Spock's Beard — Spock's Beard
(Inside Out Music IOMCD 260, 2006, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2007-03-01
Nine studio albums out and three since the big event that changed the band forever, Spock’s Beard today is a stronger entity than they have ever been before. Behind door number one is a modern take on retro-70s prog, with 80s classic rock behind door number two, and rarely do the two mix. The quartet certainly makes a convincing statement with this release, mixing a handful of the latter with several prog-rock mini epics, and even one side-longer – all sure to please long time fans. Instrumentation is a rich blend of acoustic and electric keyboards and guitars, with the crack rhythm section of Dave Meros (bass, backing voice) and Nick D’Virgilio (drums, lead vocal), with very occasional support from a string section and other players. Unlike the days following the departure of their former frontman, when most of the writing duties were handled solely by D’Virgilio, every member of the band now has a major hand in the compositions, as well as working in collaboration with others outside the band. There are strong hints of Genesis throughout the proggy tunes; in fact in parts of the instrumental “Skeletons at the Feast” one can almost hear the guards of Magog swarming around, but original ideas abound as well, and that mix that keeps it all interesting. Perhaps the most stunning track is the piano and vocal “Hereafter,” lightly orchestrated for impact, leading directly into the four-part “As Far as the Mind Can See.” A solid follow-up to last year’s Octane.
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more