All posts by bradbirzer

By day, I'm a father of seven and husband of one. By night, I'm an author, a biographer, and a prog rocker. Interests: Rush, progressive rock, cultural criticisms, the Rocky Mountains, individual liberty, history, hiking, and science fiction.

Spirit of Cecilia Progcast 3

A special (MEGA!) progcast, featuring Tad Wert, Kevin McCormick, Dave Bandana, and Brad Birzer. Nearly 3 1/2 hours long, we play Tin Spirits, SAND, NAO, Oak, Nosound, No-man, Memories of Machines, Sanguine Hum, The Tangent, Big Big Train, The Flower Kings, and The Bardic Depths. All of the music was chosen to impress Kevin, and we find out his reactions to it all. Additional bonus feature: Dave talks a lot about the making of the most recent The Bardic Depths album, Promises of Hope.

COSMOGRAF – ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM – HEROIC MATERIALS


We are really pleased to announce that Cosmograf returns with their ninth new studio album, Heroic Materials to be released on 9th September 2022.
 
William ‘Billy’ May looks back on his life at the age of 99 and realises the world has completely changed since he was a young man put into an impossible scenario, defending his country from the air. He no longer recognises much of the modern world but understands that the human race must live in a different way in the future.
 
“This album is really about change, our refusal to accept it, but also recognising that it’s essential to our survival”, says Cosmograf’s Robin Armstrong. “The story centres on a WWII Spitfire pilot who laments a lost golden era, but reflects that the human race must change its ways in order to preserve our existence on the earth.” 

Robin is joined once again by drummer, Kyle Fenton, and there is a special guest appearance from ex-Big Big Train keyboard player Danny Manners, who plays piano on the 13 min title track, set in three parts.
 
The lead track from the album, British Made is released on our Bandcamp page today, and the video for the track is available to view on YouTube now. 
British Made is really a nostalgic throw back to a golden era of motoring where design and craftsmanship was more important than carbon footprints.  I think it’s incredibly sad that we are coming to the end of this present journey with the motor car, as we reject fossil fuels for electric power, even if it’s for good reasons” says Robin.

The album sees the character wrestling with his memories of the war, and harbouring nostalgia for a past era but he realises that change is essential if we are to avoid climate catastrophe.

Heroic Materials will be available in CD, Deluxe Media book edition, Vinyl and Digital formats and pre-ordering is now live on the Gravity Dream Music website.

Heroic Materials Pre-order link: https://bit.ly/2YObrzH

 


The new single ‘British Made’ on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Lqj40KJLrtA

Neil Peart: Cultural Repercussions REVISED AND EXPANDED

Coming, June 14, 2022, from WordFire Press

Thanks to Kevin J. Anderson and Wordfire Press, I had the opportunity to revise and expand my intellectual biography, Neil Peart: Cultural Repercussions, originally published in 2015.

On June 14, Wordfire will release an ecopy as well as a trade paperback. To preorder the ecopy, go here: https://books2read.com/b/3LwEA1.

I’ve had the chance to write about many of my heroes during my professional career, including J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Dawson, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and Russell Kirk. Peart, though, remains at the top of the list. The man combined integrity, intelligence, and action. It was such an honor to write about him and spend time in is mind and in his soul.

His words meant a great deal to me at 13, and they remain a great deal to me at 54. Peart has been, I believe, one of the most influential figures of the last half century–shaping the lives of many non-conformists, and unleashing the power of the individual spirit and mind.

SOC Progcast #2

Hello everyone, welcome to the Spirit of Cecilia Progcast #2. Tad Wert and I host, and we’re thrilled to feature music by The Flower Kings, IZZ, Lifesigns, Tin Spirits, Kevin McCormick, The Tangent, Nosound, NAO, and Airbag. Enjoy!

Gazpacho’s Fireworking at St. Croix

The deluxe edition available from burningshed.com

The trajectory (that is, the insanity) went something like this. 

I bought the Gazpacho cd, Fireworking at St. Croix, and I was so taken with it, I ordered the blu-ray of the same title, which also includes a Soyuz (previous album) concert, three interviews, and some extras.  This wasn’t enough, however.  I was so taken with the blu-ray that I ordered the deluxe edition earbook which includes the CD (now expanded to two discs), the DVD, the blu-ray, all in a specially-packaged hardback book. 

Ok, let me be totally honest.  To be sure, the trajectory didn’t go just “something like this,” it went exactly like this.  Now, I proudly own three versions of the same release.  My home office just reeks of Fireworking at St. Croix!

My Gazpacho intensity actually goes back to 2007 when the band released one of the most epic of all third-wave prog releases, Night.  I have no idea how many times I’ve listened to Night.  It numbers well into the 100s, ranking up there with listens of Talk Talk, Big Big Train, and Rush.  Since 2007, I have happily bought and collected every single Gazpacho album, studio as well as live, past, present, and, it seems, future.

I’ve listened to each album multiple times—too many to be counted, really—and I’ve somehow absorbed this Norwegian art-rock band into my very self.  They actually refer to themselves as an anti-band, but, nonetheless, a band they are.

As it turns out—as I learned from the interviews on Fireworking at St. Croix—the band sees all of its release since Night as a single whole, each a part of a connected universe, a “Gazpacho-verse.”  Combining Christian, pagan, and Darwinian imaginary and themes, the band seems to revel in a sort of mystic Gnosticism (lyrically speaking) and delightfully complex musical structures.

Fireworker (the studio album) and its live release, Fireworking at St. Croix, follow the story of the Fireworker, a sort of demon that both animates and dominates man.  He, the Fireworker, is a sort of parasite as well as a lifeforce, guiding as well as riding evolution. 

As noted above, the band’s lyrics tend to be rather Gnostic (but in a fun way).  They’re also always mythic and thoughtful.

I’ve had Fireworking at St. Croix (in one form or another) since its release in the U.S., and I’ve been listening and watching it almost non-stop.  There is a lot of great music out there, but this is really some of the best of the best.

Now, if I can only get to Europe and watch the band live. . .

To order the deluxe version, go to Burningshed.com.

Pattern-Seeking Animals New Video

Pattern-Seeking Animals share video for new single “Rock Paper Scissors”
 Taken from upcoming album from upcoming album ‘Only Passing Through’, due on April 1st, 2022.PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS, the California-based band featuring Ted Leonard (lead vocals & guitars), Jimmy Keegan (drums & vocals), Dave Meros (bass) and John Boegehold (keyboards), have announced the band’s third studio album titled Only Passing Through, on April 1st, 2022 through InsideOutMusic. The album is the follow up to the critically acclaimed 2020 release Prehensile Tales.
 
Today, the band are pleased to release the new single “Rock Paper Scissors.”  You can watch the video here:
https://youtu.be/jLVSmxiT8Co
 
John Boegehold comments as follows:
“This is a cheery little tune about kids and the games they once played in a dystopian, alternate universe.”
 Watch the video for the first single “I Can’t Stay Here Anymore” here:
https://youtu.be/c2kq2winO14
Track List:1.Everdark Mountain (2:50)
2.I Can’t Stay Here Any More (6:05)
3.Time Has a Way (13:15)
4.Rock Paper Scissors (5:01)
5.Much Ado (4:49)
6.Only Passing Through (4:19)
7.Said the Stranger (7:08)
8.Here with You with Me (8:07)Bonus Tracks:9.I’m Not Alright (4:18)
10.Just Another Day at the Beach (3:33)

‘Only Passing Through’ is available for pre-order here:
https://patternseekinganimals.lnk.to/OnlyPassingThroughAvailable in the following formats: 
Ltd. CD Edition ‘SleevePac’
CD Jewelcase (Canada, Mexico, USA)
Gatefold black 180g LP+CD (etching on Side D)
Digital AlbumOffering eight songs (and two bonus tracks) that are as varied as they are excellent, Only Passing Through is a work that will deliver on all fronts. From the opener ‘Everdark Mountain’ to the weighty ‘Much Ado’ and the 13-minute epic ‘Time Has a Way’, the album has something to please fans in all quarters. If you ever wondered what Spaghetti Western Cinema would sound like in the world of 2022 prog, have a listen to ‘Said the Stranger.’ For some jazzier stylings, lend an ear to ‘Here with You with Me.’

Boegehold is justifiably proud of the album: Only Passing Through picks up where Prehensile Tales left off but soon takes several stylistic detours as it progresses. Everyone involved made this album a lot of fun to make and we’re all looking forward to it finally being heard.”

Discography
 Prehensile Tales (2020)
Pattern-Seeking Animals (2019)

PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS is:
John Boegehold (keyboards, programming and production)
Ted Leonard (lead vocals & guitar)
Dave Meros (bass and vocals)
Jimmy Keegan (drums & vocals)
PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS online:
http://PSAnimals1.com 
http://Facebook.com/psanimals1
https://twitter.com/psanimals1
https://www.instagram.com/psanimals1/INSIDEOUT MUSIC online:
www.insideoutmusic.com
www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
www.twitter.com/InsideOutUSA
www.insideoutmusicshop.comINSIDEOUTMUSIC Spotify Playlist: 
http://spotify.com/progrockessentials

The Tangent News

Hello everyone! 

First and most importantly we would like to wish you a happy and healthy 2022, we hope that you are safe and well and we send our love and good wishes to all of you wherever you may be.

We are absolutely delighted to announce that the 12th album from The Tangent “Songs From The Hard Shoulder” is now available for “special” pre- pre-ordering and is due for release on InsideOut in June 2022 

This newsletter is being sent to fans of the band who have ordered Tangent albums directly from the band’s website previously or added their details to our mailing list.

There are 2 important things to note

1) Regular pre-ordering will be available nearer to the release date.
2) All Pre-orders made from fans in mainland Europe will be posted FROM WITHIN mainland Europe.

You can find out more about the album and different options for pre-ordering here at www.thetangent.org

There is plenty of information over on the website but Andy wanted to add a message especially for fans who are subscribed to this mailing list:

“We are so happy to be bringing you our twelfth album, now in our 20th year! Keyboards, Drums, Saxophones, Flute and vocals recorded by Steve, Theo and myself here at my studio in Yorkshire, Guitars recorded at Luke’s studio in Trowbridge UK and bass recorded in Jonas’ studio near Vienna in Austria. As usual it’s been a great ride and we look forward enormously to you hearing this very human feeling recording which is among our most emotional and heartfelt pieces yet. The album is involved and deep, and highly “composed” with three pieces over the 15 minute mark – one of which is an instrumental. We tie it all off with the bounciest of retro pop songs – and all copies pre-ordered will be the “special edition” which features a short bonus track which is our third cover version in our 20 year history. And it’s a prog classic.”

You can listen here to just over 5 minutes of an EARLY preview of tracks in progress for the new album. Rough mixes only with incomplete instrumentation here:

https://soundcloud.com/andy-tillison/the-tangent-work-in-progress-trailer

Those of you who buy the “Mega Fan” and “Pay the wages” pre-ordering packages will be given access to a drop box link which already contains substantially updated versions of some of the music and Andy would like those who have already pre-ordered to know that there is a new update to the drop box coming very soon so keep checking!

If you haven’t already, please consider joining The Tangent Facebook group

We are aware that many don’t enjoy the various social media sites but for bands, particularly during these socially distanced times, it is the easiest way to connect with fans, for musicians and fans to connect with each other and to enable people to help spread the word about their favourite music – We have a very friendly and active (but not annoyingly so) Facebook group for The Tangent and everyone is very welcome, Andy is around regularly to answer questions and join in general banter and from time to time the rest of the band pop in to add comments or answer particular questions. Facebook is generally the first place where you will get to hear about new music, get to be the first to check out links to new stuff and even get involved in/make suggestions for new ideas and plans for future Tangent and Andy related musical projects…he really does take people’s ideas on board. So, please don’t be shy we’d love to hear from you all! https://www.facebook.com/groups/alltangentmembers

(PS We never add anyone to our Facebook group unless they request membership themselves, please do not add friends without their permission thank you).

Bandcamp

Don’t forget that apart from the web site Andy has his own Bandcamp page – The Tangent albums are on InsideOut/Sony music so not available on Band Camp but people who like Andy Tillison’s solo ambient electronica and Multiplex projects and his previous bands PO90 and GFDD might like to check out his band camp page… there are also a couple of Tangent fan releases and a live album or two that collectors and completists might be interested in…. 

https://andytangent.bandcamp.com/

Please support your favourite artists by buying from Bandcamp particularly on the first Friday of every month “Bandcamp Friday” when all fees and commission are waived. Bandcamp is one of the best platforms for buying music if you want to be sure of your hard earned cash going to the artist.

And finally thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone who purchased albums from The Tangent, Andy Tillison solo albums such as the new Kalman Filter album  “Moons of Neptune” (we have very few copies left so be quick if you want one) and in particular the brand new Tillison Reingold Tiranti (TRT) Italian Prog album “Allium Una Storia”, the response was absolutely fantastic and so delighted were the guys with the enthusiasm from fans and fantastic media reviews that plans are in place for a second album, keep checking the website for updates and we will write again soon!


Thank you all as always for your loyal support of The Tangent and all its subsidiaries in whatever form that might take. We realise that the last couple of years have been hard on many of you and so even if you aren’t able to buy a special pre-order, or any pre-order at all, just knowing that you are out there, telling friends about the band or sending us messages of support, posting questions or reviews on the Facebook group, commenting on forum threads, joining in discussions etc. etc. really does make a huge difference to the band’s visibility and reach online. 

Every little bit of action you take to give your support, in whatever way you are able, gives the band members a huge confidence boost which in turn feeds into their ability to create, write and play at the top of their game. Every little positive action counts and makes YOU a part of the music and a reason to keep making the records. 

Love to you all from all of us at Tangent HQ 

Stay well, stay safe!

~ Andy, Jonas, Luke, Steve, Theo and Sally x

www.thetangent.org

www.tillisonreingoldtiranti.com

Velcrocranes, forthcoming

InsideOutMusic announce signing of Russian progressive rockers VELCROCRANES
InsideOutMusic are pleased to announce the signing of Russian progressive rock newcomers Velcrocranes. The band’s debut album ‘What If I Die’ will be released on April 29th, 2022 via their new label home. Watch a teaser here: https://youtu.be/Fn1V07X1n5w
Started out as a small jazz ensemble created originally for practice, it wasn’t until they discovered the music of Porcupine Tree and the malleable world of progressive rock that their true sound came into focus. This new, expansive direction was the future of Velcrocranes.In 2017, the band would begin playing live shows for fans in their local music scene, which, at that time, still largely consisted of covers – mixed in with new material that the group was diligently working on. In 2018, the band release d their debut EP, ‘Afterlife’, which featured the songs “Hold Your Breath” & “Afterlife”. The tracks would bring the stirring and ethereal vocals of Efim Kolitinov into the forefront, as well as the harmonious guitar leads of Liza Kotova, who serves as a primary songwriter for the group, and the intricate arrangements from Alexander Papsuev. On their debut full-length, ‘What If I Die’, Velcrocranes remain true to the foundation that they’ve carefully laid in recent years – while showing little restraint for reaching into the bag of tricks to delight their listeners. Speaking about the creative drive behind the themes explored on the LP, the band says, “We imagine the main idea of the album as changing as the listener goes along. Our goal was to draw a parallel to the way your understanding of life’s meaning, your values and choices, and your perception of death change during your lifetime.” The debut album also features keyboard contributions throughout from Adam Holzman (Miles Davis & Steven Wilson): “We’d been trying a lot of different options until at some point we got desperate enough to take a chance and write to Adam … which was totally worth it because he just hit the spot! He managed to keep our original ideas, embellish them and beautifully highlight the genre features.”The artwork for the band’s forthcoming debut was created by Carl Glover of Aleph Studio, known for his work with Steven Wilson, Frost*, Marillion & more. The band comment: “The idea behind the cover artwork is as simple as it is effective. It seems to emphasize the focus on the intellectual and metaphorical vs concrete and corporeal – this, together with the minimalistic color scheme, blends in just perfectly and echoes the music.”
‘What If I Die’ will be released as Limited CD (with bonus track), Vinyl LP + CD & as Digital Album. Pre-orders will begin on February 25th. 2022.
 
Velcrocranes are:
Efim Kolitinov – vocals
Liza Kotova – guitars, backing vocals
Alexander Papsuev – guitars, keyboards
Nikita Sarukhanov – drums, percussion
Bogdan Defo – bass
VELCROCRANES Online:
https://www.facebook.com/velcrocranes/
https://www.instagram.com/velcrocranes/?hl=en
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE2O4Jgvfev-5u57bf15mRA


INSIDEOUT MUSIC online:
www.insideoutmusic.com
www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
www.twitter.com/InsideOutUSA
www.insideoutmusic.store
Spotify – Prog Rock Playlist
Spotify – Progressive Metal Playlist

Irving Babbitt and the Crisis of Nationalism, 1915 ~ The Imaginative Conservative

In the 1910s, one of America’s greatest humanists, Irving Babbitt (1865-1933), surprisingly decided to dive into the realm of political theory and, to a lesser degree, practical politics in his many writings. Up to this decade, Babbitt had written literary and cultural criticism, defenses of the liberal arts, and explorations of Chinese philosophy and religion, but little to no politics. This changed with the advent of World War I, and Babbitt decided to apply all that he had done prior to the decade to the political philosophies of Nietzsche, of internationalism, and, especially, of nationalism. In a series of articles in The Nation in 1915, Babbitt perceptively analyzed the world, its recent past, and its most likely future. Indeed, if anything, Babbitt’s words were deeply prophetic and should have been heeded by all.

All modern European history began, Babbitt declared, with the French Revolution. Though it had proclaimed a sort of radical internationalism, it had devolved very quickly into a brutal and violent nationalism, with “Viva la nation!” becoming its unholy war cry.

Infected by the ideologies and “isms” first propounded by the French, modern Europe had, too, devolved into particular chaoses of national units. “Europe is to-day less cosmopolitan in any genuine sense of the word than it was at almost any period in the Middle Ages. Moreover, the type of internationalism that has broken down so disastrously, as well as the type of nationalism that has overthrown it, are both of comparatively recent origin. ‘The sentiment of nationalities,’ says Renan, ‘is not a hundred years old.’ And, he adds that this sentiment was created in the world by the French Revolution,” Babbitt explained. The so-called brotherhood of the Jacobins, Babbitt reminded his readers, was not so much one of universal love, but rather an alliances of “Cains, men whose hands were stained with blood and who looked on one another with incurable distrust.” The French, Babbitt continued, moved from universalism to particularism to “bestiality.”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2022/01/irving-babbitt-crisis-nationalism-1915-bradley-birzer.html