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Under the Radar changes for 2017

As stated on my flagship blog Unencumbered Music Reviews, changes are afoot on my remaining 2 blogs. In effect, Under the Radar is now out of the review business. All of the existing reviews will eventually be moved over to UMR. It will take some time, and it won't be a dedicated project, so this blog will be a hodgepodge for a long while I suspect. I was miles behind on getting the contemporary reviews up (1990's and on), and rather than force a band page because a review existed, I have given up on that quest.

What this does do, however, is free this blog up for something that I've wanted to do for some years. Basically a gathering place for active - or potentially active - contemporary progressive rock bands and their activities. My coveted "A-List" as it were. So each band page will have an overview, along with the latest album news, as I hear about it (or you all alert me!). As news evolves, I will just simply move the band page to the top to highlight that news. This will replace the need for a monthly Roundup post, and it will also allow me to get band pages up much quicker, and not worry about reviews and discographies, which is what slowed this blog down to a crawl. Bands that are no longer active, and have no active internet presence (many of the bands we featured from the 90s for example), will simply be removed, and added to the UMR site. So you will see some pages go away while new ones get added at a quicker clip.

In addition, when I do add new reviews to UMR, I will also move the band page forward. To see the review, simply click the album cover and it will take you there. I'm still messing around with the design of the new band pages, but it must be simple, or I'll be back to taking forever to get anything done.

Look for some new band pages to go up first thing in 2017, and then like UMR, it really just depends on when I have some free time.

Oh, and one design note. Since links are an important part of UTR, I have tweaked the HTML code so that a new window always opens when you click on a link. I think that's easier than using the back button, and it allows you to open Facebook, a webpage  and some samples without having to open them up manually.

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The ongoing HiPo list

Read about this the purpose and idea of this thread at the bottom of this post. Feel free to opine on any of these albums as you wish.

New additions (moved forward with this post)
Cosmic Triggers (Russia)

Karakorum (Germany)

Kungens Män (Sweden) This band many releases already, and 5 are durable mediums. Looks like a group to check out at least one of.

Professor Tiptop (Norway)
Weserbergland (Norway)


Prior entries that have yet to be purchased or heard
Cherry Five (Italy) Reformation album, so won't consider this against the 1975 album.

Consorzio Acqua Potabile - Coraggio e Mistero (Italy) New album with Alvaro Fella (Jumbo!) on vocals. Considering this HiPo because of the Fella presence

Fatal Fusion (Norway)

Il Fauno di Marmo (Italy)

Hadal Sherpa (Finland)

Jordsjo (Norway) OK - just a quick update that Jordsjo will have a CD out in the fall. Yaay!

Merry Go Round (Italy)

Mythic Sunship (Denmark)

The Winstons (Italy)

Witchwood  (Italy)

Wucan (Germany)

Prior entries that have been hear…

Anglagard, Sweden

News: According to the band's website from October 8th: "The band has gone into songwriting mode after several concerts in North America (which happened to include full renditions of "Hybris"). In related news, Jonas, Johan and Erik have apparently started a side project with Thomas Johnson playing some sort of progressive jazz music. In terms of website news, the recent DVD releases have finally been added to the discography." Great - add a distraction there. These guys are hilarious. Probably by 2024 we can expect a new album then...

Facebook Website Samples
Location: Stockholm

Overview: Probably the foremost contemporary post 1990 band to capture and recreate all that was great about the early 1970s original progressive rock movement.

UMR notes

Omnia Opera, England

News: Omnia Opera are still kicking! They're actively looking for a new keyboard player, so it seems they're ready to get going again. They also have an offshoot band called 7Shades and they recently played with The Oroonies - yet another blast from the past. Both of these bands have old cassettes that are in dire need of reissue.

Website Facebook Samples
Location: Kidderminster (SW of Birmingham)

Overview: Omnia Opera can best be described as a heavier and more in-yer-face variation of the classic UK festival space rock sound. More Hawkwind and less Gong that is to say. About the only band I can think of that rocks harder than Ozric Tentacles in this genre.

UMR notes

Homunculus Res, Italy

News: It appears the new album from Homunculus Res will be coming in November, based on a comment back in August. So great news there. No title or cover as of yet, so I'll leave the second album up.

Facebook Samples
Location: Palermo, Sicily

Overview: Homunculus Res is a tremendous new Canterbury styled band from Italy that have perfectly captured the spirit of another era. Brilliantly mixing melody and complexity, with a jazzy undertone.

UMR notes

Secret Saucer, USA

News: Secret Saucer have just released their 7th album The Reset. It appears to be LP only at the current time (and released in Germany). I've lost track of Secret Saucer, as I haven't heard anything from them since Tri-Angle Waves in 2009.


Facebook Samples
Location: The band usually just state that are from Ohio, but if I recall right they are from near Cleveland in the northeast part.

Overview: Secret Saucer could best be described as a space rock jam band. Similar to Oresund Space Collective and  others of its ilk.

UMR notes

October Equus, Spain

News: There's talk of a new album, and in at least one post, it was discussed it might be without a rhythm section - a chamber type work. Nooo.... don't do it! Resist the temptation. :-) Permafrost, from 2013, remains the last album, and I never did get any notes down for it. I'm sure I will eventually.

Facebook Samples
Location: Madrid

Overview: October Equus'first album was almost like a psychedelic Present (Belgium), a very interesting combination that I found highly appealing. With each subsequent release, October Equus ups the ante on complexity, while toning down the more jamming aspect of their sound.

UMR notes

Nuova Era, Italy

News: Return to the Castle was released late last year, and has received mixed reviews. It would appear their controversial decision to move to English has divided the fan base.

Facebook
Location: Firenze/Florence

Overview: Probably more than any other band, Nuova Era can be credited with bringing back the classic early 70s Italian progressive rock sound... kicking and screaming into the 90s. The band has reformed in the 2010 decade, though strangely they've moved to English vocals, something that goes against the very core of the style. I haven't heard them yet, so can't say how successful the reformation has been.

UMR notes

Quaterna Requiem, Brazil

News: Quaterna Réquiem are very active on the live front in their home country of Brazil. No word on a new album though.

Facebook Samples
Location: Rio de Janeiro

Overview: Quaterna Réquiem were one of the first bands of the late 1980s/early 90s progressive rock renaissance to review the works of the Mediterranean bands such as Quella Vecchia Locanda and Gotic, rather than the standard English "Big 3" of Genesis, Yes, and ELP.

UMR notes

Lumerians, USA

News: Lumerians are very active playing live and touring. There's talk of a new album, but nothing since Transmissions From Telos Vol III from 2014 (which came after IV...) - an album I haven't heard yet myself.
Samples Facebook
Location: Oakland, California

Overview: Lumerians' rhythms are pure Krautrock motorik, straight from the Can and Neu! school. The dreamy vocals recall Barrett era Floyd, or perhaps more to the point, the early 90s neo psych of Sun Dial

UMR notes

Astrakan, England

News: In 2016, Astrakan released their 3rd album Hidden Agenda. I haven't heard it to date. Otherwise not much to report here.

Website Samples Facebook
Location: London

Overview: Astrakan are a fine band operating between Canterbury and jazzier forms of rock. Comets and Monsters adds an avant prog edge.

UMR notes