Progtopia Archives

Head with Wings is the sort of band you might want to set aside time to concentrate on, as with their debut full-length album From Worry to Shame, they tackle heavy topics like tragic and senseless death, coping with loss, and forgiveness. Guitarists Joshua Corum and Brandon Cousino enlisted their friends from Earthside Frank Sacramone and Jamie van Dyck for production duties, and the result is a riveting work that's timely and poignant. Corum talks with host Mark Ashby about the emotions he mined to create this work and what sorts of people he senses gravitate toward it. Next, correspondent Andrew Bennett gives his report as an American making his first trip to the Night of the Prog Festival in St. Goarshausen, Germany, telling us his highlights from the shows, what to expect if you're a first-timer, who he met, and what he'll do differently if he's able to return. And our Triple Track Special has three songs all with the theme of "sky." Head with Wings' Facebook page is www.facebook.com/HeadWithWingsband/

Featured songs/excerpts:

Head with Wings: "In Dark Motel Rooms," "Misanthropy," "Somewhere, Something Gives," "Goodbye Sky," "From Worry to Shame"

Riverside: "Towards the Blue Horizon"

Big Big Train: "Big Empty Skies"

Threshold: "Snowblind"

Tangerine Dream: "Tear Down the Grey Skies"

To hear the Progtopia archival episode featuring Earthside, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-097-entering-the-light-with-earthside

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 2 August 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_134_Head_with_Wings_Soars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:28pm EST

Jordan Brown might be known as the driving force behind the Rube Goldberg Machine (Episode 093) or as a gigging bassist around London, but for his latest project, he's gone totally '80s. Under the name Nostromo, he's released the nine-track homage to analog synth soundtracks from that time period, Synchestral Works Vol. 1. It's everything a kid born in the early-to-mid-70s could want in a nostalgia trip through the sounds of films scored by the likes of Giorgio Moroder or Tangerine Dream, and he does so with reverence, not irony (well, not completely). Hear his interview with host Mark Ashby about the impetus for creating a different sort of album than he's ever done, the thought process for making digital technology sound analog, and how he got help for the obligatory vocal track that closes the album -- just like they did on your favorite movie scores in 1985. Next, a talk with music journalist and Innerviews founder Anil Prasad about where he sees the sorry state of artist compensation in the era of streaming music. He's long advocated for a different approach when it comes to paying musicians fairly for their creations, and he has some thoughts about how to combat the creeping demise of worthwhile art in the name of "free stuff." Finally, you'll hear "Closer," the latest single from (iam)warface, a band who is trying to use Spotify to their advantage (and profiled in Episode 120). See if you think their strategy is a good one and whether you want to assist them in reaching their goal. Nostromo: http://nostromoproject.bandcamp.com

Innerviews (Anil Prasad): www.innerviews.org

(iam)warface: www.iamwarface.com

Featured songs/excerpts:

Nostromo: "The Battle for Nebula 359," "Water on Mars," "Training to Be the Best (Montage Music)," "Reason in the Black (featuring Glitterwølf)," "Love Theme," "The Hero We Need"

Mahavishnu Orchestra: "Birds of Fire"

(iam)warface: "Closer"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 22 July 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_133_Nostromos_80s_Vibe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22pm EST

The sea levels haven't quite risen high enough to put us all underwater yet, but until we get there, Baltimore duo Waterplanet (James Hesser and Millie Landrum) will be playing their brand of acoustic, intelligent, genre-bending music. And this July, they'll be playing songs from their album Ghost-Hypnotic and more in various parts of the US on a three-week tour. Host Mark Ashby talks with them about the way they tend to write songs solo and then turn them into something bigger, how 60s pop and punk and many other styles inform their sound, and where you'll be able to hear them out and about. Next Mark gets in on the "reaction video" trend (except it's only audio, of course) as you'll hear pieces of his in-the-moment commentary while listening to Kiss's "prog" album, Music from "The Elder." Does it pass muster? Finally, new contributor Mark Nagy has a proposition for you: Haken's masterful album The Mountain could benefit from a slight shuffling of tracks. Will you agree with his reasons why? Find Waterplanet online at www.waterplanetband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

Waterplanet: "Adrenaline", "Kingmaker", "Something Somebody Said", "Don't Cry", "Sea Shanty (If You Should Go)"

Kiss: Music from "The Elder" (excerpts from full album)

Haken: "Cockroach King", "Because It's There", "Falling Back to Earth"

To hear a previous episode featuring an interview with Richard Henshall of Haken, click this link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-038-climbing-the-mountain-with-haken

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 6 July 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_132_Waterplanets_Kingmakers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:18pm EST

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania keyboardist and singer Robert Richardson has been through a lot in his life, not all of it positive. But he's taken a difficult past and turned it into a productive present with his band Cell15. Following on from the success of their 2014 debut Chapter One, they've just released their sophomore effort River Utopia, and you'll hear his interview with host Mark Ashby about the spread-out nature of the band, why sharing his story in recovery is so important, and whether or not he might have an epic-length track in him someday. The Prog Squad archives are mined for an episode from 3 July 2015 just after the passing of Yes' Chris Squire, but wherein the usual panelists and guest Geoffrey Langley of the Twenty Committee talk Primus, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and rare tracks they'd love to hear live. And appropriately enough, the Triple Track Special's theme this time is "utopia," with additional tracks in that vein from Factory of Dreams and Hawkwind. Find Cell15 online at www.cell15.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Castle Walls" (Cell15)

"Criminal" (Cell15)

"River Utopia" (Cell15)

"Street Lights" (Cell15)

"Voyage to Utopia" (Factory of Dreams)

"Soon" (Yes)

"DMV" (Primus)

"Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict" (Pink Floyd)

"How Wonderful" (The Twenty Committee)

"Arrival in Utopia" (Hawkwind)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 25 June 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_131_Locked_in_Cell15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:12pm EST

Last on the show in 2012 on Episode 007, Germany's Subsignal is back in the land of Progtopia, fresh off the release of their newest album La Muerta on May 25. Singer Arno Menses joins host Mark Ashby for a chat about the changes in the band's lineup in the past few albums now to include drummer Dirk Brand and keyboardist Markus Maichel, why long titles and the Spanish language seem to take some prominence for guitarist and lyricist Markus Steffen, and where they can be found on tour later in 2018. Next we'll hear from Rita Drew, one of the organizers of the latest US-based festival, ProgStock, coming to you this October 5-7 in Rahway, New Jersey. Now in its second year, this festival proves with its headliners and support acts that it's going to be a major player on the east coast for years to come. Finally, Mark takes the Potentially Unpopular Position that Record Store Day might not be all it's cracked -- or scratched -- up to be. Visit Subsignal online at www.subsignalband.com, and the ProgStock festival at http://progstock.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Tempest" (Subsignal)

"Even Though the Stars Don't Shine" (Subsignal)

"Some Kind of Drowning" (Subsignal ft. Marjana Semkina)

"The Bells of Lyonesse" (Subsignal)

"Red Dust Shadow" (IQ)

"Another Record" (Genesis)

"La Muerta" (Subsignal)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 10 June 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_130_Subsignals_Shining_Star.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07pm EST

Guitarist Matt Stevens should be no stranger to fans of up-and-coming prog and post-rock music, as the band he's part of -- The Fierce and the Dead -- are on quite the tear in the past couple of years. Securing some key opening slot and festival gigs, the band is riding the wave to greater success, the latest chapter of which is the release of their new album The Euphoric on Bad Elephant Music. Stevens chats with host Mark Ashby about how they're controlling the tempo of their increase in stature, how much of the recorded output is live-to-tape or otherwise, and some tales of playing RoSfest in the USA in 2017. For the second half of the show, we set the wayback machine to August 2014 for a listen in on the very first episode of The Prog Squad, just when you thought those shows might be lost forever. Hear what David Elliott, Jason Spencer, and Cliff Pearson were like before they got to know each other better -- it's like a blind date! Visit The Fierce and the Dead online at www.fierceandthedead.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Dancing Robots" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Truck" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Parts 7 & 8" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Verbose" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Step Beyond" (Yes)

"Lonely People" (Styx)

"I've Seen All Good People" (Yes)

"Time Flies" (Porcupine Tree)

"Hitchhiking to Byzantium" (Anubis)

"The Euphoric" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 23 May 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_129_Matt_Stevens_Gets_Verbose.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm EST

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