Monday 22 February 2010

A Farewell to Bard

We're down to the last couple of boxes of the Bard CD and will shortly be saying goodbye to this release for ever, as, once the last copy is sold, it will be deleted and will not be reissued nor made available via iTunes.

Bard was our first album as an indie band and the first to come out of our own studio, so it was an important release for us at the time. But it's no longer representative of where we are or want to be and so it's time to say farewell.

This is not a moment quite in the order of Boromir's death scene in the Lord of the Rings, and certainly a long way short of Butch and Sundance's final dash into sepia-toned history. But it does make me feel a little nostalgic and so, tonight, I shall raise a glass to Bard.

Saturday 13 February 2010

iTunes Essentials: Modern Prog

On February 10th, iTunes released one of their essential compilation downloadable albums. This one rather pleasingly avoids any labels that I may have had a recent genre-based rant about, and is called simply: Modern Prog 

The album is structured into three sets of songs - 'The Basics', 'Next Steps' and 'Deep Cuts'. The complete album of all three sets consists of 75 songs, and will set you back 60 quid. 'The Basics' set of 25 songs from the album is 20 quid and features The Mars Volta, Radiohead, Opeth, Steven Wilson, The Pineapple Thief and many others. Big Big Train is also  featured on 'The Basics' set with 'Last Train' from Underfall.

There is quite a time lag in getting sales reports from iTunes so I haven't seen how The Underfall Yard is doing, but the fact that we have been selected for this release suggests that things are going pretty well.

Friday 5 February 2010

Neo, retro, who gives a shit-o?

Lots of nice reviews about the album have appeared, which is very pleasing. However, I confess to being a little irritated by the common shorthand descriptives of 'neo-prog' and 'retro-prog' that have appeared in some of the reviews.

I do hate both of those terms. 'Neo' is normally used in a 'look-down-the-nose' kind of way. 'Retro' is less damning, but suggests that there is no sense that a band is trying to do anything original at all. And is it possible to be both 'neo' and 'retro' at the same time? Maybe it's the start of a new sub-genre: 'retro-neo'?

People do, of course, need to get an idea of what a band sounds like from album reviews, and I have to say I much prefer the direct comparisons to other bands. If someone says we sound a bit like Genesis if they'd returned to their 'progressive' roots in the 1980's, as Slartibartfast does in his Progarchives review, then I'm both pleased and flattered.