13 December 2008

James LaBrie new album update

(thanks to DT/Rush fan on mikeportnoy.com for bringing this to my attention)

Here is an update from Marco Sfogli.


“The main difference between Elements Of Persuasion and the new LaBrie record is that I only wrote the solos on the last one. Everything else was more or less pre-written for Elements Of Persuasion, including the guitar riffs. Now I have more freedom when it comes to the actual songs. I’ve written a lot of songs together with Matt Guillory (keyboards). I give him input with the guitars and he’s a master at arranging the songs. The new record will feature me as a writer as well."

“I think it will be heavier, less progressive, and have more hooks," Sfogli continues. "The new songs aren’t as technical as the ones on Elements Of Persuaision. That album was a very good experiment, like a transition point between the Mullmuzzler records and this new, more modern path. Now I think we, and especially Matt, have gotten to the point where we can write beautiful metal songs in the best sense of the word.”

12 December 2008

10 Questions WIth...Matthew Parmenter

Matthew Parmenter is perhaps best known for his two albums with Michigan-based prog band discipline. I admit, I bought a copy of their classic Unfolded Like Staircase because the band's name reminded me of King Crimson. While I certainly didn't get a band that sounded like King Crimson, I did discover a band that hit me on a deep emotional level. Parmenter's poetic lyrics, combined with a dark and edgy symphonic musical backing, help to create a band that grows as much from bands like Van der Graaf Generator and Anekdoten as it does from Yes and so on.

discipline. went silent around 2000, with sparse solo performanced by Parmenter. in 2004, his debut solo release, astray, came out, showing that the passing of years did nothing to dull his incisive writing and arranging skills. For me, it was one of 2004's albums of the year. 2005 saw him re-release a DVD of discipline. live in concert, originally released almost a decade earlier, followed by his second solo album, Horror Express, released this year.

But for many people, the Parmenter highlight this year was the reunion of the band to play a few select shows, including a showcase at NEARfest. For me, this show was one of my Holy Grail moments in music...I never thought I'd see the band play live, and there they were before me playing a selection of material from Push and Profit, Unfolded like Staircase, and...gasp...a new song.

There's a new discipline. album in the works, and now seems like a perfect time to talk with Matthew about everything happening in his musical life.

1) Were you surprised by the reaction discipline. got at NEARfest?

We all felt a little rusty during the set. There were no train wrecks, but none of us expected the positive reaction. I guess the songs were emotionally present even if they had spots technically.

It was strange to see a line of people to greet us afterwards. That just isn't our world. On the other hand, Nearfest is not your typical rock audience either. We were fortunate to be invited.

2) How would you compare the material you've put on your two solo releases to that for discipline.?

One never stops learning. It is impossible to stand still. Even the Discipline releases evolved.

A part of me rejects each release by the time it is finished. I experience a mixture of relief and fatigue. This might be why the albums sound different from one another. The differences probably have more to do with recording production than with the songs on them.

Every release feels like a reaction to the previous. You have to finish the process when you're recording; you have to wrap it up. But I always look ahead to what what could be done better on the next project.

At the same time, your taste and personal judgment change, often by way of the recording process. This leads to new expectations in future writing or recordings. And oftentimes old preoccupations lose significance and just fall away. It is like aging.

The improvisational music on Astray was in part a reaction to the rigid compositional style on Unfolded Like Staircase. I remember getting frustrated listening to Unfolded in that it very nearly never settles down. It is constantly changing and constantly demanding. It takes stamina to play and to listen. Astray purposefully defied this approach in favor of home bases and open spaces for improvised spontaneity.

The dynamics and fluid tempos on Horror Express were in contrast to Astray. On Astray I used a click track during the recording. I thought a reliable metronome would help with the guitar and drum overdubs. But the metronome locked the songs into a safety where they breathed less and became, in fact, harder to play along with.

Horror Express abandoned metronomes, except for the techno sounding songs. The songs flow more naturally, and it became easier to follow along and multi-track drums and other instruments.

If Discipline music is more immediate and forceful, perhaps the solo albums have more delicacy. They may require more investment from the listener because they are less precise. Some listeners might reject them for this reason.

I am sounding like a music critic, so I'd better stop.

3) Do you write a piece and feel "This is more suited for discipline., this one is more suited for a solo album?"

Sometimes. Most often I am just writing to get the song out. A lot of the older songs were written with the band in mind. When the band stopped working in 2000, it took me some time to stop writing for that lineup. Since 1984 when I first met Jon Bouda in high school, I'd imagined the guitar solos as his parts to play. It was not easy to move on and find another space for myself.

4) Horror Express seems a more diverse album than Astray was. Was this intentional, or just a natural evolution?

It is hard for me to see the albums as more or less diverse. The approaches in style and production on each feel cohesive to my ears. Horror Express has some instrumental tracks. This gives it some variety.

5) Were there specific influences you tried to draw from for the material on Horror Express?

I consciously channeled Akira Ifukube when writing the tracks O Cesare and Kaiju. Kaiju was written while I was fiddling around on the violin (no pun). It uses simple parallel chords to get to a somber, mournful place. O Cesare uses a descending chromatic bass line against a dissonant, strident melody. Both these approaches I heard in numerous Toho monster movies as a kid. Later I learned that these movie scores were written by Ifukube. The music of these films influenced me musically and I wanted to recognize this somehow on Horror Express.

It may sound silly. Youthfulness, or a refusal to deny the child, is a part of Horror Express. It is central also to me as a writer. I accept this and keep on writing.

6) discipline. and echolyn have shared the stage many times in the past. What was it like playing with them again at NEARfest?

It is always great playing with Echolyn. They were fantastic at Nearfest, too. We hung out in the wings during their set which was really fun.

7) What musicians or bands have influenced you the most over your career in music?

Surely the music of the Beatles is up there. At an early age I heard art rock through my oldest brother; my first rock album was Free Hand by Gentle Giant. I got to see Genesis in concert as a kid. At home I heard mostly classical music from my parents. Growing up in the 1970s, I was influenced by many mainstream recordings of the day (Manilow, Elton John). As an older listener I spent many hours with recordings by Bartok and Stravinsky. I like Randy Newman's music from the 1970s. Peter Hammill is great and I am glad I was introduced to his recordings.

Basically I am a pop songwriter, but it always goes a little wrong or gets a little broken. I gather that my songs make people uncomfortable. To me it's all just melody, silence, and groove.

8) What can fans of your solo work and your work with discipline expect
in the future?

More recordings and few if any shows.

9) Are there any future live dates coming up for you or the band?

I may be in Montreal in May as a solo guy.

10) Do you have any final words for our readers?

Thank you for listening over the years.

Links of Note:

Strung Out Records.
Matthew Parmenter MySpace
discipline MySpace
MP/discipline discussion group Into The Dream

Slacker Prog Radio info

Some news from Prog programmer Chris Boros:

"I'm the Prog Rock programmer for Slacker.Com. It's a USA service where you can create your own personalized radio stations. Slacker has tons of different formats, but I'm the Prog Rock dude.

I'm just trying to spread the word about the service and thought you'd like to know. You can skip songs and tell the system to play ONLY the bands you want to hear. We have all the classics playing, plus tons of obscurities too. Currently, there are 109 different bands on the station...

You can find it in the Rock section of Slacker.Com. Then click on "edit station" to see all the bands we have playing and to personalize the station.

Thanks for your time.

Chris Boros"

The Rebel Wheel new album news

Direct from bassist Gary Lauzon:

  • there will be a 35 minute song called "The Discovery of Witchcraft"
  • "Black Widow" will be a crazy instrumental and will feature lots of bass tapping goodness like the first one ("Arachnophobia" from our record Diagramma)
  • the album will have a nice booklet this time around, with some cool/eerie art
  • We are in the Time of Evil Clocks will be the name of the album
  • it clocks (pun intended) at over 70 minutes long
  • it is our second record with 10T Records

10 December 2008

Glass Hammer announced for 3RP 2009

The Three Rivers Prog Festival has announced that Glass Hammer will perform on August 9th 2009 at the Pepsi Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Be sure to check the Glass Hammer website for details. www.glasshammer.com

Also signed to perform at 3RP 2009:





UKZ's "One City World Tour" announced

Keyboard and electric-violin legend Eddie Jobson (UK, Roxy Music, Zappa) announces the new UKZ's debut concert for January 24, 2009 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall in New York City. The "One City World Tour" will also feature the U.S. debut of special guests Stick Men, featuring King Crimson's Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto. The ticket on-sale date will be announced soon.

The concert will follow the January 6 pre-release of UKZ band's debut EP entitled Radiation, which is slated for full retail release nationally on March 3.

Returning from a self-imposed 27-year retirement from band and touring activity, Jobson set out to find the same caliber of next-generation musicians for the new UKZ project that would equal or surpass the talents of his previous colleagues and collaborators...an impressive list that includes Frank Zappa, Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, John Entwistle, Ian Anderson, Simon Phillips, Terry Bozzio, Allan Holdsworth, and Tony Levin.

Jobson -- who was born and raised in the Durham area of England -- has hand-selected a truly international dream-band of virtuosos from around the world:

Aaron Lippert -- a citizen of Belgium, but born and raised in New York -- the former lead singer and songwriter for Columbia recording artists Expanding Man.

Trey Gunn -- a Texas native, currently residing in Seattle - a ten-year veteran of King Crimson and the leading exponent of the Warr 10-string touch guitar.

Alex Machacek -- from Vienna, Austria -- an award-winning guitar prodigy and composer.

Marco Minnemann -- from Hannover, Germany -- a drumming phenomenon of unparalleled virtuosity.

Opening for the supergroup will be Stick Men, which features Chapman stick players Tony Levin and Michael Bernier, with Pat Mastelotto on drums.

For more information, visit the UKZ web site at http://www.ukzband.com.

DFA to perform at NEARfest 2009

NEARfest '09 is happy to announce that DFA will be gracing the NEARfest stage in '09. The band has very strong ties to NEARfest, feeling that they were catapulted into the progressive world with their 2000 appearance. When they approached us with their desire to perform in '09, we declined so as not to disrupt FMPM's plans. It was their love for NEARfest that kept the band motivating us towards accepting them for '09.

Formed in Verona during 1991 around Alberto De Grandis, drummer, occasional vocalist and main composer, and bassist Luca Baldassari, D.F.A.was initially an instrumental keyboard-led trio, a formula that evolved over the years, first with the arrival of guitarist Silvio Minella in 1993, and two years later with the introduction of vocal parts in the compositions, following the release of a demo tape entitled Trip On Metro.

Later in 1995, Alberto Bonomi replaced the original keyboard player and D.F.A.found its definitive shape. Bonomi was soon to become an essential creative force in the band alongside De Grandis, co-writing most of the material with him. The new quartet made its
live debut in January 1996, and soon afterwards embarked on the recording of their first proper album, Lavori In Corso ("works in progress").

With their second work, Duty Free Area from 1999, D.F.A.broadened their musical palette with new sounds, especially in the keyboard department, putting their mark on the progressive world. The band's watershed appearance at NEARfest in June 2000 was documented on a best-selling live CD. Meanwhile, D.F.A.started work on their next album, aiming to further establish the unique D.F.A.identity. The resulting album entitled, "4TH", (MoonJune Records, www.moonjune.com) was released to both critical and mass acclaim making many best of 2008 lists. NEARfest '09 is extremely pleased to hand the stage to DFA once again.

Free The Red Masque show in Philly 14 December

FREE All Ages Concert Dec. 14 (Sunday)

12.14.08 | The Rotunda at the University of Pennsylvania, 4014 Walnut
Street Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-573-3234. 8 PM. All Ages. Free admission but donations for the bands are accepted at the door. Band order: Offshore Drilling, The Red Masque, Radio Eris.

About the Bands:

The Red Masque

The Red Masque is an original avant rock band from the Philadelphia
area. Part art, part alchemy, the group's experimental songwriting style is both angular and eerie, accented by free-form space rock improvisations, intricate acoustics, dark atmospherics and chunky riffs. Unconventional and eccentric in musical form, the sophisticatedly sinister The Red Masque fuses together such disparate musical references as horror movie soundtracks, rock-in-opposition, progressive rock, experimental, zeuhl, heavy rock, gothic, psychedelia, space rock, and kraut rock.

"From Pennsylvania hails a quartet without limitations to their
purposes and without shame regarding norms and dogma within new rock."
- Tarkus Magazine

"In the Nu-progressive rock underground, few bands are as respected
and feared as Philadelphia's The Red Masque. Without irony or kitsch, the whirlwind that is Masque ... stalks the darkness of Hammer Horror ambience and cursedly complex musicianship (think Gong meets Bauhaus) with only feedbacking noise, sound-collage clustering and the howl of vocalist Lynnette Shelley to light its way." - Philadelphia City Paper

Founded in February 2001 by bassist/keyboardist Brandon Ross and
vocalist Lynnette Shelley, the Red Masque went through several lineup changes over the years, but its intent and integrity has always remained the same. The band's goal was, and is, to create original music that pushes the envelope of the listener's expectations. With such influences as Magma, King Crimson, Hawkwind, Gong, Pink Floyd, Bauhaus, Art Bears, and Van Der Graaf Generator, The Red Masque's compositions are as intense as they are unique.

One of the group's first concerts was at the Prelude to the North East
Art Rock Festival (NEARFest) in 2001. Other notable shows include the 2005 Rogue Independent Music Festival in Atlanta, the 2001 World Con Science Fiction Convention, the New Jersey proghouse series, Orion Studios in Baltimore; the Philadelphia Landing Pad Space Rock Festival; and The Gate to Moonbase Alpha concert series at the Rotunda in Philadelphia. The Red Masque also organized and performed in the 2002 and 2003 Philadelphia Underground Music and Culture Festival. The
Red Masque have also opened up for notable performers and musicians such as Chris Cutler (Henry Cow, Art Bears), The Muffins, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and Present. They have also performed on stage with such well-regarded drummers and percussionists as David Kerman (5UUs, Present, Thinking Plague) and Paul Sears (The Muffins, Thee Maximalists).

Steadily growing an audience within the underground progressive and
psychedelic music communities for their uncompromising and intense style of music, The Red Masque have released to date one EP ("Death of the Red Masque" in 2001), and three albums ("Victoria and the Haruspex" in 2002, "Feathers for Flesh" in 2004, and "Fossil Eyes" in 2008), as well as one single (2003). "Feathers for Flesh" was released through the Big Balloon Music label out of Washington state and garnered critical reviews in the press, including Wire Magazine,
Harmonie Magazine, Progresiste Magazine, iO Pages, Colussus Magazine, Tarkus Magazine, Progression Magazine, Expose Magazine, the Philadelphia City Paper, Metro Philadelphia, and various online newsletters, blogs, and review sites. Interviews in various progressive music media also followed, including Progression Magazine and Expose Magazine.

The band is currently signed with RER USA / Ad Hoc Records and
released their highly anticipated third album, "Fossil Eyes" in August 2008. "Fossil Eyes" is widely considered the band's most daring release to date is garnering critical reviews in the media and radio
airplay amongst the more independent radio stations.

The Red Masque is:

:: Brandon Lord Ross: bass guitar, moog, echo theremin

:: Lynnette Shelley: vocals, lyrics, noises & percussion

:: Brian "Vonorn" Van Korn: drums, keyboards, theremin

with David Pym, guitar


Radio Eris

"Radio Eris craft discordant loveliness from poetry and sound. Founded
by shamanic poetess Lora Bloom and studio visionary Matt Stevenson, their live shows are cathartic and overpowering, a vibrant wall of sound incorporating dance, improvisation and spontaneous anarchy into a heady mix. " Adam Fieled, Philadelphia Independent.

Eris is a lost goddess in Greek Mythology: the goddess of discord,
known for only one story: the throwing of a golden apple that began the Trojan War. Philadelphia psychedelic band Radio Eris channel this discordian spirit in their music, bringing her back to life in their
own image as a powerful symbiotic force, a source of transcendence. The Radio Eris mythos is a series of fortunate accidents leading to a magical bond, something a little more than just a band.

Began as an ambient poetry project between Matt Stevenson and Lora
Bloom, two flawed but driven artists who knew little about music but nevertheless possessed the holy fire, Radio Eris has matured to become a band with a powerful energy and unusual sound. Radio Eris can be
ambient and ethereal, as loud and harsh and any noise punk band, or psychedelic and offbeat like a reincarnated 60s space rock band. They utilize improvisation along with non-ordinary song structures to accommodate free-verse poetry and often incorporate lighting, costumes, dance, performance art and other theatrical elements into their live shows, creating a surreal atmosphere.

Radio Eris consists of five elements: Matt Stevenson, genius
mastermind and sound engineer, plays both keyboards and bass in the band, plus provides the sound direction; vocalist Lora Bloom illustrates her strange poems with inhuman wails, odd vocal experiments and breathy chants; legendary lead guitarist Dan "Redbeard" Baker pumps energy and passion, "sets the stage aflame with piercing garage-style blue notes" (A. Fieled); drummer Lisa Sunshine a
guiding light of driving momentum, yet ready at a moment's notice to collapse into formless ambience; and Kenny the Extremist, sound terrorist and mad experimenter, hides behind his massive machine of keyboards, effects, purcussion and theremin.

In accord with the DIY spirit, Radio Eris has recorded and self
-released 4 full albums: "Loralaii", "Beautiful Losers", "Strength" and most recently, "Monkey Island" (at their new gallery/studio/living space Eris Temple). They have also released a track on an Orange
Entropy Compilation, and recorded the critically acclaimed "Apesma" on the Captain Beefhart tribute album "Mama Kangaroos" from Genus records.

Radio Eris has performed everywhere from warehouses (Killtime,
Highwire Gallery, C.O.D.E.) to coffee houses, bars (The Fire, The Khyber, J.C.Dobbs) to basements, and from after-hours strip clubs to afternoon arts festivals. They have participated in West Philadelphia's legendary Clark Park Festival and are regular performers in the Landing Pad, Doug McMahon's annual space rock festival hosted in the University of Pennsylvania's spacious Rotunda. The also often appear in A.D. Amorosi's Monday Night Club at The Balcony and have performed at events hosted by October Gallery, Pink Hanger Presents, Orange Entropy and Genus Records. Most recently they played a European tour and festival.


Offshore Drilling

"Offshore Drilling is a drummer and a guitarist fighting and dancing
like old friends on a good gin drunk."

Experimental/Noise band Offshore Drilling is a new project by
guitarist Brandon Morsberger (of the Philadelphia band Drums Like Machine Guns) and drummer Gray Hender. Offshore Drilling consists of melody and noise clashing, and exchanges of soft then brutal passages.


04 December 2008

15 years...

4 December 1993...


I think many of us miss you more now than ever...I wonder what he'd be creating today...