In addition to writing for The Big Takeover, Jordan Blum also writes for Popmatters, Rock Society Magazine, Progression Magazine, and Rebel Noise, among others. An avid devotee of progressive rock, he’s spent over a decade covering some of the genre’s biggest artists, including Steven Wilson, Jethro Tull, Transatlantic, Dream Theater, and Opeth. He also teaches at several colleges, runs a creative arts journal called The Bookends Review, and records under the guise of Neglected Spoon. During his free time, he rants about how much Phil Collins ruined Genesis in the 80s.
Okay, that last part was a joke.
Ctrl+Z is one of those special albums that goes beyond being just a collection of songs; rather, it’s an impactful and continuous voyage into beauty, tragedy, and everything in-between.
I doesn’t usher in a brand new genre; rather, it perfects a special type of music that only a few other modern artists can match.
Brooklyn-by-way-of-Boston punky power pop band The Can’t Tells offers up a range of tunes on its new EP.
Although it’s a tad more commercial than its predecessors, Primitive Smile is really no less enthralling, vibrant, or imaginative.
This song oozes the romantic, hopeful, and instantly catchy charm of late ‘80s/early ‘90s rock
Like its predecessor, II is a short but sweet mash-up of classic genres that oozes confidence and flair.
‘Together’ finds The Explorers Club continuing to reign as today’s Beach Boys.
“What we found is that Berlin is a city of chaos with an artistic infrastructure that is more than 100 years old. It is in a constant state of transition, and I think this enables artists to basically do whatever they want. There is no industry telling you what to listen to, and no standard for what art or music should be.” – Nic Barnes
Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet is another strong exploration into heartache and scorn that proves once again why Greg Laswell is such a masterful, distinctive, and vital artist.
Rise may not be especially unique or original, but its poise, consistency, and drive make it very fetching anyway.
If you’re a fan of ambient dream pop in general, you’ll adore All Burn. Every element of it is pristine, poignant, and poised, basking its forlorn melodies and harmonies in glistening regality.
Genre fans may find flashier or heavier albums this year, but there’s little doubt that Everlasting Instant will rank as one of 2015’s most beautiful, tasteful, and timeless progressive rock albums.
Beyond cementing the idea that a lone musician can craft wonderfully emotional, colorful, and resourceful art, Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs further demonstrates that much of the most original and impactful music of today is being made under the radar, without the financial backing, mainstream publicity, or pop culture power of many severely inferior acts.
Although it’s not necessarily fresh, surprising, or brave, Kintsugi nevertheless seeps with real-life catharsis, understanding, and internationalization. It’s the best DCFC album around, but it proves that Death Cab for Cutie is probably still the best pop/rock band around.
Fair Youth is a perfect example of how imaginative, tasteful, and affective instrumental music can be. There isn’t a single moment on here that isn’t remarkable and inspiring, demonstrating the limitless possibilities of what dedicated, talented, and farsighted musicians can do when they work toward a single vision.
Origins is a fantastic retrospective on one of the genre’s [undeservingly] lesser known acts. Theirs is a finely tuned sound that, while limited in terms of variability and experimentation, is masterfully performed nevertheless, and fans of the style (especially artists like District 97 and Kamelot) will surely find it appealing.
Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is a delightful record that, like everything else Bowness does, explores the human condition with wisdom, frailty, and intelligent eccentricity.