Archive for November, 2010

News from Van der Graaf Generator

November 11, 2010

Van der Graaf Generator has signed to the Esoteric Recordings imprint of Cherry Red Records and will be releasing their 12th studio album on that label in March of 2011. The new album is entitled A Grounding in Numbers, their next recording after 2008’s Trisector, and features the same line-up of Hammill/Banton/Evans. They will be embarking on a short tour of the UK and some other European countries in March and April. See links below for more information.

Click here for the Peter Hammill website
Click here for the Van Der Graaf Generator website
For further info, contact Vicky Powell, Esoteric Recordings at:

T.R.I.O. – New album out soon!

November 5, 2010

T.R.I.O. — short for The Rhythm Is Odd — have a new album in the can, their second full CD entitled Raw Material. It’s still having the finishing touches put on it, but it should be available in January of 2011.

I got to hear a “teaser” (from this album? … not quite certain, but I think so) entitled “Subway”, currently available for digital download. This “teaser” clocks in at nearly 14 minutes of driving, aggressive prog rock that should give anyone who thinks “Rush playing covers of Mahavishnu Orchestra tunes” sounds like it might be a good idea. Like Rush, they’re a trio of guitar/bass/drums, and also like Rush, each of them is a zen master of his instrument. But they aren’t called The Rhythm Is Odd for nothing … they seem totally unwilling to play in 4/4 time, or anything else remotely “danceable”. OK by me.

You can hear the first six minutes or so of “Subway” on their MySpace Page, so go hear it for yourself. I’ll be looking forward to the whole album! — Fred Trafton

Click here for TRIO‘s web site
Click here for TRIO‘s MySpace page
Click here for TRIO‘s Facebook page
Click here to order or download From Nowhere To Eternity from CD Baby

Yugen – Iridule

November 4, 2010

Yugen isn’t really a band as such. It’s more of a “project” name, by which I mean the founders Francesco Zago (formerly of The Night Watch, which is not the same band as The Watch in spite of the fact that the GEPR and most other sources convolve the two) and Marcello Marinone use a different line-up of musicians on each of their albums. If you think that Zago‘s involvement means this will sound like Genesis just because The Night Watch did, you will be in for a surprise. Because Yugen is RIO and sounds not even a little bit like Genesis.

I haven’t heard Yugen‘s first two albums, but I have heard their third and latest, Iridule. It’s really hard to talk with your jaw scraping the ground, so it’s a good thing I can type my opinion instead. WOW! Is this an incredible album! I think that Thinking Plague has just been unseated as my favorite modern RIO band. Well, maybe not … pretty much the entire band plays on this album, including Dave Kerman (Drums), Mike Johnson (Guitars), Elaine Di Falco (Voices) and Dave Wiley (Electric Bass). Also, Guy Segers (ex-Univers Zero) lends a hand, along with several other incredible musicians. You really couldn’t ask for a more star-studded line-up for this sort of music.

The Altrock write-up that characterizes Iridule as a mixture of Henry Cow, King Crimson and Frank Zappa is actually dead-on, and I was really going to use those same reference bands even before I read their blurb. “Difficult” music, to be sure, yet also infused with enough accessible elements that I was able to grab ahold and hang on for the ride on the first listen. I only seem to have time to review what I feel are the best albums these days, so don’t be surprised if I say one more time, “One of the top albums for 2010”. But the first in the RIO category. Simply superb in every way. — Fred Trafton

Click here for Yugen‘s MySpace site
Click here for the Altrock label’s web site

arK – Wild Untamed Imaginings

November 4, 2010

arK – 2010 line-up (not in photo order) – Ant Short (vocals, flute), Peter Wheatley (guitar, backing vocals), Steve Harris (synth-guitar), John Jowitt (bass), Tim Churchman (drums)

The affectation of capitalizing the last letter of arK is new for the band for it’s 2010 reunion release Wild Untamed Imaginings, perhaps to distinguish themselves from the Norwegian prog metal band or the Swedish glam rock band with the same name (actually, the Swedish guys are The Ark). The story is that these old buddys, after having disbanded around 15 years ago, ran into each other in a pub. They got to talking (and, I assume, drinking), and decided they should get together again and re-record some of their old songs. They also managed to talk their most famous member, IQ/Jadis bassist John Jowitt, into rejoining for the fun. The new line-up also features drummer Tim Churchman (formerly of Darwin’s Radio) on drums. The web site also has photos taken by new IQ (and also formerly Darwin’s Radio) keyman Mark Westworth posted there. The land of British Neo-Prog is a small world, it seems.

Wild Untamed Imaginings is a slick album, released on the ProgRock Records label (the US one, not the UK one). I’d hardly call this prog rock, though. Arena Rock gives the right general impression, with longish songs that are keyboard-heavy anthems with proggy touches including up-front bass work, acoustic guitars, heavy keyboard sweetening, loads of overdubs, and head-banging, fist-pumping rock’n’roll compositions. Think Styx, Foreigner or even Asia and you’re in the right ballpark. Not bad for all that, just don’t expect … well … Wild Untamed Imaginings. Worth a listen for those who aren’t too snobby about their “prog”, and I’d say there’s certainly some enjoyment to be had in this reunion. — Fred Trafton

Click here for arK‘s web site
Click here for arK‘s MySpace page
Click here for arK‘s page on the ProgRock Records site, where you can also order Wild Untamed Imaginings