Rarely does NOT going on tour ever result in an increase in a band’s popularity. Yet that was exactly the result when Sweden’s Beardfish, a modern mix of Zappa, Genesis, and their own unique flavors, missed out on what would have been their first American run with the latest (perhaps last) incarnation of the Progressive Nation tour back in 2009, due to financial issues with their label.
Apparently simply being temporarily included on the tour line-up was enough to spark the interest of North American fans, who have been anxiously awaiting news of new albums and potential live dates on this side of the Atlantic for years now. The band is certainly prolific enough, having producing five albums since 2003, so it’s not as if new fans have been suffering due to a lack of material to digest. Still, prog fans are a voracious bunch, so it was with great joy that news of the band’s latest album, Mammoth, reached our facebook pages, twitter feeds, and other channels for information late last year. Since then there have been a few juicy leaks here and there, such as some distorted and grainy live performance of two new tracks finding their way onto youtube (you can google them if you like, I personally think it will be worth waiting to hear the cleaner studio versions). The most enticing item however was released when front man Rikard Sjöblom (I dare you to pronounce that) appeared on the International Prog Rock Show to promote both Mammoth as well as his very enjoyable side-project “Gungfly”. The guys over at IPRS were kind enough to upload the edited version of the first track from Mammoth titled “The Platform”, which you can find below:
Note: If anyone can get me a stand-alone cut of the band’s cover of “The Little House I Used to Live In” that they played on this same show, I will love you forever.
Reviews of this album are already starting to pop up around the web on a few blogs (not this one! Unless someone with a promo copy is feeling super cool…*cough*), and they’ve been almost universally positive. Personally, Beardfish has been one of my favorite bands for the past two years, so I can’t wait to get my mitts on this new material. The album is set to land in consumers’ hands at the end of March, so be on the look out for it. If Mammoth is as good as I’m hoping it will be, it will cement Beardfish’s place as a major force in the progressive rock landscape for the foreseeable future.
‘ve been a prog fan for a long time, so I’m used to not having an appreciation for music that everyone else loves. As I’ve said before, this is a source of amusement and confusion for my friends when I don’t appreciate a lot of ‘good’ bands like The Rolling Stones or The Flaming Lips, and I’ve come to accept this (and hopefully they will too, some day). But when I don’t appreciate the music that even other prog fans love, I have to admit that I feel a little guilty, and will try harder to give those artists a chance on my playlist.
Genesis for the longest time has been one of those bands for me. I understand that they’re super-duper significant in the history of the genre. I understand that they were the basis for a lot of bands that I DO like, like Transatlantic and Spock’s Beard. I can even give you a number songs that I like, and on good days, love! Here, have some examples:
Still, there’s something about the majority of their music that I haven’t been able to wrap my head around thus far. Maybe it’s because I’m not British. Maybe it’s because I’m a twenty-something in 2010 and not 1973. Maybe I’m just not comfortable with every single prog stereotype being so prominently displayed and celebrated for the first 10-ish years of the band’s career (and if there’s one thing I love, it’s stereotypes). In all likelihood it’s probably some combination of those factors, along with some others that I will never be able to identify. Regardless, as it currently stands I find myself incapable of enjoying the one of the few prog artists inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the same level that I enjoy so many other artists, and part of my really hates that. (note: I’m not validating the RRHOF. Those douche bags and their Rolling Stone overlords lost all relevance years ago in the prog community).
I realize this shouldn’t be something that bothers me. If I don’t like a band then I don’t like a band, right? It’s not like my friends are all laughing at me for my lack of appreciation of these prog legends (they’re laughing at me for totally different reasons). Certainly I’ve criticized friends and strangers for similar flaws in their musical tastes. My response to this possible hypocrisy? Shut up and help me learn to like Genesis.
I can’t honestly say that my previous experiences with ‘forcing’ myself to like a band have ever been successful. I tried to make myself like Rush in high school, and I failed horribly. It wasn’t until college that a more natural appreciation for the trio developed, and through that process I learned a lot about why I liked music, why I liked specific bands and genres, and how my music tastes had evolved up to that point. Maybe one day, years from now, my tastes will have evolved further and Genesis will ‘click’ for me without any effort. Until that day however, my goal is to at least have a healthy appreciation for the band and their place in history. I don’t expect them to assume some lofty place in my pantheon of prog, but I at least want to be able to listen all the way through The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway without feeling the need to skip half of the tracks.
If I fail, and months from now Genesis still seems as inaccessible to me as The Jonas Brothers, then I will at least be able to say that I gave them a honest listen, which I admittedly do not give a lot of other bands who probably deserve it. (Note to my friends: No, I will not buy the Mumford and Sons album, shut up). I just want to understand what other people see in the group, which I don’t think is so irrational a behavior.
Also, I just want to throw this out there right now, because I haven’t seen anyone else make this connection yet. You better credit me when you use one of these as a halloween costume though:
Crazy Costume-Off: Lady Gaga vs Peter Gabriel