Alex’s Hand – Katatak

Russia-based R.A.I.G. (Russian Association of Independent Genres) label seldom disappoints. The latest hit from under their wings is from German avant-garde progressive rock band Alex’s Hand, and their fourth studio album, Katatak – stylized KaTaTaK. Contrary to tradition, the songs don’t follow an overarching theme or concept, but the three main chunks – “Waterfalls”, “Epic”, and “Ghost Peppers” – each tell a story through convoluted long-form structures, atypical riffs and rhythmic patterns, and a generally rather aggressive take on progressive rock and jazz rock. Katatak is unsurprisingly very colourful, despite the overall bleakness of the concepts and songs; … Read more

Çub – Musique actuelle

Çub is the unlikely collaborative project between experimental math rockers Ça and dub techno artist Submarine FM. As a spinoff of Ça, it had great shoes to fill in my eyes, and the dub aspect only made things more intriguing. The collaboration actually turned out pretty amazingly well! You still find the core of Ça – whacky off-kilter and odd-time riffs supplemented with onomatopoeic vocal absurdities –, but you now find a side of electronic music that’s an uncanny match, but the two marry perfectly. This lycée-themed album gives us plenty of lessons about life and music in … Read more

The Knells – Knells II

You don’t often see, or hear, a troupe of classically trained musicians making progressive rock music along with an all-female vocal trio. Yet, as its name alludes to, Knells II is the second album of New York’s The Knells, a band united under Andrew McKenna Lee’s vision. The compositions are rather short and to-the-point, but are meticulously written with many intertwined layers more akin to a woven tapestry than merely a bunch of parallel threads. Knells the Second is a direct successor of the first of its name, superior in every regard – except in duration. The Knells was … Read more

Squintaloo – Über Bord!



Squintaloo is a German experimental progressive rock quartet, and they released their latest album, Über Bord!, in June 2017. Their style is eclectic and modern, drawing many comparisons to even some more out-there math rock and prog rock outfits. While very rooted into harmonic cohesion with a rather simplistic melodic approach, most of the eccentricity comes from the structures, the odd rhythms, and the layers of effects that affect the guitar sounds. That is not to say that those two aspects are not well done or that playing them doesn’t require a high degree of musicianship from the players’ … Read more