Category Archives: ProgRock

The Zombies ‎- Maybe After He’s Gone (1968)


I started the week with a band (The VU) that would only be fully appreciated posthumously. I end it with another. While St. Albans is no New York, the town gave birth to the short-lived brilliance of The Zombies. Formed in 1962 by Rod Argent (piano, organ vocals) and Colin Blunstone (vocals), the band released just two proper albums; and because they broke up immediately after recording their second, Odessey and Oracle, their impact would be delayed. The LP was recorded in the summer of 1967, as a last hurrah. The accessible hit singles may have dried up, but you can hear how they were pushing the boundaries. While the harmonies of ‘Maybe After He’s Gone’ are reminiscent of The Beach Boys, the instrumentation is as close as you will get to proto prog rock. The result was timeless and influential. Have a great weekend.

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9 of the best – sounds of twenty-tens

It keeps coming… the end of a decade of sound. It would seem that 2014 was peak twenty-tens to these ears. I give you the best of the decade in chronological order:

Beach House – Walk In The Park (2010)

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (2010)

Frank Ocean – Pyramids (2012)

Liam Hayes – Rock & Roll (2013)

Spoon – Do You (2014)

Future Islands – Seasons (2014)

The War On Drugs – Eyes To The Wind (2014)

Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales (2016)

Sharon Van Etten ‎- Seventeen (2019)


Honourable mentions also go to: A Great Big Pile Of Leaves for ‘We Don’t Need Our Heads‘ (2010); Lana Del Rey for ‘Video Games‘ (2011); Chance The Rapper for ‘Everything’s Good‘ (2013); Daft Punk for ‘Get Lucky‘ (2013); Floating Points for ‘Silhouettes‘ (2015); Kurt Vile for ‘Pretty Pimpin‘ (2015); Julia Holter for ‘Feel You‘ (2015); The Avalanches for ‘Because I’m Me‘ (2016); Kamasi Washington for ‘Truth (2017); Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever for ‘Mainland‘ (2017); King Krule for ‘Dum Surfer‘ (2017); Let’s Eat Grandma for ‘Donnie Darko‘ (2018); Father John Misty for ‘Just Dumb Enough to Try‘ (2018); Snail Mail for ‘Pristine‘ (2018); Weyes Blood for ‘Everyday‘ (2019); and Fontaines D.C. for ‘Roy’s Tune‘ (2019)

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Palace Winter – Positron (2016)


An awesome track from Copenhagen-based duo Palace Winter. Australian singer-songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish keyboard wizard Caspar Hesselager named themselves after an old hotel in Menton where Carl stayed in the summer of 2014. In just two years, the band had blossomed into something special. ‘Positron’ is off their debut album Waiting For The World To Turn. Enjoy.

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Sigur Rós – Njosnavelin (2002)


The mesmerising, hypnotic sound of ‘Njosnavelin’ – The Nothing Song. It is the untitled track #4 off Sigur Ros’s 2002 album ( ).

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Can – Vitamin C (1972)


“Hey you! You’re losing your Vitamin C”. Despite the quirky lyrics, Can’s 1972 song ‘Vitamin C’ is best known for its kick-ass bass line and the precise drumming of Jaki Liebezeit, co-founder of the krautrock pioneers. The track featured on their 1972 album Ege Bamyasi and has been a staple sample since the era of block parties.

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Public Service Broadcasting – Progress (2017)


Earlier this year, Public Service Broadcasting released the single ‘Progress’ featuring Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell on vocals. Her message is a simple one, underlining the band’s aim to incorporate industry into their art. PSB is the brainchild of banjo-playing J. Willgoose, who came together with his drumming companion Wrigglesworth and one of those ubiquitous flugelhorn/vibraslap artists JFAbraham. The result is nostalgically futuristic. Have a great week.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1999

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 1999 in no particular order:

Röyksopp – So Easy

Blur – Coffee And TV

Dr. Dre – Still D.R.E.

Wilco – She’s A Jar

Pavement – Spit On A Stranger

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – I See A Darkness

dEUS – Instant Street

The Flaming Lips – Race For The Prize

Sigur Rós – Starálfur


Honourable mentions also go to: Pépé Bradock & The Grand Brûlé’s Choir for ‘Deep Burnt‘; Mos Def for ‘Ms. Fat Booty‘; Shack for ‘Comedy‘; Pete Heller for ‘Big Love‘; The Flaming Lips for ‘A Spoonful Weighs A Ton‘; Moby for ‘Porcelain‘; and Death in Vegas for ‘Dirge‘.

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Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill (1977)


Solsbury Hill is located near Bath, where Peter Gabriel would often stroll. It became the setting for his all-important first single as a solo artist after leaving Genesis. It was a big deal for him and the lyrics say it all: “My heart going boom boom boom/’Son’, he said ‘Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home’. The song is the second track on the first volume of Peter Gabriel’s eponymous body of work, later retitled Peter Gabriel 1 (Car). Despite his trepidation, it’s incredibly uplifting sound. Have a great weekend.

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9 of the best – sounds of noughties

I give you my favourite nine sounds of the 2000s in chronological order. It would seem that 2004 was peak noughties to these ears…

The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000)

 The Strokes – Modern Age (2001)

The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize? (2002)

Broken Social Scene – Stars And Sons (2003)

The Walkmen – The Rat (2004)

Sébastien Tellier – La Ritournelle (2004)

Sigur Rós – Hoppípolla (2005)

 Midlake – Bandits (2006)

Beirut – Nantes (2007)


Honourable mentions also go to: Lambchop for ‘Up With The People’ (2000); Outkast for ‘Ms. Jackson’ (2000); Ian Brown for ‘F. E. A. R.’ (2001); The Shins for ‘New Slang‘ (2002); Kings Of Leon for ‘Red Morning Light‘ (2003); Radiohead for ‘A Wolf At The Door’ (2003); Mew for ‘Comforting Sounds’ (2003); Kasabian for ‘Club Foot’ (2004); Danger Mouse for his remix of ‘Public Service Announcement’ (2004); The Good, the Bad and the Queen for ‘Herculean’ (2006); The Hold Steady for ‘The Chillout Tent‘ (2006); The Strokes for ‘You Only Live Once’ (2006); and Jay Electronica for ‘Exhibit C’ (2009).

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9 of the best – sounds of 2001

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 2001 and in no particular order:

The Strokes – Hard To Explain

Ian Brown – F. E. A. R.

The Shins – New Slang

Daft Punk – Digital Love

Radiohead – Pyramid Song

Spiritualized – I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You

Lift To Experience – Falling From Cloud 9

Röyksopp ‎- Remind Me

The Strokes – Modern Age


Honourable mentions also go to: Weezer for ‘Island In The Sun‘; Zero 7 for ‘In The Waiting Line‘; Jay-Z for ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A.)‘; Golden Boy feat. Miss Kittin for ‘Rippin Kittin‘; Daft Punk for ‘Veridis Quo‘; The Other People Place for ‘Let Me Be Me‘; Peter Yorn for ‘Strange Condition‘; Muse for ‘Bliss‘; Cannibal Ox for ‘Iron Galaxy’; Roger Sanchez for ‘Another Chance’; Radiohead for ‘Knives Out’; and Yann Tiersen for ‘La Valse d’Amélie‘.

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Augie March – The Hole In Your Roof (2000)



Augie March formed in Victoria, Australia, in 1996 when English major Glenn Richards got together with a group of fellow students, and between them they cooked up the Saul Bellow moniker. In 2000, Rob Dawson joined the band as a pianist and the band recorded their debut album, Sunset Studies. The Radiohead-influenced album was lauded by critics, but not so much by the record-buying public. ‘The Hole In Your Roof’ was the opening tack off the album. In January 2001, as the band were looking to work on a follow up, Dawson was killed in car crash.

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Peter Gabriel – Intruder (1980)



‘Intruder’ is the opening song off Peter Gabriel’s third and arguably best solo album. The Melt album saw the reunification of former bandmates Gabriel and Phil Collins. The latter’s instantly recognisable gated snare drums, which became one of the signature sounds of the 1980s.

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Radiohead – Pyramid Song (2001)



Melancholy channeling itself through ascending chords. It’s hypnotic, sweeping and a little trippy. It ends up in a sort of jazz-rock. This was Radiohead’s prog rock from circa 2000. At the time, it’s a well known fact that they considered releasing a double album, but then opted for two releases eight months apart – Kid A and Amnesiac. ‘Pyramid Song’ is the centrepiece of the latter.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2002

Before we get to the nitty gritty of choosing some favourite sounds of the year, a quick canter back to 2002, with songs in no particular order:

The Knife – Heartbeats

The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?

Supergrass – Prophet 15

Layo & Bushwacka – Lovestory

Sigur Rós – Vaka (Untitled)

The Notwist – One With The Freaks

Boards Of Canada – Alpha And Omega

Interpol – Obstacle 1

Wilco – Ashes of American Flags


Honourable mentions also go to: John Murphy for ‘In The House, In A Heartbeat‘; Múm for ‘Green Grass Of Tunnel‘; The Promise Ring for ‘Become One Anything One Time‘; People Under The Stairs for ‘Acid Raindrops‘; The White Stripes for ‘Fell In Love With A Girl‘; The Libertines for ‘Up The Bracket‘;and Red Hot Chili Peppers for ‘Universally Speaking‘.

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Roxy Music – In Every Dream Home a Heartache (1973)



A year before Cymande were paying tribute to another, Roxy Music were doing something completely original. ‘In Every Dream Home a Heartache’ features on the band’s second album For Your Pleasure. Eno’s shimmering synthesizer, Bryan Ferry’s sultry opening tones, Phil Manzanera’s extended guitar solo… blinding talent at the top of their game. The classic lineup would never again get the chance to better their combined sound.

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