regardless of what you think of as 'ideal' songwriting. So kudos Geddy, Alex and Neal. Congrats and enjoy the Limelight.

The Canadian Press: Rush, Robert Charlebois to be among inductees to songwriters hall of fame
Rush hits making the list are "Tom Sawyer," "Limelight," "The Spirit of Radio," "Subdivisions" and "Closer to the Heart."

Monday, January 18, 2010

News: Steven Wilson continuing to work on King Crimson Remixes

Some interesting material from Robert Fripp's journal on the work Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree and No-Man and Blackfield and Bass Communion etc...) is doing to remix the original King Crimson albums into stereo and 5.1 surround sound. You've already read my review of the 5.1 Lizard (if not use the search box on the right side of the page to find it, it'll be fun) and if the quality of the first batch of releases that came out in the fall '09 are any indication: these should be amazing. Read all about it and check out the pictures on Fripp's Diary.

Our intended work this week is to mix / re-mix Poseidon in 5.1 & stereo, and re-mix Islands & Larks’ in stereo; both of the latter have already been mixed in 5.1. Poseidon has the disadvantage that we have not been able to find the original pre-bounce tracks. So, we can’t access the original individual mellotron parts. The main mellotron parts on Poseidon – the song is mixed together with acoustic guitar on a stereo pair; drums & bass are also on a stereo pair. Devil’s Triangle is missing lots of its constituent parts. Nevertheless, we have been able to significantly improve Peace, Pictures of a City, Cadence, Cat Food & Groon …

News: Keith Emerson and Greg Lake team up to go unplugged

This should be interesting. I assume Mr. Palmer is busy with the reformed Asia. What other reason could there be for not bringing to whole of ELP to North America once again? How are they going to bill these concerts? Live with EL_? (Well obviously not but its a silly thought) Nevertheless here is the news as found on Greg Lake's website:

Many American fans have expressed keen disappointment because they cannot make the UK reunion of Emerson Lake and Palmer. We are all looking forward to that event, and that first reunion of the band in more than a decade is the highlight of the coming summer.

Nonetheless, American fans will not be disappointed. There is a special treat in store as Greg and his writing and performing partner tour this April in what is billed as "An intimate evening with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, featuring the music of Emerson Lake and Palmer, the Nice and King Crimson."

This special "unplugged" and intimate two man show is unlike any the two have performed, solo or with others, and we eagerly look forward to meeting you there.

The tour begins in April and the following dates are already booked:

  • April 1, 2010 - Cleveland, OH - Lakewood Civic Auditorium
  • April 2, 2010 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theater
  • April 3, 2010 - Ridgefield, CT - Ridgefield Play House
  • April 6, 2010 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
  • April 8, 2010 - New York, NY - Nokia Theatre Times Square
  • April 9, 2010 - Westbury, NY - Theatre at Westbury

(More dates will be added soon)

News: Anthony Phillips Re-Issues

Great news for fans of Genesis' original guitarist. If you are at all interested in ambient and really beautiful acoustic guitar and piano music, I really do recommend the albums in Ant's Private Parts and Pieces series. We should be seeing the first two albums of this series remastered on CD some time in early February. Here's more info:

Voiceprint Records are set to re-issue more of Ant's back catalogue albums during the course of 2010, with the first release being the first two albums in the Private Parts & Pieces series (Private Parts & Pieces and Back To The Pavilion) which are scheduled for release as a double CD set on 15th February. Both of the albums have been re-mastered for this release and Private Parts & Pieces also features a previously unreleased extra track in the form of a 1976 recording of Movement IV from Guitar Quintet. More information on this release can seen on a new page here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rush 'abandoning' the album? Say it ain't so Neil!

As reported on the excellent music blog Up The Downstair, Neil Peart, St. Catherine Ontario native drummer extrodinaire (of Rush fame, duh), has hinted on the Canadian Press that the next music we hear from the Canadian rock trio may be nothing but individual tracks to be downloaded on the net via itunes. The quote is as follows:

"We're kind of taking this as a challenge to do something with, rather than to moan about," he explained.

"(It's) a healthier reaction than getting mad: 'Aww, things aren't how they used to be - we wanted to make a 12-inch album with two sides!' Those things ARE hard to give up, and every time now we make a side one and side two mentally and build the dynamics . . . so there is something lost.

"But, on the other hand, it's pointless to lament about it, and now we have the opportunity to take advantage of this amorphous situation going on in the music business right now."

Fair enough Neil. Fair enough. However, you would think that with all the time that his fellow Rush band-mate Alex Lifeson has spent hanging around Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson, he would be slightly influenced as to the importance of the album format. Sure the physical medium of the vinyl record and compact disc is hardly relevant in the digital world, but as Steve and myself constantly drone on about: the art of creating an extended progression of music creates a much more powerful listening experience then a 3-4 minute single track ever could, can and will.

So, while I agree that the physical media of the LP may not be necessary (although I clearly still dig it), releasing individual tracks as single downloads is hardly going to result in anything really groundbreaking from this ageing band. Not that their last few "albums" really resulted in anything terribly inovative or worthwhile in my opinion one way or the other. Snakes and Arrows? More like Flakes and Sparrows. Vapour Trails? More like Tapered Snails. Ha. Take that.

Oh, by the way. Neil's version of the Hockey Night in Canada theme song really does ROCK.

News: Porcupine Tree announce second leg of the Incident tour - American Dates

Well, no word if they will be making their way back to my own home town of Toronto, despite Wilson's assurance that he'd be back in the Spring at his last concert here. Nevertheless, here are the concert dates announced for the second leg of their wildly successful Incident tour. More info can be found on the official Porcupine Tree website.

24th April – Miami, FL – The Fillmore
28th April – Charlotte, NC – Amos’s Southend
Fri 30th April - CHICAGO, RIVIERA

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vintage Vinyl - Tales From Topographic Oceans by Yes

I stake my reputation as a music critic and opinion-generator-thing and throw all my support behind one of the most controversial Rock albums ever made. Simply put: I adore this thing. From the album art down to the music itself. (Yes, I even think The Remembering is genius and not at all padded)

News: Back from the death - Flash is back!

The endless parade of Prog bands who have long be thought dead continues. Flash, Peter Banks' band after being rudely booted out of Yes to make room for Steve Howe, is back! Peter Banks will not be part of the band, however, which may lead to lots of speculation about why and how they are going to preform without him. They have already put out some new tracks that they're working on and you can hear them on Youtube. Original members Ray Bennett and Colin Carter have been rehearsing some of their classic material and I've included that video on this post.

What do you think? What is the cause of this trend? Is the ever growing acceptance of Progressive Rock causing a lot of these bands to consider that they actually might have a chance of attracting a new audience? Or is it just another case of old washed up geezers trying to make an easy buck to pay off some gambling debt? This is all just speculation of course, but I'd still love to hear your opinion on this matter.

YouTube - Ray Bennett & Colin Carter 1st Flash Rehearsal in Vegas

Ray Bennett & Colin Carter 1st Flash Rehearsal in Vegas

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Found Link: Avatar, proof James Cameron loves Yes?

I haven't seen this movie. Whenever something is this popular I tend to be very disappointed. I'm waiting until this thing comes out on Blu Ray before I even consider renting it. This hasn't stopped me from seeing endless promotional clips for the film and there is only one thing that kept popping into my mind: I hope Roger Dean is getting some sort of royalties here. I mean, James Cameron has pretty much ripped off Prog's cover artist-of-choice here hasn't he? How many of you saw the film and kept thinking in the back of your heads "Gee this kind of looks like the cover for Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe?"

Did Prog Rock's Greatest Artist Inspire Avatar? All Signs Point To Yes
James Cameron spent years creating Avatar's floating islands and crazy dragons, and then an army of concept artists brought them to life. But maybe they had some inspiration from somewhere else? Like classic album-cover artist Roger Dean? Behold the evidence.

Welcome to the future - Prog Rock in 2010

If there is any doubt left, Progressive Rock is no longer a dirty word. In fact, Time magazine even named a Progressive album as the third best album of 2009. This trend has slowly been developing over the last decade and I think we've reached a sort of turning point in the last year or so. While not all of you may agree with my crazy ideas on this topic, I really think the internet is a major cause of this revival of music considered foolish, pretentious and antiquated as recently as a decade ago. While there are still big labels churning out big music that sell in big numbers, this is slowly becoming less and less the norm. The money that used to endlessly flow the way of these big companies is starting to dry up.

Welcome to the future my friends! The Prog Rock Blog will continue the work that has been done over the last few months, bringing you all the news, reviews and opinions that others are afraid to pronounce so boldly. I'm going to be putting my money where my mouth is (or more accurately, putting my mouth where I think the money is going to be) and really put all my efforts to not only making this blog great, but also to a series of other initiatives that would have been impossible to do without the world wide web. You think a major newspaper or magazine would publish the kind of stuff I write here? Not in a world before the internet. I can say something totally outlandish like "Tales From Topographic Oceans is one of the greatest album of the 1970s, much better than Led Zeppelin IV" and nobody can stop me. The whole world can read that now that it's posted online. The whole world may think I'm crazy, but at least I'm not censored by an editor to please the will of the magazines advertisers.

So please, join me in embracing this freedom.  Head over to a search engine near you and discover some obscure band that would have been impossible to find in the tightly controlled media landscapes of the 80s and 90s. The future is here my friends, and it is simply wonderful.

Mastodon's Crack The Skye Named #3 Album Of The Year
Time magazine has ranked Mastodon's Crack the Skye as the third best album of 2009.