Music Banter

Music Banter (
-   Prog & Psychedelic Rock (
-   -   ABC&T Presents : Your Introduction to Prog (

Guybrush 05-31-2009 08:41 AM

ABC&T Presents : Your Introduction to Prog

A lot of you out there already know that the prog movement collectively contained more creativity, more skill and more musicality than any other movement out there .. But there are some who are not as fortunate and have yet to discover this amazing treasure trove of music and inspiration. To celebrate our new psych & prog subforum, me, Anteater, Boo Boo and Comus got our heads together and made some recommendations and lists for people who would like get to know prog a little better.

First we made a compilation of 10 tracks that, rather than being (just) famous prog songs would contain music from prog's perhaps more accessible side. Then we made a list of 10 albums people new to prog should check out and then we made yet another list of 10 albums for those who already know the genre, but want to delve a little deeper.

Instead of writing too much about this, let's just get down to business.

ABC&T's "Your Introduction to Prog" Compilation!

As mentioned, we made a comp of songs we thought would be friendly on new listeners ears. We've also tried to think of tracks that will offer something that the others won't so that every track is sufficiently unique. Last, we thought less is more and decided to not overdo it. Thus, this comp, like our lists, contains 10 tracks for your listening pleasure.

Tracklist :

(band - album (year) - song)
  1. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (1975) - Welcome to the Machine
  2. Yes - Close to the Edge (1972) - Siberian Khatru
  3. King Crimson - Red (1974) - Red
  4. Rush - Moving Pictures (1981) - Red Barchetta
  5. Genesis - Selling England by the Pound (1973) - Dancing with the Moonlit Knight
  6. Caravan - In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971) - In the Land of Grey and Pink
  7. Gentle Giant - Octopus (1972) - The Advent of Panurge
  8. Gong - Angel's Egg (1973) - Sold to the Highest Buddah
  9. Camel - Breathless (1978) - Echoes
  10. Jan Dukes de Grey - Mice and Rats in the Loft (1971) - Mice and Rats in the Loft

Get our compilation from here -> MEGAUPLOAD - The leading online storage and file delivery service

Hope you enjoy :D

ABC&T's 10 Recommended Albums For The Advanced Listener

Before we get on to the beginner's list, we've compiled a 10 albums list of recommendations for those who have already passed the entry levels of prog and feel ready to delve deeper into the genre. Many of these albums are quirky and unique and all have a lot to offer those who are willing to give them a go. The list goes as follows :
  • Jan Dukes de Grey - Mice and Rats in the Loft (1971)
  • Premiata Forneria Marconi - Per Un Amico (1972)
  • Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame (1971)
  • Samla Mammas Manna - Måltid (1973)
  • Harmonium - Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison (1975)
  • Bacamarte - Depois du Fi (1983)
  • Capability Brown - Voice (1973)
  • Magma - Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh (1973)
  • Soft Machine - Third (1970)
  • Gong - Angel's Egg (1973)

Guybrush 05-31-2009 08:47 AM

ABC&T's 10 Recommended Albums For Beginners

"So where's the gods-darned beginners list of albums?" you wonder, probing at feelings of anticipation and excitement. Calm down, we can't just give you a list of 10 albums - or we could, but we thought we'd give it a little more substance. Instead of just posting a list, we've added a little description for each album so that you can figure out which ones sound the most interesting and which have the most appeal to you personally. We've also written up some personal comments for each album.

The list is as follows :
  1. Yes - Close to the Edge (1972)
  2. Genesis - Selling England By The Pound (1973)
  3. Gentle Giant - Octopus (1972)
  4. Caravan - For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night (1973)
  5. Camel - Mirage (1974)
  6. Wishbone Ash - Argus (1972)
  7. Rush - Moving Pictures (1981)
  8. Pink Floyd - Animals (1977)
  9. Comus - First Utterance (1971)
  10. Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick (1972)

And here are our descriptions and comments!

PS! I've now added links for easy sampling under each album art picture. Last.FM links take you to a page where you can listen to 30 secs samples of some or all of the songs on the album. Spotify links are even more ideal and give limitless full-length access to everything on that album at 160 kbps mp3 quality for free, all nice and legal. Clicking a Spotify link will open the album in your spotify program.

Yes - Close to the Edge (1972)

Listen to it on : Spotify

On Site Reviews :

Yes is an english prog band who formed in London in 1968. They're one of the biggest and most renowned bands from the early prog movement and their album "Close to the Edge" (their fifth) is generally regarded as their finest record. It touches on heavy philosophical themes like life, rebirth and renewal with confidence and ease and is an album full of vibrant dynamics and beauty. Thematic shifts, melodies building up and unravelling, fast passages opening up to gentler parts with floating harmonics - everything is done with expert skill for maximum effect without being over the top. Close to the Edge is widely regarded as one of the best prog albums - if not the best - out there today. An essential must-have for all music enthusiasts!

Our Comments :
Anteater : Nobody really knew what a progressive rock masterpiece was until Close to the Edge hit shelves, and few things equal it even after 30+ years. As close to perfect as it gets!
Boo Boo : The band's magnum opus, the title track alone has enough hooks, twists and turns that if you were to chop it up into 12 different songs they would all still be just as good on their own. One of my top 10 albums of all time.
Comus : This album is a must have for me, there's always something new, especially the epic title track. Maybe not for beginners, but there is enough crossover appeal that should make this a good listen for anyone.
toretorden : This essential album is so dynamic, beautiful and full of life. If I get to listen to one album just before I die, I want this to be it.

Genesis - Selling England by the Pound (1973)

Listen to it on : Spotify / Last.FM

On Site Reviews :

Those who don't know prog probably knows Genesis as the rock band fronted by Phil Collins and they've certainly gained a bad rep over the years. However, there was a time when Genesis was one of the most exciting acts of the prog movement. Their songs rather than their skills as musicians took center stage and their musicality and songwriting skills coupled with then frontman Peter Gabriel's over the top on-stage theatrics earned them a following which has lasted and gained them fans to this day. Their efforts then now sit comfortably as some of the biggest influences on the genre. Their fifth album "Selling England by the Pound" is widely regarded as their top album and mixes progressive rock with pop accessibility for a powerful result. It is one of the most essential prog albums you can get your hands on.

Our Comments :
Anteater : I may not be English, but that doesn't change the fact that Selling England... is a majestic piece of work from start to finish.
Boo Boo : This is indeed their best work. The Cinema Show is their most beautiful song, the acoustic guitar harmonies alone could hook you, but the way they could pile on one goregeous melody after another is just astonishing.
Comus : Along with Foxtrot this is one of the best examples of what progressive rock is all about. Highly recommended.
toretorden : Not one of my highest ranking prog records, but damn fine album all the same. Peter Gabriel is a weirdo.

Gentle Giant - Octopus (1972)

Listen to it on : Spotify / Last.FM

On Site Reviews : / /

Gentle Giant is one of the more eclectic bands on our list. The original lineup featured 5 multi-instrumentalists and one drummer, 3 of which were the Shulman brothers Phil, Derek and Ray. The band is known for their unique, peculiar sound, broad musical skills, vast creativity and musical complexity - even for prog! They were quite consistent with the quality of their recordings as well and have no less than 7 albums (7 first) generally regarded as gems that litter various best of lists over prog albums. Their weird and often slightly whimsical sound kept them in the background compared to acts like Yes, Jethro Tull and King Crimson, but their influence among proggers is widely celebrated. Just which of their 7 greats is the best is disputed, but we put on the list an album which we all love, their fourth album Octopus - a musical journey full of strange and unique delights.

Our Comments :
Anteater : Eclectic weirdness at it's most rambunctious and pop-friendly best.
Boo Boo : One of progs most weird and eclectic bands, this is certainly the album to start with. If Lewis Carroll had a rock band, it would probably sound like this.
Comus : Vocal hooks, melodic hooks, great solos, great quirks and more fun than bullseyeing swamp rats in your T-16.
toretorden : As I've mentioned before, this album has more twists and turns than a bucket of eels and more hooks than hellraiser. One of my favourites!

Caravan - For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night (1973)

On Site Reviews :

The lighthearted and easygoing Caravan is an early prog band from Canterbury and was conceived by former members of the band "The Wilde Flowers" sometime after it disbanded in 1967, an event which also gave birth to their much celebrated contemporaries Soft Machine. Both bands became key figures in what is now known as the Canterbury scene, but while Soft Machine eventually traveled down the route of improvisational prog-jazz, Caravan headed in an arguably more accessible pop/rock direction with folk and jazz influences. Their third album "In the Land of Grey and Pink" from 1971 is regarded a staple Canterbury album, but perhaps just as good is their fifth and criminally underrated album "For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night" from 1973, one of prog's more accessible albums. Playful songs about themes like sunshine, love and even some sex makes it a catchy, unique and thrilling feelgood experience from start to finish.

Our Comments :
Anteater : The hardest-rocking of all Canterbury albums by far, and among the most fun to listen to as well.
Boo Boo : Finally, Caravan decide to rock out. And boy they can really jam. This is certainly one of the dirtiest prog albums you'll ever hear.
Comus : This proves that Canterbury can hold it's own against pretty much all the other prog movements, and probably surpass it too. Criminally underrated.
toretorden : This is the first canterbury album to thoroughly seduce me and make me fall in love with it. I still want to have it's children. It's oh so feelgood and confidently balances the perfect equilibrium between pop and prog.

Guybrush 05-31-2009 08:50 AM

Camel - Mirage (1974)

Listen to it on : Spotify / Last.FM

On Site Reviews : none!

Camel is the second Canterbury band on our list. The band led by frontman and guitarist Andrew Latimer formed in 1971 and despite some unfortunate health problems they have remained active. Their last record was released in 2007. Rather than concerning themselves too much with complexity, more typical of Camel is their fondness for melody coupled with harmless, good-natured and moody warm sounds. This mixture is highly evident on albums such as 1975's "Music Inspired by the Snow Goose". Their second album, the critically acclaimed Mirage from 1974, has all that warmth and also a little more bite with some faster passages and some very cool guitar, flute and organ solos. Catchy hooks and melodies follow eachother one after the other like beads on a string. It also contains their most well-known prog work, "Lady Fantasy". Warmly recommended!

Anteater : Lady Fantasy and Supertwister elevate an album that would normally be considered decent into masterpiece territory; anyone getting into Camel should pick this up.
Boo Boo : Camel are one of the more psychedelic influenced prog bands, Doors and Santana fans should check this album out. The first and best of the bands trilogy of greats.
Comus : I prefer their Debut, A Snow Goose and Moonmadness, but this one has captured the imagination of many a prog fan and it's not hard to see why!
tore : Actually not my favourite Camel album, but it seems to be everyone else's. Still, I love how the band sounds on this one.

Wishbone Ash - Argus (1972)

Listen to it on : Spotify / Last.FM

On Site Reviews :

Wishbone Ash are a british rock band who achieved success in the mid 70s. Especially notworthy about them is perhaps the "twin guitars". when bassist Martin Turner and drummer Steve Upton were looking for a guitarist for their band, they found it too hard having to decide between Andy Powell and Ted Turner who were both amazingly talented. Instead of choosing one, they settled for both and Ted and Andy play around eachother, trading riffs and swapping melodic solos with ease and grace. Their third album Argus is generally agreed to be their finest moment. It's a folk-flavoured hard rock album which is just prog enough to be considered a prog masterpiece. Other than being known for being brilliant, it's generally regarded highly influential to hard rock and particularly metal through it's influence on bands like Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy. Check it out!

Anteater : Deep Purple's got nothin' on these guys, especially when they're at their best on this mofo.
Boo Boo : For those that like a little southern in their prog. And why not?
tore : If there's a proper rock album on this list, I guess this is it. Perfect for those who appreciate a little hard rock with their prog!

Rush - Moving Pictures (1981)

Listen to it on : Spotify / Last.FM

On Site Reviews :

The canadian band Rush is a big name in prog and the group should be well known to most - perhaps especially for their instrumental skills, at least those of the famous drummer Neil Peart who is also the band's lyricist. In a time when most other prog acts had quit or turned to the dark side, Rush reached their peak. Pictures from 1981 is their biggest seller to date and contains some of their most well-known songs like Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta and YYZ. It's not their most proggy effort, but it does have a little prog epic on it, "The Camera Eye". Performances are supertight, production is excellent and it's full of catchy rock songs. Like Argus, it's a bit more hard rock/metally than the other albums on this list and might be the perfect entry into prog for those of that persuasion.

Anteater : One of the few 80's prog masterpieces that you can cock out with your rock out.
Boo Boo : Well this wouldn't have been the first album I'd pick to show you the truly proggy side of Rush. But whatever, this is a great album. YYZ will blow yo ass away.
Comus : This album is quite possibly the most accessible prog masterpiece known to man. Everything about this thing screams pop, but everything under the surface is prog to the core.
tore : The first time I heard Tom Sawyer, I thought Geddy Lee was a woman. I still do.

Pink Floyd - Animals (1977)

On Site Reviews :

English Pink Floyd is one of the world's most famous rock bands, so of course you know them already. In the 70s, they released several prog albums and Animals from 1977, despite it's brilliance, remains in the background from their most well known albums. Note that background here still means a double platinum. The album contains almost exclusively songwriting material by Roger Waters but is thankfully not based on his own life, but Orwell's novel by the same name where different animals represent different castes and social groups in society. Although Water's influence on the album is quite extensive, David Gilmour also played a hand in writing the gorgeous epic "Dogs" and the album features many hair-raising moments of delight. Warmly recommended, especially to those who already know their other famous albums but have yet to pick this one up!

Anteater : Sheep taste better than dogs and pigs, but this album tastes better than all of them put together.
Boo Boo : I have to go against the grain here and say this only ranks 6th among my favorite Floyd albums, but this is certainly their most PROG album. And a brilliant one at that.
Comus : Pink Floyd + George Orwell = Win.
tore : The first time I heard this record is years and years ago when I was 14. It's still one of my favourites and Dogs is just magnificent from start to finish.

Guybrush 05-31-2009 08:52 AM

Comus - First Utterance (1971)

Listen to it on : Last.FM (missing tracks)

On Site Reviews :

Comus' debut First Utterance is without a doubt the most sinister record on our list. It's sometimes described as folk prog, but psychedelic folk, or in our own Comus' words "acoustic mindfuck", might be just as descriptive. The band probe feelings of fear, confusion and despair in their songs that deal with violence (Drip Drip), rape (Diana and Song to Comus) and insanity (The Prisoner). However, the album is not all dark - there are moments of tranquil beauty such as on The Herald, but all in all, these lighter moments also deepen the shadows. This largely acoustic album got bad reviews after it's release and problems with a postal strike led to poor sales. However, some were able to appreciate it's genius and over time it gained a following which has gained momentum in later years. It's now become somewhat of a cult classic with influence on other bands like Opeth and Current 93. If you want to hear something different, give this macabre folk album a shot!

Anteater : A lyrically disturbing yet at times awe-inspiring journey into progressive folk madness personified.
Boo Boo : This one is so out there. Very dark, paganistic, Tolkien-esque folk songs. I wonder if this band inspired Led Zeppelin in some way.
Comus : My namesake band creeps onto the list and with good reason. This folky/psychedelic attempt at causing you to have nightmares is most certainly worth the health risks.
tore : First Utterance creeps me out a little, but in a good way .. I think. This is the weirdest album on the list.

Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick (1972)

Listen to it on : Spotify

On Site Reviews : none!

Jethro Tull led by famous nutcase Ian Anderson is well known and much loved by many. They started out playing experimental blues, but soon incorporated classical, folk and ethnic, jazz and art rock to their vocabulary. There was also a time when they were prog. I imagine Ian and the others in the band were perhaps watching prog unfold a bit from the sideline and saw that the big thing was to make "epics". Of course, they wanted to have a go - no, not a go - they wanted to trump them all. The result was prog's most famous piss-take basically. Thick as a brick contains only one song, it's title track which is nearly 44 minutes long. As was also the prog fashion back then, it had really extensive album sleeve stuff and everything was over the top. The best thing about Thick as a Brick is not that it's a joke, it's that it's a bloody brilliant one. Despite being prog's longest epic, it's full of pop sensibility and beautiful little hooks. It's folky in parts, rocky in other parts and overall quite a cheerful album. Recommended to all!

Anteater : Recorded proof that flute solos aren't for reef-smokin' pansies or gypsies.
Boo Boo : I personally prefer Aqualung but I can see this being the better prog album. This is a hilarious parody of prog rock concept albums. And they said proggies didn't have a sense of humor. Pfft.
Comus : The elastic retreat rings the close of play as the last wave uncovers the newfangled way. This pretty much sums up this masterpiece of epic proportions.
tore : Probably prog's best and most accomplished joke. Ian Anderson is one of my favourite nutters of all time.

.. And that's it! :D

Of course, we all had to compromise when making these lists and the compilation. Some didn't get their track in and some didn't get their album in. As such, let us all use this thread to recommend songs and albums for people who know or don't know prog!

Guybrush 05-31-2009 08:54 AM

Honourable mentions!

If any one of us had made a list of 10 albums, they would look different. Collaboration means compromise, so here are some honourable mentions to compensate for those that got squeezed out! I will add to this post in the future when/if I can be arsed.

King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)

The band King Crimson got famous before their debut album when they played a free concert in Hyde Park staged by The Rolling Stones in July 1969. The band blasted out a kind of music never heard before, jazz tinged and symphonically inspired rock, slightly reminiscent of Moody Blues, but much more sinister and with a musicianship that raised the bar for what a rock band should be able to do on a stage. Their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, was released just after. Exploring musical landscapes from the serene and beautiful to the chaotic and sinister, the album been celebrated as one of the most influential rock albums ever since. It also remains a favourite with KC fans and typically knife for the top spot with 1974 album Red. Just like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King is one of those albums every rock-interested person should check out, doubly so if they're interested in prog. Absolutely essential!

National Health - Of Queues and Cures (1978)

National Health was a Canterbury Scene supergroup started by keyboardists Dave Stewart (Egg, Hatfield and the North) and Alan Gowen (Gilgamesh). Early line-ups included Dirk "Mont" Campbell (Egg) on bass and Bill Bruford on drums (Yes, King Crimson), but for the band's second album, the drummer was Pip Pyle (Gong, Hatfield and the North) and John Greaves (Henry Cow) played bass and did some vocals. The band plays music reminiscent of Hatfield and the North on steroids, mixing complex rock compositions with expert musicianship. Compared to their jazzier debut, Of Queues and Cures is a rockier album with less improvisation and more rigid compositions. It is an album which features brilliant musicians at the top of their musical ability. Although the album may be daunting to newcomers to prog rock, those with an interest in the experimental and avantgarde may find Of Queues and Cures to be a highly addictive record. Absolutely brilliant!

Guybrush 05-31-2009 08:56 AM

Okay .. I'm sure there are some problems in here, comments not in the right place and so on but I have to leave the forums for a bit. If there's anything wrong, just send me a PM and I'll get to it or maybe Boo Boo can fix it.

So three cheers for our new subforum and happy proggin' everybody :D

boo boo 06-02-2009 01:29 AM

Antonio 06-02-2009 01:33 AM

uh, you put Comus where Jethro tull was supposed to be.......

boo boo 06-02-2009 01:37 AM


Antonio 06-02-2009 01:40 AM

thanks, i just loved Thick as a Brick too much to too let it stay like that

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:50 PM.

© 2003-2022 Advameg, Inc.