Toboggan, San Salvador, Tak Ensemble, and Simon Kanzler

Toboggan – Première Descente

The French avant-garde progressive rock scene is vibrant and alive, and Toboggan is one of the most recent incarnations of this desire to create something out of the ordinary. After their Démo sans mot, last year, Toboggan return with Première Descente, or “First Descent”, their debut full-length album. And, with just over sixty minutes of material, it has plenty of opportunities to take you in. The bulk of the runtime is taken by the five main compositions, which range from nine to fourteen and a third minutes in length, and which are separated by … Read more

Emme Phyzema, 五人一首, Alkerdeel, and Bisbâyé

Emme Phyzema – Shorts Are Comfy and Easy to Wear!

The creative mastermind known as Emme Phyzema just released a new wacky avant-garde progressive rock masterpiece—first with the addendum When You’re Listening to Fake Harpsichord Music and, would you know it, it was a MIDI harpsichord version of this album—Shorts Are Comfy and Easy to Wear. Was this whole album conceptualized from a single interaction with a Youngster in a Pokémon game? Who is to say? But, to be sure, this thirty-and-some-minute album extracts the best creative juice from the whole region with collaborators and guests such as … Read more

Matt’s Albums of the Year

In a year turned entirely upside-down by the global pandemic, music still found a way to be awesome and provide respite for our weary souls. For some reason, even-numbered years recently have not had any all-time pantheon-level releases, while odd years have always had one or two albums that tower above the rest; that trend persists here, as this year’s best material—while excellent—doesn’t hit my threshold for glory. If we did numerical ratings here, I would say that 95% and up is that standard, and I don’t think anything from 2020 exceeded about a 92%. But don’t misunderstand; while there’s … Read more

Void, Yaeth, Svirfneblin, and Nautilus

Void – The Hollow Man (Duplicate)

Remember Ashenspire and/or Vulture Industries and/or A Forest of Stars? Well, Void is a new name to add to this rather short list of theatrical progressive metal purveyors. The Hollow Man is the British band’s third full-length album, and it’s based on the poem of the same name from Thomas Stearns Eliot. The entire album comes out on January 29, and it’s a great opportunity for anyone who misses the lyrical character and exuberance of acts like those I mentioned before, to which I’d add later Slice the Cake as well, although the … Read more

Snooze, Respire, Schnellertollermeier, Red Fiction, Cryptodira, and Asu no jokei

Snooze – Still

Not content having released perhaps the most memorable math rock album last year, Chicago’s Snooze are back with another banger, titled Still. With just over thirty minutes—about the same length as their dog-themed masterpiece—Still provides the same quality of colourful melodies, intricate song progression, and amazing musicianship. You can’t go wrong with Snooze!

Respire – Black Line (Church Road)

It’s not been long since Respire made it on Matt’s Album’s of the Decade list for their 2018 masterpiece Dénouement. Yet, I haven’t personally mentioned the band, so I wanted to take their new … Read more