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The Five From...Anubis Gate
August 02, 2020 07:43 AM PDT
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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).

Episode 144 : Lobate Scarp - "Spirals and Portals"
September 18, 2019 03:10 PM PDT
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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).

Episode 143 : Once There Was - "Breathe, Be, Bleed"
August 30, 2019 05:07 PM PDT
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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:

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

Episode 142 : Hemina - "Night Echoes"
August 14, 2019 07:57 PM PDT
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We obviously can't get enough of Sydney's Hemina, who have been supporters of this program since its very early days (check the archives at www.progtopia.com if you want proof). So with the release of their fourth album Night Echoes, it's only right that we check in with band members Doug Skene and Jess Martin and see what it's all about. They talk about the chances they take with diverse influences from funk to pop to 80s retro stylings mixed in with their trademark brand of progressive metal, how a song like "What's the Catch?" and its associated video were formed and fashioned, and which country seems to be surpassing all others for streams of their music. You can order all their music at http://hemina.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"One Short"
"We Will"
"What's the Catch?"
"In Technicolour"
"The Only Way"

To hear previous episodes featuring Hemina, as well as all archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com.

Episode 141 : Edison's Children - "The Disturbance Fields"
July 23, 2019 09:07 AM PDT
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Edison's Children are no strangers to Progtopia, having been featured twice already, but this is their return to the program after a few years' absence, with their fourth album The Disturbance Fields freshly released in mid-July. Begun as the duo of Marillion's Pete Trewavas and Eric Blackwood of Blackwood & Foti, they've added members like Rick Armstrong (son of astronaut Neil), Lisa Wetton, and Henry Rogers to create a soundscape of darkened moods and messages of warning. Those warnings on the new album are for the climate changes happening around us all with alarming speed, and with the albums single track "Washed Away" spread over 14 parts, the band tells a tale of peril at the hands of a wrathful Mother Nature. Trewavas stops by to talk about the band's recent gig in Florida supporting Alan Parsons, how likely he thinks a scenario like the one depicted in the album could be to really happen, and...all right, a little bit about his *other* band, too. Find them online and get the album at www.edisonschildren.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"A Random Disturbance"
"The Tempest"
"A Cold Gray Morning"
"The Surge"
"Into the Dead Calm"

To hear previous episodes featuring Edison's Children and Marillion, as well as all archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com.

Episode 140 : Zonder Wehrkamp - "If It's Real"
July 10, 2019 01:56 PM PDT
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Drummer Mark Zonder and guitarist/keyboardist Gary Wehrkamp are familiar names to progressive metal fans who listen to the likes of Fates Warning, Shadow Gallery, and Warlord. So it may come as a surprise to learn that their first album as a duo, If It's Real, leans to the introspective, melodic side. Still displaying the high-quality musicianship they're known for, Zonder and Wehrkamp take listeners down some darker trails, but with a message that if you're feeling down, this doesn't have to be the end of your story. Host Mark Ashby chats with them about the pros and cons of releasing their album independently, how they deliberately chose a more scaled-back approach on the majority of the 10 tracks on If It's Real, and how they might continue this collaboration. They're online at www.zwband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Too Late"
"I'd Do Anything"
"Where Are the Children Going?"
"If It's Real"
"The Next Big Thing"
"It's Not the End"

To hear all archival episodes, visit www.progtopia.com, and www.facebook.com/progtopia to follow the show on social media.

Episode 139 : The Gift - "Antenna"
June 22, 2019 08:35 PM PDT
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Back with their fourth album, Antenna, on Bad Elephant Music are UK sextet The Gift (Mike Morton [vocals], David Lloyd [lead and rhythm guitar], Leroy James [guitar], Stefan Dickers [bass], Gabriele Baldocci [keyboards] and Neil Hayman [drums]). This release sees the band keeping true to a progressive sound while pushing their own personal boundaries from their usual 70s-based aesthetic into new territory. Host Mark Ashby chats with Morton about the liberating feeling that comes from not feeling the need to produce epic tracks, how the band has meshed over the course of the past two albums, and the intimate motivations for the beautiful track "Snowfall," which is played in full here. Find the band online at http://http://thegiftmusic.com/

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Wild Roses"
"We Are Connected"
"Far Stranger"
"Long Time Dead"

To hear previous episodes featuring The Gift and all other archival episodes, visit www.progtopia.com, and www.facebook.com/progtopia to follow the show on social media.

Episode 138 : The Mariana Hollow - "The Abandoned Parade"
June 01, 2019 10:29 AM PDT
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It's been several months since the last episode of the show, but we're back in a big way with long-time friends of the program, London's The Mariana Hollow. In this interview with members Richie Walden (rhythm guitar), Gabriel Moreira (lead guitar), and Rebecca Stanley (vocals), they talk about The Abandoned Parade, their first full-length album since 2012's Velvet Black Sky, as well as amusing names they give their songs in the demo stages, the evolution of the band since their 2009 debut Coma Heart, and the recent departure of bassist Scott Chesworth. After the interview, Mark explains the reasons why he took an eight-month break from production and what you can expect from the podcast in the future. Find TMH online and order their music at http://themarianahollow.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Swear to God"
"Chambers and Valves"
"Girl Overboard"
"Damage Limitation"
"The Abandoned Parade"

To listen to the previous episodes with The Mariana Hollow, go to these links:

Visit www.progtopia.com for all archival episodes and www.facebook.com/progtopia to follow the show.

Progtopia Planetary Premiere 12 October 2018 : Adam Rabin - "Trains That Never Come"
October 12, 2018 06:05 AM PDT
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The Vermont-based prog darlings Elephants of Scotland (Episode 055) might be on something of a hiatus, but luckily for us all, keyboardist/singer and founding member Adam Rabin hasn't gone into hiding. In fact, his solo album The Badger Flies at Dawn is set for release on the 26th of October, and ahead of that, he's been kind enough to grant Progtopia an exclusive premiere of the contemplative track "Trains That Never Come." Hear in his interview with host Mark Ashby about the metaphor embodied in the lyrics for this song as well as the wild idea behind the title track, why he feels like going it alone is AOK for now, and where the Elephants stand at the moment. After that, you'll hear reaction audio of Mark's first listen to the rare Vangelis soundtrack from 1970, Sex Power. How does it stand up to the Greek giant's other works? You can pre-order The Badger Flies at Dawn and learn more about Adam Rabin at his website http://imadeitup.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
Adam Rabin-"One of a Kind," "Mistakes," "The Badger Flies at Dawn," "Trains That Never Come," "Sending Me Feathers"
Vangelis-"Sex Power Introduction; Movements 1-10"

To hear the 2014 episode with Elephants of Scotland, follow this link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-055-in-the-other-room-with-elephants-of-scotland

"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 137 : Dialing It In with Shineback
September 28, 2018 09:18 PM PDT
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We devote the entire episode this time to musical gadabout and Englishman-in-Philadelphia Simon Godfrey and his Shineback project. With a cavalcade of guest musicians from bands like We Are Kin and Echolyn, among others, Shineback's latest album Dial is receiving the same sort of acclaim its predecessor Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed received five years ago as the first release of the Bad Elephant Music label. We thought it only fitting to have Simon and host Mark Ashby be joined by BEM's boss and frequent Progtopia guest David Elliott for something of a retrospective look at their relationship, as well as discussions about the new album, and why Shineback exists best as a collective of collaborators. Music can be streamed and purchased through https://shineback.badelephant.co.uk/.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Bedlam Days"
"Is This the Dream?"
"I Love You from Memory"
"Let Her Sleep"

"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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