Progtopia Archives

It's the end of a long and trying year, but that doesn't mean that there wasn't plenty of great music to be found in 2020. You'll hear Mark's picks for the top five albums of this year, plus five honorable mentions, all of which are worth your time.

Bands/artists featured (in alphabetical order):

Circuline

Simon Collins

The Cyberiam

Days Between Stations

Fish

Glass Hammer

Haken

Mark Kelly's Marathon

Silent Skies

Rick Wakeman

Originally posted 29 December 2020

Direct download: The_Five_From...2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm EST

For the second part of our Halloween 2020 special, we delve into the heavier side of progressive tracks with spooky titles and themes. Listen to songs from the Fierce and the Dead, Within Temptation, Odd Logic, Braindance, the Murder of My Sweet, Voyager, To-Mera, Venturia, Hemina, and the Cyberiam. To hear interviews and features with many of these bands, go to the Archival Episodes tab at www.progtopia.com. If this episode is too scary for you, check out Part 1 for some "lighter" fare!

Originally posted 29 October 2020

Direct download: Progtopia_Halloween_2020_Special_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm EST

In the first part of our Halloween 2020 special, we highlight some of the (dare we say?) lighter progressive songs with creepy-sounding titles or themes. Hear tracks from Francis Dunnery, the Alan Parsons Project, iamthemorning, the Flower Kings, Edison's Children, Anathema, Atomic Rooster, Djam Karet, Darryl Way, In Continuum, Adam Rabin, and Tom Slatter. Many of these artists have been featured in past Progtopia episodes, so go to www.progtopia.com to hear from them. Check out Part 2 for some heavier tunes!

Originally posted 29 October 2020

Direct download: Progtopia_Halloween_2020_Special_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:05pm EST

With Genesis founder Mike Rutherford's recent 70th birthday, we thought we'd have a listen to five tracks from his non-Genesis output. That includes solo albums and, of course, his side band Mike + the Mechanics. Some of it's prog, some of it's not, but you can't deny he can write the kind of music many people enjoy listening to. Here's to you, Mr. Rutherford!

To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

Originally posted 16 October 2020

Direct download: The_Five_From...Mike_Rutherford.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:01pm EST

The late Eric Woolfson spent the 70s and 80s as the silent but equal partner of Alan Parsons in the rock band named after the producer. Having penned hits like "Games People Play" and "Time," and even singing several of them himself, Woolfson eventually moved on from rock radio to writing scores for musical theatre. His subjects included historical figures like Sigmund Freud, Antoni Gaudi, and of course Edgar Allan Poe. With five such productions out there, it only follows that instead of spotlighting well-known Alan Parsons Project tracks, we take a look at one song from each of those musicals. Among those, you'll hear some updated takes on APP songs from years past, and Woolfson himself singing his own words once more. Find Woolfson and APP merchandise and music at www.ericwoolfsonmusic.com.

 To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

Originally posted 27 September 2020

Direct download: The_Five_From_Eric_Woolfson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm EST

Hailing from Perth, Western Australia, Voyager have spent the better part of two decades creating their signature blend of prog metal with hooks aplenty in every instrument and some of the slickest production around. Alex Canion, Ash Doodkorte, Simone Dow, Danny Estrin, and Scott Kay have been the lineup for the past few albums, the most recent of which -- Colours in the Sun -- was released in 2019. And to make it even harder to choose which five songs from their seven-album discography make the cut, we placed the further restriction that none of the Five here can have an official MTV-style video. That leaves out a lot of great tracks, but the good news is there are plenty more standouts to choose from. Did we get it right? Tell us what you think! Find the band at https://www.voyagerau.com/ and their Bandcamp page: https://voyager.bandcamp.com/ 

To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

Originally posted 4 September 2020

Direct download: The_Five_From...Voyager.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:58pm EST

Under the consistent guidance of Steve Babb and Fred Schendel, American proggers Glass Hammer have been around for close to 30 years without interruption and with quite a sizeable discography to show for it. Members have come and gone and come back again, and many styles and epic tracks are strewn through their catalog. But with such varied output as albums inspired by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis through more accessible and hard-driving tracks, what five sub-10-minute songs will be chosen as representative of the group? Your intrepid host takes a shot. Do you agree with the choices? Visit the band at www.glasshammer.com for merchandise and albums like the brand new Dreaming City and the Ultimate Middle Earth Download.

To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

Originally posted 16 August 2020

Direct download: The_Five_from...Glass_Hammer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm EST

We're back with a new, and hopefully more sustainable, format for the program: "The Five From...". The rules are: 1) Choose a progressive rock, metal, or electronic band or artist with at least five releases; 2) Choose five of their songs that represent aspects of their output that are worth highlighting; 3) None of those songs can be over ten minutes long; and 4) Explain why these tracks were chosen. This is to force your host into making some difficult decisions in reducing what might be decades of material into only five songs, as well as create discussion among listeners about what they might choose instead. We hope you'll join in the debate -- respectfully, of course! Danish prog metallers Anubis Gate were our first guests on Progtopia back in 2012 and have been featured twice since, so naturally it made sense to place them first here, too. With several albums, three lead singers, and a box set to their credit since 2004, what five tracks make the cut? The choices include an eastern-influenced tour-de-force, a trip inside a troubled mind, and one of their lesser-known versions covering another band. Visit the band and get the albums and merchandise at www.anubisgate.com and www.nightmarerecords.com.

To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

Originally posted 2 August 2020

Direct download: The_Five_from...Anubis_Gate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:54pm EST

Named after an obscure topographical feature, California-based Lobate Scarp has been sharing their brand of theatrical prog with the world for close to a decade, and while they haven't had a formal release for a few years since their debut Time and Space, they're back with an EP called Spirals and Portals. The release is a prelude to an upcoming Kickstarter campaign for their second full-length album, to be formally announced in October. Host Mark Ashby speaks with singer, keyboardist, and songwriter Adam Sears about that odd band name, their crowd-funding successes and shortfalls, and their addition to the bill for RoSfest 2020 in Florida. You can learn more about them online and get their music at https://www.lobatescarp.com/

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Nothing Wrong"

"Time and Space"

"And We Tried"

"Beautiful Light"

To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

Originally posted 18 September 2019

Direct download: Progtopia_144.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:52pm EST

Some prog metal fans will know the name Jessica Lehto from her involvement in the bands Factory of Dreams (Episode 044) and Beto Vazquez Infinity. But there's a softer side to this Swedish singer/songwriter with the angelic voice, and that is reflected in her solo project, Once There Was. The style of music under this name has been fluid over the years, but the most recent release Breathe, Be, Bleed is being called "electro pop opera." Whatever you describe it as, it contains haunting vocals and harmonies, with synthesizer accompaniment ranging from driving to quietly symphonic. Host Mark Ashby speaks with her about how Once There Was has changed over the years and how it differs from other albums she guests on, why she's content being mostly a studio musician, and how digital-only releases suit artists like her. Find her online at www.jessicalehto.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Blue"

"Heartbeats"

"Anywhere"

"Black"

"Unknown"

"Fading"

To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

Originally posted 30 August 2019

Direct download: Progtopia_143.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:50pm EST

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