Friday, April 30, 2010

"We don't mess around" Prog Rock in the mainstream press

I think this may be Steven Wilson's doing, but every day I'm reading more and more about Progressive Rock music in the mainstream presses of North America. With the increasing press mentions, music journalists have had to question why this sort of music was so easily dismissed in the 80s and 90s, and yet continues to make an impression on young music listeners today.

This puzzling dilemma has been the burden on all of this blog's editorial since the thing started. The Buffalo News sums up the recent Prog revival (including Genesis' induction into the hall of fame) like this:
"People who grow up on challenging, imaginative music expect more, and thus, answer the challenge to create art of depth. If they are denied entrance to the trendiest parties along the way, it’s really not too much of a price to pay. After all, they have the music to keep them company."
This is essentially saying that when you put your passion for music ahead of being trendy and popular, you'll end up with something you'll be proud of, and something that won't necessarily fade once the styles change (and they always do). Or am I reading it wrong? Well, click on the link below to read the article for yourself.

Infant of Prog: Porcupine Tree heads new generation of progressive rockers : Jeff Miers : The Buffalo News:

RIP Morris Pert

Sadly, legendary Brand X percussionist and composer Morris Pert also passed away this week.

He's best known to us in the Prog Rock world for his excellent work in Jazz Fusion band Brand X. My recommendation is to give Morrocan Roll or Masques a spin (or pick them up if you don't have them in your vinyl collection already).

This has been a sad week in the world of Progressive Rock.

Composer Morris Pert Official Site

RIP Bo Hansson

Legendary Swedish composer Bo Hansson passed away on Monday. He's best known for his instrumental albums released in the 1970s.

If you see a copy of Music Inspired By the Lord of the Rings, Magician's Hat or Attic Thoughts in your used vinyl store, pick it up in memory of this very talented and underrated musician.

The organist Bo Hansson deceased - Culture & Entertainment |
"Organist and composer Bo Hansson has died. Hansson worked with Janne 'Loffe' Carlsson in the duo Hansson & Carlsson in the late 1960s. The music can be defined as instrumental jazz-rock and psychedelia and the band setting was limited to the drums and organ, without vocals."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roger Waters still looking to record new music - Yahoo! News

Say what you will of Roger Waters. Seriously. Just say it. Go ahead. Here's the last thing I said about him. Not too nice was it? No sir. Not at all. Well, let me try and explain myself for a second, or 20 (seconds), or more...

I have this fear. You know. Fear. I don't want to see myself in forty years as some washed up old geezer who's cashing in on his successful and ambitious youth. You know, like how Mr. Waters has been doing with his recent Dark Side of the Moon tour and the present reworking of The Wall. (See picture to the left) I mean, these are works of art the guy poured his heart into some thirty odd years ago. Now, as he begins his stately climb over the hill, he has to drudge up his most successful work to pay the bills. I mean, I understand the life of a Rock and Roll superstar isn't exactly easy, but wouldn't it be nice to see the old man earning his pay from new and fresh material?

Well, we're in luck. According to this brand new Associated Press interview, Mr. Waters says that he still has plenty of new material building up that he means to release. Not meaning to sound snarky or sarcastic or whatever but...hasn't he been saying this for twenty years now? I guess he did compose an entire opera in that time, which is no small achievement. I'm just such a fan of his most recent "rock" album, Amused to Death, that I'd love to get some more biting and angry social commentary from the guy before he's too old to hold his bass guitar. Well, nevertheless, you can't say he hasn't achieved plenty in his life time. Good on him. I guess. Whatever. Let's just enjoy this interview that I've linked to, shall we?

Roger Waters still looking to record new music - Yahoo! News:
"'Some of them are recorded, and some of them are half-recorded, and I keep promising myself that I'm gonna find a collaborator and work on them and put them together in some kind of coherent form,'"

Monday, April 26, 2010

Found Link: Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson on Prog Rock, 'The Album' and iPods

I'm never sure how many of these I should post here. I know that many of the big mainstream news publications don't enjoy this practice. Heck, Rupert Murdoch and Newscorp don't even like Google linking to their articles. I always thought I was doing them a favour by sending my (measly) readership to their sites and getting their ads a few more views. What do I know? I haven't received a complaint yet so I guess I can keep on doing it for now.

Steven Wilson, somebody who gets plenty of free support from this site, has been continuing his recent pro-Progressive Rock talk. This time, he's interviewed by the Chicago Tribune (link, you're welcome!) and he holds nothing back. He makes plenty of bold statements about the younger generation's draw to vinyl LPs not only due to some nostalgic emotions, but because they get the value of the whole experience. In short: the same crazy stuff I tend to go off about on this here very site. People take Steven more seriously, however. (rightly so too!) He even goes as far as saying there is some sort of youthful rebellion against download culture. I wouldn't even go that far! It's a nice idea though. Go ahead, click below and read for yourself.

Turn It Up: Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson: Prog-rock is antidote to 'frivolous' iPod era:
"Porcupine Tree’s steadily growing fan base argues that Wilson isn’t the only one who thinks so."

Monday, April 19, 2010

A full-on Genesis Reunion still possible? The Ball is in Peter's Court.

Despite everything, the band is still leaving the rumour doors wide open.

This story is actually a few weeks old now, and I've been saving it for a slow news day. A fully reunited Genesis has probably been the main obsession of this weblog since we started covering Prog Rock News. The fact of the matter is that a reunification of the legendary early-70s lineup of the band is the most exciting proposition in this obscure little niche of Rock music that we all enjoy so much.

Just think about it for a second. The last time that Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks properly played on stage together was in 1975. (let us ignore the 1982 Milton Keynes reunion concert, for that was a messy affair under unfortunate circumstances) That's...well...a bloody long time ago. Since then, Phil and Peter have gone on to become global superstars. Hackett has become the Progressive legacy of the band making his own unique brand of music for all us Prog-fans to enjoy, despite the indifference of the rest of the music world. Mike has his Mechanics do what they do well enough, although on a strictly pop-rock bases. Tony, well...Tony made some pleasant film scores and even a symphony not too long ago. Oh, and I guess he has a solo album or two of note as well. The point is that despite the varying level of success these men have experienced outside of Genesis, it's together that they made their real impact on music history.

From the moment Steve and Phil joined the band and they released Nursery Cryme, it was clear that something special was about to happen. By the time Foxtrot came out there was no doubt that this was important music being created. Fronted by a lead singer who could make even the silliest pun-filled lyrics sound like a matter of life-or-death, Genesis was able to play the trickiest complex music with an ease that never took away from the emotional backbone of each track. It was unique and original and was over far too soon.

When Peter decided that he couldn't take the band politics anymore and departed to form his own unique musical future, it was very much over. The next two albums were still Genesis, but without that voice it lost quite a bit of the magic. By the time 1977 came around and Steve felt himself squeezed out of the band, there couldn't have been any doubt that the dream was over. Genesis was done. What we had for the next decade or so was a pop band that didn't have impact of its glory days. Of course, with simpler and more generic song writing came greater commercial success, but as we've discussed before, popularity and quality scarcely go hand in hand in the world of Rock and Roll.

The interview I'm linking to below is with Phil Collins. He's not in very good shape. The guy can't even open a car door anymore, let alone hold a drum stick and swing it with any precession. Despite his pain and suffering, he's stating here that he will not prevent a proper Genesis reunion from happening. He's placing the ball squarely in the court of one Peter Gabriel, who has been the one stopping anything from happening in the first place. Pete has indicated his interest in preforming The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway once again with his former band-mates, he just never has enough time. This means he has more important priorities. At least in his own mind.

What do you think? Should the old men give it another go, or should we just put all this endless speculation to bed?

Phil Collins Hopes to Play With Genesis Again - Spinner UK:
"Not only has it affected his drumming but also his daily life, Collins revealed that he 'can't let go of the spoon or the knife when I eat' or 'open a car door.'"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Found Link: BBC's Storm Thorgerson Cover Art Slideshow

When talking about the cover art for Prog Rock albums we tend to focus mostly on the work of one Roger Dean. However, there is another name that may be just as important historically. Storm Thorgerson, who's work is a stylistically opposite that of Mr. Dean, has probably created more iconic album sleeves than anyone else. Whether it be with the Pink Floyd, Genesis or Led Zeppelin, Storm's art has always garnered eyeball-attention in record shops worldwide.

While many associate his work with the 1970s, he is still quite active, creating unforgettable images for modern proggers Muse and The Mars Volta. The Idea Generation Gallery in London is currently holding an exposition of Mr. Thorgerson's artwork that will last until May 2nd. In honour of this occasion, the BBC has created a charming little slideshow of the man's work accompanied by a voiceover of the artist looking back over his career. It's well worth five minutes of your time. Just click on the link below.

BBC's Storm Thorgerson Slideshow

News: Rush Time Machine North American Tour 2010

After some time off, Rush are hitting the road again. I wonder if by calling the tour "Time Machine" they are referring to the fact that they won't have a new album out by the time they start the tour. Either way, the theme of this summer's road trip seems to be nostalgia, and what better way to relive the past than play the entire Moving Pictures album. This strikes me as a slightly odd choice for a band that has always been weary of living in the past.

I've linked to the full press release which includes all the dates announced for the tour so far. If you are a North America-dweller then chances are Rush is paying a visit near your neck of the woods. They're even playing two shows in their home town of Toronto (one indoors and one out).

Rush is always an excellent live band, new material or not. According to recent interviews with Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart, the band does have some songs in the work, just probably not enough for a full "album", whatever that means in this day of age. Click below to see if Rush is stopping by your hometown.

Rush Time Machine North American Tour 2010 Featuring for the First Time Ever Moving Pictures in... -- TORONTO, April 8 /PRNewswire/ --: "The Time Machine Tour is an evening with Rush, where they will perform their classics, give a taste of the future – and for the first time ever – feature the Moving Pictures album live in its entirety. �"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Essay: Prog Rock isn't a genre

The term "Progressive Rock" has always been a shaky way to define a genre of music. The biggest problem with it is that it has no aesthetic base. What I mean is that even when you only take the "big" and "legendary" bands that I tend to focus on here at the "blog", (another meaningless term in and of itself) there aren't really many things in common between them. ELP sounds nothing like Genesis. King Crimson has very little to do sonically with Yes. You know exactly what I mean. It has always been a problem from not only the bands who are weary of being slapped with the Prog label, but the fans of the bands who have no idea why the band they enjoy is lumped into the same group as others who sound nothing alike. Just because you happen to be the biggest Porcupine Tree fan in the world doesn't mean you don't find the music of The Flower Kings appalling, or vice-versa. Within lies the dilemma; how does one define Progressive Rock?

Googling Progressive Rock points you to a Wikipedia article. The first paragraph, usually where one finds the sumation and definition of a term, reads as follows:
Progressive rock (also referred to as prog rock or prog) is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." (link)
While that will certainly satisfy many, I have a plethora of problems with it. Thankfully, the article does go on with a lengthy descriptions of the various characteristics that make Progressive Rock unique. In reality though, it hardly scratches the surface. Within each description, either sonically or historically, you find a listing of bands that serves as an example. Any student of the music can take one look at the listing and find all sorts of exceptions and contradictions within. The problem is that Progressive Rock can't really be
called a "subgenre" of Rock music. This has really become a problem recently as the ideals
and philosophies of the classic Prog bands are no longer considered musical taboos.

It was so easy in the 80s and 90s. The term "Progressive Rock" was to be
avoided at all cost. If the music you were making could ever fall into this pigeon hole, you were automatically blacklisted by mainstream critics and thus were doomed to live a life of underground obscurity. The institutions that held the candle of Rock popularity, namely Rolling Stone magazine and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame amongst others, decided that the ideas that emerged in the late 60s and early 70s were a mistake of the past.
The idea that Rock music could be anymore than a blues-based verse-chorus pop song was a silly and pretentious idea that could have only come out of the minds of drug-addicted hippies and had no place amongst the 'real' and 'true' definition of Rock and Roll. Playing with the structure and incorporating outside influences into the fold was simply unacceptable behaviour. Never mind the fact that some of the most praised 'proper' rock bands of the 70s often did exactly that (I'm looking at you Led Zeppelin). Two decades of hypocrisy amongst the k
eepers of the keys of mainstream Rock has opened a new level of confusion. While "Prog" never really passed away, like say "Disco" did, the term was vastly accepted as a derogatory label to be slapped on any band breaking the rules. Pretentious was almost synonymous with Progressive Rock. Then the internet came along.

There really can't be any understatement of the importance the internet has had in the re-acceptance of Progressive music in western culture over the last decade. While it was deemed a silly and dated idea of the past, many of the Progressive albums of the 70s have actually stood up well against the more 'popular' music of the decade and don't appear nearly as dated. When you limit the structure of music in the way that Rock critics tried to do, the only way to create a new sound is to use the latest production gimmicks. This dates music rather quickly. Look no further than the 1980s for the worst examples of this practice. The so called "Progressive" bands instead focussed on moving forward the ideas behind the music. This is why an album like King Crimson's Red sounds almost contemporary almost 40 years after its recording. The production and instrumentation is very simple,
but the music itself is still original and unique. Thanks to the internet the keen minded music fans could discover this album, long deemed "wrong". King Crimson's stock has scarcely been higher because of this fact. That leads us to bands that have built a reputation through the internet, such as Porcupine Tree, who whilst never selling out, are now heard playing over the loud speakers of supermarkets in North America. If anything they have only pushed the boundaries of their music with each album. Now, despite the best attempts of certain 'journalists' to keep this from ever happening, the term 'Progressive Rock' is actually becoming more popular than ever before.

I have longed followed the mainstream press' use of the term "Progressive Rock". In fact, there isn't a mention of those two words in the same article that doesn't pass through my Google Reader account. When I first started keeping track of such things, almost a decade ago now, it was scarcely mentioned. You wouldn't find it being used in anything but a negative light.
For example a newspaper review of a new rock album could say "The band gets carried away, almost treading the pretentious waters of silly Prog Rock bands like ELP". However, in the last few years, helped by the growing popularity of bands like The Mars Volta, Muse and of course Porcupine Tree, I can't really keep up with each mention of the term like I used to. New bands are no longer afraid to describe themselves as Progressive Rock in interviews, and concert reviewers often use Progressive Rock next to words like 'unique' or 'creative'. In short: the use of the term has completely flipped in the span of a decade. This, in reality, only furthers the confusion as to the term's actual meaning.

Steven Wilson, someone who gets plenty of free plugs on this blog, has been trying to encourage a new term for the kind of music he makes. While he no longer denies that Porcupine Tree's music is probably best defined as "Progressive", (he use to actively deny this fact) he much prefers the term "Ambitious Rock". In reality, this probably can be used to describe just about anything under the Prog Rock umbrella. He might have a good point. In fact, I almost think you can best define Progressive Rock by saying that it's ambitious rock. Doing this automatically make the use of Prog Rock in the title of this blog to be meaningless. However, saying that this is the Ambitious Rock Blog would only confuse matters. At the end of the day, the music that people who claim to be fans of Progressive Rock enjoy is undefinable. Would it be fair to say that we just like the idea of Rock instrumentation used in unconventional ways? Well, not entirely. Such a grose simplification of the facts just confuses matters more.

It's really simple. Prog Rock isn't a genre. It's more of a philosophy of music. While you can keep following this blog to find out what's happening with "the bigs" like Pink Floyd and Gentle Giant, I can't claim that these bands have anything to do with each other. I almost like the fact that this is the focus of the blog. An undefinable grouping of musical ideas is a far more interesting than limiting what I can write about based on the aesthetic principles of something more narrow like "Heavy Metal" or "New Age" or whatever. I also can't say I see anything wrong with the growing use of the term 'Progressive Rock'. As bands like Genesis are settling into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and bands like Porcupine Tree reach greater popularity the more ambitious they become, I can only take this as a sign that the world is beginning to lossen its collar a bit. People are expanding what they listen to and in turn may find an expansion in what they accept and enjoy. This, in my mind, is a positive trend for a global community who are increasingly able to reach out to each other. While just four or five years ago there was growing fear and anxiety between cultures, perhaps the loosening of musical acceptability will lead to greater peace and understanding on earth. It's a bit of a stretch, but what's wrong with pushing the limits in such a way? Eh?

Monday, April 12, 2010

News: More greasy info on Greasy Love Songs - Zappa fans rejoice

It's not easy being a Zappa fan in the year 2010. Back when the guy was alive and kicking, you barely had to wait a few months before new and exciting material was released. To call Zappa prolific is like saying he had facial hair. Now that wife Gail and son Dwezzil hold the keys to the Zappa vault, we're lucky to see a new release on an anual basis. Sadly, despite the sheer amount of unreleased material gathering dust, the Zappa Family Trust keep extending the time between releases.

When we announced that the orignal vinyl stereo mix of Cruising With Ruben & the Jets was finally making its way into the digital realm, the overwhelming response from fans was "what took so long?" We now have more details on what juicy bonuses will be included on the CD. We also have a release date. May 1st. Wow, that's only half a year since the last Zappa vault release. Perhaps things are picking up in Zappa land. Perhaps not. Either way, click below for all the "teen-age legend(ary)" information.

EDIT!!!!: Vanity Fair has been given an exclusive preview of this release. While they claim that this is the original vinyl mix, it does sound to me like its actually a mono mix. Does anyone have a mono version of this album on vinyl that can figure it out? You can listen to it here: Frank Zappa's Jelly Roll Gum Drop
Also they have the meaning of the song all wrong. It's really know...a woman's chest. Er...Yeah.

Frank Zappa: Greasy Love Songs Out 5/1 on JamBase:
"Among additional tracks included are alternate mono mixes, an unreleased cover of 'Valerie' which enjoyed heavy rotation in the Mothers' concerts circa 1967 and a version of 'Love of My Life' from Studio Z, bringing this CD from 40 minutes in the vinyl release to well over an hour of 'the stuff of teen-age legend,' according to Gail Zappa's text."

Rumour: Godspeed You! Black Emperor making a comeback and hitting the road?

I don't know why there isn't much Post-Rock on this site. It's a sub-genre that I could never really get manically obsessed about. However, I enjoy quite a bit of it. The Toronto based Do Make Say Think probably being the band I enjoy the most. Godspeed You! Black Emperor has probably garnered the most global attention out of all the Canadian Post-Rock bands. They have been dormant for the past few years although rumours stating their breakup have been confirmed as false.

Now, a somewhat cryptic press release has emerged stating that they are active once more has emerged. They are going to be showing up in Europe and "9 American towns" later this year. The Montreal band has never really been a talkative one, so the fact that this press release suggests that they won't be doing any interviews leading up to these live performances is hardly surprising. There also appears to be no suggestion of any new studio-material in the works. Still, this must be good news for fans of the band.

Press Release?
Wikipedia article with all the latest info

News: New PFM Abum

Premiata Forneria Marconi is one of Italy's most important bands. They are also probably one of the most important Progressive Rock bands to emerge from a country that has contributed so much music to genre we like so much. There's no doubt that Italians were some of the first to see the potential of combining classical music with rock and roll. From the time Peter Gabriel's Genesis landed to perform there, an almost endless stream of Progressive bands started to emerge from the boot-shaped nation.

PFM (as they are known in the English speaking world) had the best results out of all the Italian Prog Bands trying to appeal to an audience outside of Italy. Fortunately, they are also one of the longest standing bands from that era. They are showing no signs of stopping. Their newest album "A.D. 2010 La Buana Nevella Opera Apocrifa" is yet another Rock Opera. This time, according to the only information I've found so far, will feature cover songs as well as new compositions. According to BTF.IT, the album will be released as a 2LP set. Click the link below if you're interested in pre-ordering.

BTF.IT >> Italian Distribution >> CD & DVD: "40 years since its first release PFM decide to read again the whole record with new arrangements and new music written right for this anniversary edition. “A.D. 2010 - La buona Novella” in PFM’s vision does not features only cover songs, but lots of new music written to bear and to attend the listener directly from the inside of the tale."

Found Link: The Hindu loves Porcupine Tree

While I work on my review of the 5.1 DVD-Audio version of Porcupine Tree's The Incident, I'll share this mainstream press look at the epic album. In a review that make my use of superlatives to be modest, The Hindu - India's National Newspaper- praises the album for its guts and bravado. As they should.

Whenever I look around at what most of the general population consider "good music" these days, the popularity of Steven Wilson's latest magnum opus is truly refreshing. The Incident still proves to be an album that will stand the test of time. It's certainly a grower, and even those that dismissed it upon release are beginning to come around to its song-cycle structure. Click below to read what The Hindu has to say.

The Hindu : Metro Plus Bangalore / Music : Beatstreet: "The epic 11-minute track is simply one of Porcupine Tree's best. Embodied in melodic simplicity with a rhythmic strumming pattern the piece undulates with cascading crescendos, a rumbling mid-section and a propulsive finish."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Video: Trailer for new Porcupine Tree DVD

At long last, the followup to the highly rated and much loved Arriving Somewhere... live concert DVD is just around the corner. Anesthetize will be released as a BluRay/DVD package and will present live footage from the Fear of a Blank Planet tour in full HD quality. The trailer has been released and it looks like fans of the band will not be disappointed. Check it out:

News: Gong to tour UK this September

When Steve Hillage announced that he would be returning to Gong after decades of solo work, there was little doubt in the Prog world that the new Gong album "2032" was going to be something special. If you live in the UK, you will be fortunate enough to see Hillage reunite with Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth on stage. You do know that 2032 is the year that the Planet Gong makes contact with Planet Earth, right? If you ask me, that's cause for a celebration. Wooo! Pothead Pixies!

Click below to get full details on the UK dates announced thus far:

GONG Returns To The UK in September 2010 2010/04/07: "The forthcoming UK concerts will once again reunite core GONG members, including original founding member Daevid Allen(Guitar & Lead Vocal), Steve Hillage (Lead Guitar), Gilli Smyth (Space Whisper and Poetry), Miquette Giraudy (Synthesizer), Chris Taylor (Drums), Dave Sturt (Bass) and Ian East (Sax and Flute)."

News: Roger Dean is preparing lawsuit for James Cameron's Avatar

We finally have some form of confirmation that Roger Dean is actually going to be taking legal action against James Cameron.

I'm sure that anyone who reads this blog and has seen any of the images from Avatar know that many of the film's iconic scenic look was heavily inspired by Dean's famous cover art paintings from the 1970s. In fact, I know I was looking during the credits to see if Roger Dean was involved with the production design. He was not.

After months of speculation, Mr. Dean has somewhat candidly revealed that he is working on a lawsuit. The link below is to an excellent Korean interview from Dean's retrospective in Seoul's Daelim Contemporary Art Museum.

Flying high on the cover art of Roger Dean - INSIDE JoongAng Daily:
"Dean did not participate in making the film, and is said to be preparing a lawsuit against Avatar’s creators for taking his images without consulting him, including the floating islands that closely resemble the film’s Hallelujah Mountain."

New Jon Anderson Interview

Interviewed in Toronto last week, the former lead singer of Yes (sounds weird eh?) is in a very reflective stage of his career. Confronted with serious illness, the tiny man has taken his banishment from Yesworld with good humour and only slight frustration. Apparently, while he knows he's in no shape to go on the long big-stage tours that the rest of the band are still keen on, he just wishes that Chris, Alan and Steve were a bit more open in talks of finding a replacement for his extra-high vocals.

He also comments on the speculation of an alternate Yes band being formed with himself, Rick Wakeman and 80s heartthrob and Owner of a Lonely Heart composer Trevor Rabin. Apparently he's quite keen on the idea and it's really just a matter of finding time in everyone's schedule.

Click on the link below to read the full interview as it appeared in the Boston Herald last week.

Roundabout path brings Yes’ Anderson to Hub -
"“I think that will happen around the time we get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, when we’re all 90. Like Rick says, we’ll all come along in our wheelchairs.”"

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Video: Pink Floyd if it were played on 8-bit Nintendo system, circa 1987

Well here it is. Not much else to say. It does sound quite a bit like those vintage video games from the late 80s, except it's Pink Floyd. The clip I've embedded happens to be Money. You can find the rest of Dark Side of the Moon 8-bit on Youtube.

News: At long last! The original version of Zappa's Cruising With Ruben & The Jets coming to CD.

This album has never really been available in digital form. If you didn't know, Frank Zappa decided to remove the original drums and bass when he originally released this on CD in the 80s. The result was a very strange sounding album with loud booming 80s-sounding rhythm section on what are essentially 50s-style Doo-Wop songs. Well, almost 18 years later, we finally get this album as it was originally recorded.

The Zappa Family Trust has released a very strange cryptic press release that reveals the release will be titled "Greasy Love Songs". No word on what bonuses might be included with the release, but they do have a pre-order price of around 20 bucks. Click below for all the info we know at this point. Stay tuned to this blog for more details as they become available.

The Cryptic Press Release

Found Link: Toronto Star interviews Geddy Lee

Just wanted to share this nice little interview with you all. There has never been more Rush pride and presence in the Canadian newspapers than in the last couple of years. The Toronto Star gushes over Rush's recent induction into the Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame, the Rush documentary that will debut at Toronto's Hot Docs Festival in May and the new material currently being composed by the toque wearing trio.

Oh, and in case you wanted to know, Rush writes the words first.

Follow the link for the full article:

Geddy Lee humbled as Rush joins Songwriters Hall of Fame -
"With lifelong partners Neil Peart on drums — he’s also Rush’s principal lyricist — and guitarist Alex Lifeson, Lee is in lockdown mode at the moment, writing and recording material for a new album (Rush’s 20th studio opus) and rehearsing for a mini-tour that involves a special diet, daily workouts with a personal trainer, and the kind of intense spiritual and mental exercises only Olympic athletes understand."

Found Link: Porcupine Tree's Drawing The Line selected as NPR's Song of the Day on Tuesday

That's it! They've sold out! Or have they? Whatever the reason for NPR selecting Porcupine Tree as song of the day, I guess it certainly is a sign of the times.

If you don't know, NPR is America's National Public Radio. While they do claim to take pride in selecting music that's outside of the mainstream, from what I can tell the typical 'Song of the Day' is a generic affair. While selecting this song as a 'song' is probably not entirely accurate considering that it is but 1/14 of the epic song "The Incident", this certainly has to be good promo for a band that has been receiving plenty as of late.

The German rock magazine "Eclipsed" has named The Incident as album of the year. Porcupine Tree also topped the reader picked best band, album and live event categories. The general acceptance of ambitious rock music has certainly exploded in the last five years. It's truly a remarkable comeback for a form of music that was long considered dead.

Porcupine Tree: The Virtual And The Visceral : NPR:
"The arrangement of 'Drawing the Line' veers between gentle keyboards — tinkling like a clinically depressed music box — and Wilson's crisp, soaring guitar solos, supported by sympathetic, nuanced drumming."

Found Link: DVDTalk Reviews Frank Zappa: The Freak Out List DVD

While I was excited about the concept of this DVD when it was announced, DVDTalk has put a damper on my entusiasm with a mostly negative review. This is a low-budget British production that, while probably fascinating for hard core fans (like me), will likely bore the rest of the sane world to tears. If you're a real Zappa enthusiast then you might want to pick this one up just to hear from former Mothers Ian Underwood, Don Preston and George Duke. Click below to go to DVDTalk for all the details including a disappointing audio/visual presentation.

While these independently made documentaries are fine and dandy, what we'd really like to see is more from the official Zappa Family Trust. They are still sitting on the infamous Roxy concert video that still remains the holy grail for all Zappa fans. Come on Dweezil! Make it happen already.

Zappa, Frank The Freak Out List : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video:
"The intention of the piece is good; I've always been curious about what makes a musician's mind tick and what gets their creative juices flowing. And I've always been one who has been fascinated by an eclectic taste in music, so to see these tastes of Zappa's musical style for the 'Freak Out!' album are interesting and fun to watch. But I think the gap between experiencing the music and sitting through some of the interviews is a little too deep for the feature to cross."