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Showing posts from September, 2017

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.


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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.

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Agusa, Sweden

News: Precisely one day after I reported about a new album, I found another announcement stating Agusa's 3rd album will be self-titled and released October 27th. And the above is the cover! OK, then...

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Location: Malmo

Overview: Agusa's blueprint is instrumental psychedelic rock like the early 70s masters (think Flasket Brinner here) with Hammond organ, acoustic and fuzz guitar, wordless voices, pounding percussion - all with that distinct Nordic touch (while occasionally looking east towards Asia), that shows up in their melodies and overall atmosphere.

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Humus, Mexico

News: Humus is still kicking around, and playing live shows in their native Mexico. I haven't heard any of their output since 1999's Whispering Galleries. The scan above represents their 2014 comeback album Wheel of Malarkey, and I believe they have more than that, at least online. I need to get on the stick here.

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Location: Mexico City

Overview: Humus started as a rather primitive space rock group, and evolved into something highly complex, while never losing their fierce psychedelic edge. In the end, they combine two of my favorite styles: Space rock and Canterbury fusion. Like a meeting between Sensations' Fix and National Health. A brilliant band in my estimation.

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Deluge Grander, USA

News: Deluge Grander have announced that their 4th album will be released in November, and is titled Oceanarium.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Overview: Deluge Grander is a group created by the ever creative mind of Dan Britton, formerly of Cerebus Effect. This is Britton's vehicle for old fashioned over-the-top 1970s American school of complex proggy prog ala Cathedral, Mirthrandir, Pentwater, and Yezda Urfa.

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Papir, Denmark

News: Papir's 5th album was released on August 18th. Available as a 2 LP or 2 CD set. And of course the band are now enjoying playing many live shows in support of.

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Location: Copenhagen

Overview: Papir are a guitar trio with keyboard accompaniment, that combine no-nonsense cosmic psychedelic jamming with the spirit of the original early 70s Krautrock movement.

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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.

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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.

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French TV, USA

News: French TV's new album #12: Operation Mockingbird has just been released!

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Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Overview:  French TV are a long running group from Louisville, Kentucky. They started more in fusion realms, with a slight Canterbury edge. Over the years, they added more grit and complexity, and certainly are a key contributor to what is now know as the Avant Prog genre. They always had a great sense of humor, and definitely their politics run left of center, as to be expected for a group such as this. But since they were primarily a instrumental group, it only comes out in their commentary accompanying each release, and honestly is quite fun to read (and very humorous). French TV are certainly one of the best American progressive rock bands of the last 30 years.

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Kotebel, Spain

News: Kotebel have released their 7th album, entitled Cosmology, back in July. It apparently brings back the flute, which can only be considered a good thing. This is something I should buy pronto.

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Location: Madrid

Overview: Kotebel were formed by Venezuelan keyboardist Carlos Plaza in 1999, and now could arguably be considered the premier symphonic progressive rock group from Spain. And one of the top groups for all of Europe actually. The band's origins were far less lofty in scope, starting out primarily as a solo vehicle for Plaza. Eventually more ensemble members were added. By the time of Fragments of Light (Sensations' Fix anyone?), there is clearly a sense that there is true synergy within the band, and many more ideas are brought forth with increasing complexity.

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Arcane, England

News: Well look at this. I was cleaning up some older posts, figuring this one would get archived, and look who's back in action? Well it's not like Lawler ever went away, but he's back to issuing honest to goodness CDs again! Hooray. More on that below. In any case, Moon represents Arcane's 5th proper release and came out in April of 2017. In addition, he/they have just released a live CD called E-Day 2017, so that counts as 6 now. I need to investigate further apparently...

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Location: Lancashire area

Overview: Arcane is an extension of one Paul Lawler, and are one of many UK collectives/artists playing in the retro Tangerine Dream mode. Of the titles I heard, which are only the first 2, they are certainly in the top tier within the genre. Arcane started by screwing around with some backstory of being a mysterious lost German band. It was tongue in cheek for sure, but probably unnecessary as well. If you're a fan of bands like Radio Massacre Internat…

Free System Projekt, Netherlands

News: As noted on this site in April, Free System Projekt's first album in many years did indeed come out (entitled Five Suns).

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Location: Huizen (east of Amsterdam)

Overview: Of all the current bands playing in the retro Berlin School of sequencer based electronic music, Dutch ensemble Free System Projekt may be the closest in imitating the original pioneers. Especially the Tangerine Dream variant from 1974 to 1977.

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Dungen, Sweden

News: Dungen are active playing live shows, including a recent stint here in North America's west coast! No word on a new album as of yet.

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Location: Stockholm

Overview: Dungen are certainly the most popular of the European late 60s and early 70s psychedelic revivalists. Lead by Gustav Ejstes, himself a child of the 80s and 90s and a fan of hip hop and popular culture, perhaps he was better suited to relate to the upcoming hipster generation. His ability to tap into the very best of his parent's generation has lead to great success - even internationally, as Dungen's albums have sold quite well even in the USA, despite singing in his native tongue. All of the albums are highly melodic, often times based on Swedish folk themes, but with a good dose of heavy fuzz guitar psychedelia, for that perfect blend.

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Zanov, France

News: Zanov released his 2nd new album, and 5th overall, entitled Open Worlds in 2016. In addition, he has finally completed the reissue program of his older work, finishing with his sophomore effort Moebius 256 301. In 2017 he's also played a few live events. Quite a renaissance after he's retired from the work industry!

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Location: L'Isle-D'Abeau (SE of Lyon)

Overview: Pierre Salkazanov is a synthesist who plays in the Berlin School tradition of progressive electronic music. He had a 3 album run in the late 70s and early 80s before reappearing out of nowhere in 2014. He has since released a second new album, as well as he's successfully reissued all of his original work.

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Oresund Space Collective, Denmark-Sweden

News: Oresund Space Collective will release what I believe is their 22nd (??) proper album Hallucinations Inside The Oracle. Release date is set for October 11.

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Location: Copenhagen / Malmo

Overview: Oresund Space Collective are what I'd call a "professional space rock band". They are probably the most accomplished space rock band going today. They certainly are the most prolific, with nearly two dozen albums, and tons more downloadable material. If you're looking to follow a band with a lot of product, then Oresund Space Collective are your band!  One of the keys to OSC's success is the size of the group, which allows for many more ideas and possibilities. I also like that OSC is fond of editing and distilling long jams. While I can see a desire to release "whatever we record" (and they do just that for their downloads, which is an excellent compromise), I think it's best to focus on the parts that work. This is exactly what t…

Manilla Road, USA

News: Manilla Road have released their 15th studio album (not counting archival and live) To Kill a King on June 30th. The reviews have been very positive. This is a must pick up for me.

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Location: Wichita, Kansas

Overview: Manilla Road's legacy is now long cemented. Basically they are credited with popularizing, if not inventing, what we now call Epic Metal. My own history with them goes back to while I was still in high school in 1983... so I've got nearly 35 years invested in the band. Not sure there's anyone else with that kind of longevity that has really mattered to me in modern times - well I guess Iron Maiden goes back even further with me - but that's a rare breed. Long ago, a buddy and I even visited Mark Shelton at his house in Wichita in 1991, after he had folded the first phase of the band. He reformed The Road in 2001 with Atlantis Rising and hasn't looked back since. Their second go round has a longer tenure than the first! And they con…

Il Tempio delle Clessidre, Italy

News: Il Tempio delle Clessidre's 3rd album Il Ludere was released in May.

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Location: Genoa

Overview: Il Tempio delle Clessidre's debut is one of the finer new retro Italian progressive rock in the landscape today. Lead by the beautiful keyboardist Elisa Montaldo, Il Tempio delle Clessidre is the classic five piece Italian band working their way through increasingly complex compositions, but with melody and passion.

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Tusmorke, Norway

News: Tusmorke is coming in with their second new album for 2017. Entitled Bydyra, the album apparently is aimed at both children and adults (see below). This is in addition to the 4th album Hinsides that was released on May 12. Two new titles I need to check out soon apparently. The Karisma label says this about Bydyra "The folks at Karisma Records have surprised everyone by, almost literally, pulling a rabbit out of their hat with the upcoming release from their new signing, Prog Folk Rockers TUSMØRKE, whose new album is very different indeed in both concept and guest artists. Titled “Bydyra”, which translated means “Urban Wildlife”, this will be the fifth full-length album from the Norwegians. What is surprising about it is that this is the first album that TUSMØRKE have written specifically for, and performed with, children. Coming in with a whopping 15 tracks, “Bydyra” is composed of two original mini musicals that were written specifically for a local children’s scho…

Phlox, Estonia

News: Phlox's 4th album Keri was released in May. Another album I need to investigate soon.

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Location: Tallinn

Overview: Phlox are a band that play in the VERY heavy fusion category (no metal though). Hard driving, fast, complicated and downright exhilarating. A 6 piece group with guitar, sax, Moog, and electric piano being the primary solo components.

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Quantum Fantay, Belgium

News: Quantum Fantay released their 7th full length studio album Tessellation Of Euclidean Space in mid July. This is a title I'm very much looking forward to hearing. 
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Location: Lokeren (between Ghent and Antwerp)

Overview: Flemish group Quantum Fantay, lead by synthesist Pieter Van den Broeck (Pete Mush), are from the latest crop of new bands to play in the post You era Gong style. Following in the footsteps of Ozric Tentacles, Hidria Spacefolk, and Korai Orom, Quantum Fantay are on the heavier side of the continuum. Like Ozric, they embrace the raucous Moog sequencing that is also prominent is some areas of electronica. But Quantum Fantay stop short of techno, and use regular rock structures and instruments, including real drums. Quantum Fantay might be my favorite band today in the style. They continue to improve and add much needed energy and innovation to the space rock genre - a genre that I'm prone to enjoy in any case. The name was intended to be Q…

Wobbler, Norway

News: Wobbler have announced their latest album From Silence to Somewhere which is due out by Oct 20th.

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Location: Hønefoss (NW of Oslo)

Overview: Wobbler are a retro prog band from Norway who initially followed in the footsteps of Anglagard and Sinkadus, and have since moved onto the sounds of early Yes. Wobbler are as good as it gets for the style. Superb band.

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Patchwork Cacophony / Ben Bell, England

News: Currently, Ben Bell is playing keyboards for a prog folk / neo prog band called Gandalf's Fist, who I'm not familiar with even though they have no less than 7 releases already under their belt. Patchwork Cacophony's second album Ace of Cups was released in 2016. I do have it here and have heard it, but haven't put down any notes as of yet. It's a bit more "poppy" if I can use that word, a bit more towards Alan Parsons Project maybe. Still very good. I need more time with it to be sure. 

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Location: London

Overview: Keyboard man Ben Bell was the driving force behind the Fusion Orchestra reunion album of 2013. Since that time, he's released two successful progressive rock albums somewhere between Mike Oldfield, Supertramp, Alan Parsons Project, and yes, Fusion Orchestra.

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La Bocca della Verita, Italy

News: The band is active and playing the odd festival and concert. No word on a new album as of yet.

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Location: Rome

Overview: La Bocca della Verita are a fine neo Italian progressive band. Their debut album was recorded in 2009, but not released until 2016.

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Electric Orange, Germany

News: Electric Orange have announced their latest album EOXXV, as a 3LP Deluxe Box and as a 2CD set. They state: "6 longtracks, recorded in the Studio Fleisch between 2013-2017, the band presents their interpretation of modern, electronically-driven Krautrock. As usual the album was mastered by Krautrock legend Eroc."

Website Facebook Samples Location: Aachen
Overview: Electric Orange are the preeminent Krautrock revivalists, having reborn the style going back to 1992 They experimented with electronica early in their career, but since 2001's Abgelaufen! album, Electric Orange have stayed true to the cause.
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Unreal City, Italy

News: New album was released as promised on Sept. 10 and is titled Frammenti Notturni.

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Location: Parma, Emilia-Romagna

Overview: Unreal City are yet another band from Italy who are recreating the classic style of the early 1970s. And honestly, there cannot be too many bands in this style as far as I'm concerned.

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