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Episode 136 : ProgPower Prep with Lux Terminus; Glenn Harveston from the Archives
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September 02, 2018 10:50 PM PDT
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It's only a few days from the annual installment of ProgPower USA, and although your humble host won't be in attendance this year, he's still in the spirit by speaking with someone who will be shifting from attendee to performer this time. Vikram Shankar's dance card is quite full at the moment, because not only will he be on the ProgPower stage with stalwarts Redemption as their new keyboardist, he and his band Lux Terminus have just released their debut album The Courage to Be. In his chat with Mark, he runs through how Tom Englund's enthusiasm for his piano cover song videos got him the Redemption gig, his many upcoming projects, and why he wanted the only song with vocals on the new album to be voiced by his favorite singer, Anneke van Giersbergen. Then we go back to the archives with an interview with ProgPower promoter Glenn Harveston from 2015, in which he goes into detail (often forcefully!) about the challenges surrounding visas and how much he appreciates his staff and fans of the festival for supporting his efforts through thick and thin. You'll find Lux Terminus online at https://luxterminus.bandcamp.com/ and ProgPower USA at http://progpowerusa.com/

Featured songs/excerpts:
Lux Terminus: "Miles Away," "Fly," "The Courage to Be," "The Journey," "Effusion"
Redemption: "The Echo Chamber"

"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!

Photo: Kyle Finlan Photography

Episode 135 : The Plagued Raven's Wrath; 50 Years of Yes; and Fast =/= Best
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August 23, 2018 08:26 PM PDT
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The Plagued Raven's music isn't easily boxed into a word or two, but the one-time solo guitar project of Raven Kyle has branched out with its third album Celeste to add the vocals of Katie Thompson (of Chiasma, from Episode 081) to its moody soundscapes. The resulting short tracks are perhaps best described by the artistic term chiaroscuro (the contrast of light and shade), and they're probably not what you think of when you hear that only guitar and voice are involved. Kyle and Katie both describe to host Mark Ashby the circumstances that brought them together, how their creative flow is achieved since they live six hours apart, and what they tell people their music is intended to evoke. Yes-expert Roman Guzman stops in next to trade questions with Mark about various common and obscure topics relating to the band (such as which band member once provided real-time DVD commentary to Roman). Finally, a Potentially Unpopular Position that encourages you to think emotion over technique when considering who is the "best" on an instrument. Go to https://theplaguedraven.bandcamp.com/ to get digital copies of Celeste and other Plagued Raven releases.

Featured songs/excerpts:
The Plagued Raven: "Wrath," "Synergy," "Vengeance," "Koi," "Deities"
Yes: "Endless Dream," "Five Per Cent for Nothing," "Awaken"
Rush: "The Rhythm Method"
King Crimson: "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part III"
Pink Floyd: "Sorrow"
Marillion: "Sugar Mice"

"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!

Episode 134 : Head with Wings Soars; Night of the Prog Report; and Sky-High Tracks
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August 02, 2018 09:48 PM PDT
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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!

Episode 133 : Nostromo's 80s Vibe; The Problem of Streaming; and Getting Closer
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July 22, 2018 08:10 PM PDT
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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!

Episode 132 : Waterplanet's Kingmakers; A Proggy Kiss; and Moving the Mountain
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July 06, 2018 09:49 PM PDT
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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!

Episode 131 : Locked in Cell15; Remembering the Fish; Utopian Dreams
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June 25, 2018 10:03 PM PDT
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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!

Episode 130 : Subsignal's Shining Star; ProgStocking Up; and RSD Blahs
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June 10, 2018 08:43 PM PDT
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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!

Episode 129 : Matt Stevens Gets Verbose; and When the Squad Was New
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May 23, 2018 10:27 PM PDT
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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!

Episode 128 : Acquiescing with Geoff Barone; Babylonian Prog; and From DC to Denmark
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May 11, 2018 02:31 PM PDT
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Six years ago, multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barone was on the program discussing his conceptual work Conversation Pieces. He's back this year with a somewhat heavier and, in his words, more "to the point" collection of songs titled Acquiescence. With echoes of the likes of Devin Townsend and even some musical theater, this eclectic album covers topics from his ambivalent relationship with the city he came to and later left -- New York -- and how he hopes his children will turn out all right, among many others. Hear some insights into his inspirations and influences in his chat with host Mark Ashby. Lady Obscure editor Lacy Mucklow and her concert-going pal Dave Perrussel (also a LO contributor) have a first-person report of their journey from their homebase in Washington, DC, all the way to Anubis Gate's home country of Denmark for one of the gigs on their "Shortest Tour Ever." And our Triple Track Special uses the theme of Babylon in three songs from prog artists present and past. Find the artists featured here at www.geoffbarone.com and www.anubisgate.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Something Beautiful" (Geoff Barone)
"Faded" (Geoff Barone)
"Precious Pieces" (Geoff Barone)
"Headhunter" (Geoff Barone)
"6:33 to Babylon" (Geoff Barone)
"In These Waiting Arms" (Geoff Barone)
"Babylon" (Glass Hammer)
"Blackest" (Anubis Gate)
"Erasure" (Anubis Gate)
"Babylon" (Aphrodite's Child)

"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!

Episode 127 : Wavestar Part Deux; Holozappa; and Great Opening Lines
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April 20, 2018 09:44 PM PDT
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It's been many years since the original electronic-music duo Wavestar of John Dyson and Dave Ward-Hunt got together -- about 35, to be somewhat precise. And although Dyson has produced several solo albums since then, it's been many years since the last release with the Wavestar name came out. Now with Paul Ward and Stefan Whitlan bringing their keyboard and compositional skills to the fold, the band is retagged Wavestar II, and the long-awaited album Nightwinds is now available. All three of the guys chat with host Mark Ashby about the olden days of Wavestar, the importance of the Korg Sigma to the trademark Dyson sound, and how this album went from being a Dyson solo project to a group effort. In the Prog Squad, Cliff, Jason, and David join Mark in discussions about the upcoming Frank Zappa hologram tour, awesome album openers, and bands they were behind the times in appreciating. You can order Nightwinds from www.groove.nl or www.cd-services.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"I.F.O." (John Dyson)
"Voyager" (Wavestar)
"The Velocity of Dark" (Wavestar II)
"Track of Time" (Wavestar II)
"If I Were the Wind (And You Were the Rain)" (Pendragon)
"King of the Tyrant Lizards" (Mothertongue)
"Script for a Jester's Tear" (Marillion)
"Red" (King Crimson)
"Eldritch" (Wavestar II)

"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!

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