Friday Random Ten, May 29th

May 29 2009 Published by under Music

  1. The Flower Kings, "The Truth Will Set you Free": One of the superlong Flower Kings opuses - in fact, the first thing by the Flower Kings that I ever heard.
  2. Solas, "Pastures of Plenty": a stunning version of the old Guthrie song, played by one of my favorite Irish bands. It's a brilliant cover - the original song is clearly there, and yet its embedded in a reel.
  3. Valley of the Giants, "Cantara Sin Guitara": truly fantastic post-rock. Valley of the Giants is the first PR ensemble that I think really
    stacks up to Godspeed.
  4. Jadis, "Standing Still": neo-progressive rock, produced by
    Marillion's guitarist. It's a bit on the poppy side, but after listening
    to it a bunch of times, it's really grown on me. Jadis's songs tend to have
    decent poppy hooks, but they've also got a lot of complexity, and they
    have the ability to keep surprising you with their changes even after
    multiple listenings.
  5. Riverside, "Volte-Face": more neo-prog. But this time, it's a band that I love without reservations. Riverside is the greatest new band that
    I've heard in a very long time. Highly recommended.
  6. Keith Emerson Band, "The Art of Falling Down": the great Keith Emerson is back. Emerson is a really brilliant keyboardist, and I used
    to love his stuff with ELP. But then ELP fell apart; he tried to bring it back a couple of times, with results ranging from mediocre (Emerson, Lake and Powell) to piss-poor (Three). Then he went off to do mediocre movie soundtracks. And now, he's back with a new prog-rock band. And they're good. They're not ELP, but they're better than any other post-ELP work that he's done.
  7. Cynic, "Evolutionary Sleeper": What do you get when you mix up
    death metal, neo-progressive rock, and jazz fusion? That's the best
    description I can come up with for Cynic. I gave Cynic a listen based on
    a suggestion from a reader after I raved about Gordian Knot; Cynic includes
    Sean Malone, the genius behind GK. They're really excellent.
  8. Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, "Transit": another hard to describe group. Modern big-band jazz, with influences from classical
    music. Very interesting stuff. Not my favorite, but definitely very cool and well worth a listen. I suspect it will grow on me with time.
  9. Van Der Graaf Generator, "The Sleepwalkers (live)": Wow.
  10. John Corigliano, "Fantasia on an Ostinato": Corigliano is one of my favorite modern classical composers. This is an intimate little piece for solo piano. Very beautiful, very stirring, and yet very delicate.

And as a special bonus, this irresistible video of two dancers playing Bach's Tocatta and Fugue on the giant piano at FAO Schwartz.

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