prog Archive

Hundred-word Reviews, December 2018

This will almost certainly be my last roundup of new releases – capsule review style – for 2018. Lots of great music came out this year; don’t let anyone tell you differently. As always, each of these albums deserves more coverage than I’m able to give here, and each warrants a spin (at least) by

A Look Back at the Tubes’ ‘Remote Control’

The Tubes were among the most outrageous of 1970s rock groups. With an impressively muscular and underrated instrumental foundation, the group – or at least lead singer Fee Waybill – acted out the band’s bizarre tunes live onstage. Songs like “White Punks on Dope,” “Don’t Touch Me There” and “Mondo Bondage” were clever to begin

Before and Beyond with Yes Guitarist Steve Howe

Progressive rock giant Yes is currently on tour celebrating the band’s 50-year anniversary. Today the group is led by Steve Howe, Yes’s longtime guitarist (he joined in 1970 and has been with the band through most of its albums). Just ahead of the tour, Howe took the time to answer a few questions about the

Album Review: Patrick Grant – Fields Amaze and Other Strange Music

Anything that crosses my desk and making mention of Philip Glass warrants a closer link. But the placid soundscapes of Glass’ work aren’t at all what you’ll find within Fields Amaze. This is a remixed, remastered, re-whatever of Patrick Grant’s 1998 work. Created for percussion and tuned instruments, it’s a varied collection of instrumentals that

Album Review: All India Radio — Space

From the outset, All India Radio is all over the map. The name suggests a group from the Indian subcontinent, and the music draws clear inspiration from British late-period psychedelic/space rock (most notably Pink Floyd) and late-late-period American psych revival (specifically Flaming Lips). After all that, All India Radio is actually an ambient/chillwave group from

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part Four)

Continued from Part Three… Redux ’92: Live in Japan (1993) Six years after disbanding, Utopia surprised most onlookers by regrouping for a run of concerts in Japan. The shows were well-received, and a live recording was released on compact disc and video the following year. “I look at that video,” Sulton says, “and I think,

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two… Utopia (1982) Meanwhile, Rundgren, Wilcox and Powell had continued without Sulton, adding bassist Doug Howard as they began work on a new album for Network Records. The new-wave flavored Utopia featured some of the band’s strongest songwriting to date. “It was a very collaborative period,” says Wilcox. Once Sulton came back

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… Ra (1977) The most durable Utopia lineup now in place, the band made a concerted effort toward internal democracy. Or at least as much of a democracy as possible when the group included Rundgren, a star with his own separate record contract. “It was as democratic as any marriage is democratic,”

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part One)

In 2018, one of the unlikeliest reunions in rock history became a reality. Todd Rundgren’s Utopia – or at least three-fourths of its 1980s lineup – came back together for a two-month tour, one that would survey the band’s musical journey from a groundbreaking progressive ensemble to a more conventional (yet distinctive) melodic rock band.

Multiple Discs, Multiple Artists (Part 1 of 2)

It’s purely happenstance, but at the moment I have two discs each of archival/reissue/compilation music from seven acts. (Actually, I have three discs each by three of those, but I’m trying to shoehorn these reviews into a theme, so work with me here.) These diverse releases cover a lot of stylistic ground, and they’re all