Saturday, October 18, 2014

A preview of the forthcoming Steven Wilson album

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As you may have seen, we haven't been posting much lately. Suffice it to say, we've been busy, and preoccupied with other things. But we'll try to keep up the blogging now and then, so stay tuned -- and, you never know, we may turn our collective attention back to this blog before too long. In the meantime, some sporadic posting...

And so why not, this Saturday evening, turn not to political commentary but to music, so much a part of this blog as well, and specifically to one of the best of the very best, Steven Wilson (about whom I've written before on several occasions), whose next solo album (with the amazing band he's had for most of his recent "solo" career) is set to be released next February.

Count me incredibly excited. His first three solo albums -- Insurgentes, Grace for Drowning, and The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories) -- got progressively better, one after the other, though it's very close for the last two and I'm actually quite partial to Grace, though they're all fantastic and I prefer not to rank them. But where Insurgentes is very much a Porcupine Tree-style album, and not as distinctly solo, and where Grace is a bit all over the place, The Raven is a cohesive masterpiece of the prog rock genre, in many ways a quite retro, '70s-style album, but also post-prog given its vision and breadth, and very much a towering rock album by any standard.

And now Wilson is saying that his forthcoming album is a combination of all his solo work, maybe all his work. Which would be pretty impressive, for sure, but I have no doubt it'll be magnificent -- and what's certain is that it will be another leap forward for Wilson, who never does the same thing but prefers to keep challenging himself and, with each new work, breaking free from his own past.

Here's a short film, by frequent collaborator Lasse Hoile, of Wilson and his band recording the new album at AIR Studios in London. Enjoy!

Steven Wilson at AIR Studios, London - September 2014 from Kscope on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bring in the McClowns

By Capt. Fogg

It seems I write the same things over and over again because the Republican pattern repeats indefinitely.  It's OK when we do it or say it or demand it, it's anti-American, tyrannical, too little, too late, too much, too soon when they do it. Even if Republicans invented it or pioneered it or used it until yesterday it's different when "they" do it.

How long ago was it that John McCain and  Fox News and the rest of the merry bunch made a circus act with all three rings full of how Obama is a "tyrant" for appointing all those Czars?  "More Czars than the Romanovs," tweets the funny man.  So where's the big red nose and oversize pants when John McCain tells us that hapless weakling Obama isn't appointing the Czars we need?  That's right, John McCain has joined Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), sponsor of H.R. 3226 (111th): Czar Accountability and Reform (CZAR) Act of 2009  in condemning the administration for this egregious failure, invoking the "if it's bad, it's Obama" clause in the Party rules. 2009 is when George W. Bush left office -- just coincidentally -- and of course George had 33 of them, but let's keep that quiet.

Of course there's no public office with the title Czar on the door as far as I know. It's a media epithet that began in the 1940s and of course there's nothing unconstitutional about the President appointing "other public ministers" no matter how much they chuckle and chortle and lie in the Fox newsroom.
But quoting history and public record never seems to have much effect on the magic thinkers and pea-brained partisans of any stripe.  The public's eyes are always on the jugglers and clowns and what they're doing now, not what they did ten seconds ago.

"No one knows who's in charge," says McCain, his face revealing nothing of how his party, with the help of the NRA has blocked the nomination of a Surgeon General, an office designed to take control and coordinate the process of informing the country of what's being done.  Yes, the NRA, because the Surgeon General might just get involved in gun policy.  Can't have that. Better a plague than risk a gun grabber liberal doctor commie near our weapons. Better this country perish from the earth.

 (Cross posted at Human Voices)

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