To carry on with my Kate Bush worship from my last article, I’d like to give a few thoughts on her last studio record, 50 Words for Snow. Then after all this, I promise I’ll move onto gorging myself on another artist’s discography, okay?
Kate Bush is perhaps Britain’s greatest female musician, maybe even the world’s, and it’s not hard to imagine why, given her myriad of hit records and high critical acclaim. Though she’s best known for singles ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Running Up That Hill’, her extensive catalogue of albums is, on the whole, some of the finest works in all of art pop.
50 Words for Snow, released back in 2011, shows her full transformation from the hotblooded pop diva in her 1978 debut, The Kick Inside, to a more mature and tender songwriter. The album is one of restraint that embodies the spirit of winter with an utmost beauty, showing Kate at her most graceful. Simply put: 50 Words for Snow is as far from pop as Kate Bush has dared to venture, but her artistry has reached its peak.
“I’m sure this new Prog Talk article is worth the wai- oh bloody hell, it’s another ‘Beyond the Wall’ post isn’t it?..”
Now hear me out:
In between binging Kayo Dot records, Cerpin’s latest addiction has been none other than the queen of art pop herself – quite fitting given that my last review was of Iceland’s answer to Kate Bush. Since it’s been so long since the last installment, too, I thought the best way to celebrate this woman’s work would be via a new ‘Beginner’s Guide To’ flowchart.
Not only do I implore you explore Kate Bush‘s discography – I demand it.
Many progressive rock fans would look more towards Kate Bush‘s colleagues David Gilmour or Peter Gabriel as their idols in the genre, but Kate Bush’s groundbreaking experimental approach to pop music and artistry in music is far more ‘prog’ than people care to admit.
The end is finally here! Cerpin Taxt’s Best Albums of 2017 sees its conclusion with my favourite five albums of 2017. If you’ve followed Part the First and Part the Second, you can probably guess as to what this article’s subjects entail. Unlike the other two parts, however, I’ve decided to rank this final section. I was originally against it, but I’m not alien to bailing on initial intentions – the numbers here mean very little though, as these are the five most essential listens of 2017 that I implore you to listen to.
As an addendum, I’d also like to give an honourable mention to Benjamin Clementine’s eclectic album I Tell a Fly that I’ve only just heard coming into 2018. I’m still coming across excellent albums from 2017, so who knows – I could end up redoing this Album of the Year list next year with completely new records!
Without further ado, here are my favourite albums of 2017:
It’s time for the second installment of Cerpin’s Best Albums of 2017, following last week’s Part the First that included Arca, Bent Knee, Leprous, Motorpsycho and Saagara’s latest records plus a plethora of honourable mentions. Part the Second brings another five excellent records from last year that are a nose ahead of the previous albums, but just below my favourite five records of 2017 that will be resolved in Part the Third.
Remember that these albums are in no particular order, unless explicitly stated! So without further ado, here are my next favourite records of 2017:
2017 seems to have come and gone in a flash; though truth be told, I’m not all that sad about it.
Obvious political blunders aside, last year felt a little bleak, musically speaking at least. A large number of albums that I had highly anticipated triggered only a lukewarm reaction from me, even those beyond the progressive genre. Even the records that I found most compelling this year are a far throw from how captivated I was by 2016’s Blackstar, Spirit Phone and my other favourites. Maybe I’ve just missed out on some of the hottest albums from 2017? Maybe I’ve just grown bitter with age? Probably the latter.
Cynicism aside, there have been a lot of great albums from 2017, and it’s really been difficult to rank one over another. As such, my ‘Album of the Year’ list this year is split into three tiers: Part the First, Part the Second and Part the Third, where each subsequent group of 5 albums exceeds the last, but the albums listed are in no particular order.
It’s taken me a long time even to make these groups as the lines between them are extremely blurred, so don’t take the groups as gospel – I highly encourage you to listen to each and every album in this AOTY list if you haven’t done so already!
So yeah 2071 came and went and porg was pretty bad overall but there were some cool moments I guess I dunno I don’t watch Star Wasr.
uhh No, nobody deserves that spot
my number 2 album of this year of our lorde 3-28 is (in no particular order) Thinking Plague! Yayyy hurrayh.
It’s very prog and it sounds really weird and bad so it’s avan-guard and if you wnna look pretentious listen to this with some friends and tell ehtm it’s because they have no taste if they don’t like it.
You can’t go very long in a conversation about art pop before the name ‘Björk‘ springs up. Whilst progressive rock fans look more towards Kate Bush as the heralding maiden of the genre, it would be greatly amiss not to appreciate Björk‘s contributions to experimentation, artistic expression and technological innovation in pop music over the past few decades.
From the youthful energy in Debut‘s electropop to Vespertine’s sensual microbeats and from Medúlla‘s primal a capella to Vulnicura‘s emotionally-devastating string section, there is very little in Björk‘s solo discography that hasn’t experimented with a wide variety of styles, instrumentation and themes. Cue Utopia – Björk‘s latest album that explores the use of woodwind instrumentation and, quite unsurprisingly, circles the theme of paradise.
Those of you who know me personally know how much I anticipate each Björk release, so what did I think about it now that it’s released? More importantly, what did you think about it? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below the review, but without further ado – let’s talk Björk:
Boston prog rockers Bent Knee keep making waves by releasing success after success, the latest of which is their 2017 album Land Animal, which we unanimously praised. However, the band’s bassist and singer, Jessica Kion, along with bandmates Ben Levin and Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth, tap into comedic gold on their side-project Justice Cow.
This seems to have started as the Youtube channel of Jessica by herself, as early as 2012, with the song “Let Me Be the One”. Shortly thereafter, the channel was also host to her deadpan humour with the video “How to Get Gum Out of Your Hair in 30 Seconds”. The comedic side of Justice “Jessica” Cow seems to then take over the musical side of the project, with more humour videos than music ones. To me, the apex is reached in late 2013, with three great videos in a row: the song “A Cautionary Tale”, which is great but unfortunately is on none of their releases, the false tutorial “How to Get a Boy to Like You on the First Date”, and the gloriously absurd “Wu-Tang Dance Contest”.
The channel continues on with various comical videos and songs that are rather consistently good, although more simple than what Bent Knee is known for, and the latest video on record is for the song “Elephant Man“, which was posted almost two years ago. This song features some intricate and impressive interplay between the guitar and the keyboard, but I don’t think it’s one of their best.
The project has, through the years, released three albums that are available on bandcamp. If you can never get enough of Bent Knee – just as you should –, I suggest you take a glance at Justice Cow. It’s not as grandiose and bombastic as Bent Knee, but it’s funny, charming, and they play some very good rock that’s more in the indie, folk, and alternative vein.
Well, maybe not ‘ghost’ per se, but his hologram.
The Zappa Family Trust has announced a collaboration with Eyellusion to produce a hologram of the deceased musician Frank Zappa to perform in future live shows alongside (living) former bandmates.
Ahmet Zappa has also teased at the premise of a full performance of ‘Joe’s Garage’ featuring the virtual Frank.
You can read the full announcement here
On a completely unrelated note, the Zappa Family Trust has suffered internal strain between Frank and Gail Zappa’s children since Gail’s passing. Ahmet and Diva Zappa allegedly hold a larger proportion of shares and control than Dweezil and Moon Zappa. The biggest controversy surrounding this debacle is Dweezil Zappa’s ‘trademark violation’ of his band ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’, in which the guitarist covers his father’s work.
Dweezil Zappa has since changed the name of his latest tour to ‘50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants – The Cease and Desist Tour’ to avoid further legal from the Zappa Family Trust.
You can read more about the events surrounding the Zappa Family Trust here
But here’s the question: should a musician be brought back from the dead, either through necromancy or the wonders of technology, for the purpose of performing more live shows? Is this a genuinely well-intentioned premise from the Zappa Family Trust or are they only in it for the money? Will Frank Zappa’s hologram ever perform with Tupac’s hologram? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below – let’s talk ghosts!
A man who needs very little introduction: Steven Wilson, widely considered to be the flagbearer of 21st century progressive rock, has just released his fifth solo LP, To the Bone. Alongside its announcement earlier this year, Wilson stated that he would be departing from his usual brooding prog rock aesthetic in favour of more straightforward pop rock. As you may well imagine, this caused quite the stir amongst his followers.
Following 2015’s emotive Hand. Cannot. Erase., and the instrumental excellence of the 2016 EP, 4½, the singles released from To the Bone showed a big shift in Wilson‘s sound and songwriting. But is To the Bone on the same calibre of quality as his other albums? Can he still be considered the frontrunner of modern progressive rock?
Join Cerpin, Leth, Sacul, Frog and guest writer SirPent as they scrutinize To the Bone – the biggest, and potentially the most controversial, prog release of 2017. Will they commend or condemn Wilson‘s evolvement? There’s only one way to find out, it’s time for another Roundabout!
We’d like to remind you that our Roundabout reviews are compilations of each Prog Talk admin’s subjective opinions established after multiple listens of an album. While we may have expressed our thoughts on the album beforehand, we do not collude while writing our reviews. So without further ado, let’s talk Steven Wilson: