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  #1  
Old 04-18-2003, 01:01 PM
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Underrated albums/pleasant surprises

So, what album or albums have been pleasant surprises or underrated in your opinion, and why?

An example of each:
Pleasant surprise:
Rush's latest, Vapor Trails. This is my favorite album from them in 16 years. I haven't cared much for the last several albums - they have been OK, but I expect a lot more than OK from Rush. Then I heard about the album before I heard it - "stripped down - only bass, drums, guitars" - well I like the synths and exotic percussion aspect of Rush. "heaviest Rush album in a long time" - well I like the melodic aspect of Rush more than the heaviness. So I was expecting to really dislike this album and SURPRISE! - I loved it! To me, it represents their strongest songwriting in a very long time.
Underrated:
Genesis - And Then There Were Three. Listened to this the other day, all the way through for the first time in awhile, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Strong songs, a lot of variety, and while very different from Gabriel and Hackett era Genesis, still quite prog. Phil's drumming is some of his best, and he's really found his own vocal style rather than imitating Pete. Mike Rutherford gets a chance to stretch out on the guitar and does a fairly good job. Tony's keyboards are in some ways more restrained than say "The Lamb", but without Steve's melodic guitar lines, he gets a chance to add some new stylings to his keys. All in all, a very enjoyable effort.

Thoughts? Other nominations?
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Old 04-19-2003, 09:18 PM
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Pleasent surprise:

Revolutions (Magenta): Never thought I would listen the great early 70's sound again in a new band, really the best album in 10 years IMHO.

Lex Rex (Glass Hammer): Really good album, diferent but great.

Underrated albums:

1.- Mediterranean Tales (Triumvirat): Since I was a kid (long ago), everybody talked about Spartacus and Ilusions in a Double Dimple (and I love both), but nobody ever talked about Mediterranean tales. Not in the same level of the other two, but very good music.

2.- No Earthly Connection (Rick Wakeman): Don't expect Six Wives but very underrated, not even released in CD.

3.- Their Satanic Majesties Request (Rolling Stones): IMO the best Stones album. They really tried to release a trascendental album totally diferent to the rest with some psychedelic, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Clubs Band and prog' influence. Somebody once told me John Mc Laughlin played in the tour, don't know if it's true.

Iván
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Old 04-19-2003, 11:00 PM
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Unpleasant surprise

If it weren't for Jethro Tull, Rush would be my favorite band. That is why it pained me to hear Vapor Trails. At least they played the best songs live (which was one of their best concerts I've ever seen, saw them twice last year). I really really liked TFE and Counterparts. It is side 2 of Roll the Bones, side 2 of Presto, and a good portion of Hold Your Fire that I am not enamored with. I do not want to hear Rush stripped down like what is on Vapor Trails - they did that Better with Caress of Steel (probably my favorite Rush record). I found Vapor Trails really subpar and hard on the ear in spots, and especially non-progressive and not real interesting.

The Genesis is a good point - however, I think Duke is stronger, especially songs like Cul-De-Sac and Heathaze - but Burning Rope and The Lady Lies from 3 are excellent too.

I'll have to think about mine for a bit - just had to weigh in on the Rush.
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Old 04-20-2003, 01:03 AM
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cool response RnR - re: Vapor Trails. I really disliked Counterparts, thought TFE was mediocre, and love Hold Your Fire - almost the opposite of what you wrote. I think it's great that we can have such differing opinions on a band that we both love. That's what makes prog so interesting to me - the possibility of having such differing, informed opinions on the music. Can you imagine an equivalent discourse on pop?

BTW, I tend to agree with your assessment of Roll The Bones and Presto - mostly weak (I know I'm paraphrasing liberally - no need to correct me) and Caress Of Steel - very good. And on a different thread - I think you were one of the people recommending MMEB - The Good Earth - listening to it as I type - and it is VERY good, look for most if not all of it on AM soon! Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2003, 03:16 AM
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Aviator

An advert in the paper said that a band were playing in London called Aviator. I did a bit of research and found out that it consisted of Mick Rogers (ex MMEB), Jack Lancaster (of Blodwyn Pig and Marscape fame) John G. Perry (who's history I don't know) and Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull and probably the finest drummer I've ever seen).

This was back in the late 70s. They were brilliant live. They released 2 albums. Aviator and, after Lancaster had left, Turbulence.

Their style is mixed and very difficult to describe but I'm sure any AM listeners will find something on their records they can get into.

As for underrated stuff.

When Tony Kaye left/got kicked out of Yes to make way for Rick Wakeman he formed a band with Dave Foster (who Co Wrote a few Yes songs) called Badger. Their Album "One Live Badger" is well worth a listen in my opinion. It was recorded live (you don't say) at London's Rainbow Theatre and has some great organ sounds on it. Check it out I think you'ld be pleasantly suprised.

PS.
Glad you like "The Good Earth" Jim. Were you able to track down "Solar Fire"?
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  #6  
Old 04-20-2003, 04:54 PM
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Thumbs up Niacin

Just taken delivery of the Niacin album "High Bias".........wow!!!!
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  #7  
Old 04-20-2003, 09:03 PM
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Too many great lesser thans . . .

Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds

- On first listen, I couldn't believe that this was the brothers Floyd. This album just knock you out of your seat from the start. Quite a great soundtrack for a really awful film. Umagumma gets runner up for Pink Floyd. That whole first disc is so full of great material. Actually, hmm that would fit in nicely for another show down the line . . .

Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets

- While not up to the same epic level as Tiger Mountain or Another Green World, this is packed with solid songs showing off Brian's twisted humor and musicality. Key contributions on here from Fripp and other friends of Eno. It took a while to build up for me, but now I just can't help but love the album every time I put it on.

while not completely prog -

Bjork - Selmasongs

- For an almost EP length album, this one packs a wallop. Mixing Bjork's obsession with everyday rhythmic sounds and some heart-rending melodies, this is an essential album for me. Overture, Cvalda, and My New World are just some amazing stand-out pieces.
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  #8  
Old 04-21-2003, 12:40 PM
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I agree with the Vapour Trails assessment. There are some really good songs on that. Some of it does tend to wash away, I admit. But four or five powerful songs (Earth Shine, as an example) really make it a far better album that the last two, IMO.

One highly under rated album comes from a highly under rated band. I'm talking about Snow, by Spock's Beard. If Snow was released in 1974, it would be a prog rock staple.
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Old 04-21-2003, 07:13 PM
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Continuing with the Rush theme (they're my favorite band after all), I love Presto and Test For Echo, but I think Caress of Steel is their weakest effort. I don't like the start/stop feel of the longer pieces and think they tend to meander a bit.

One of the albums I was most surprised by was Kansas' Somewhere To Elsewhere. After a string of mostly mediocre albums through the 80's and 90's, this album proved that Kansas wasn't a bunch of washed-up old guys.
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Old 04-21-2003, 09:27 PM
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random thoughts

Good point about the Kansas - the difference of course, is the involvement of Mr. Livgren.

About the MMEB - I really like Nightingales and Bombers. That's my favorite MMEB.

You could almost do a underrated/ pleasant surprise for every band. for instance, Tull could be "A" for underrated, and "Broad Sword" for pleasant surprise. Black Sabbath could be "Dehumanizer" for underrated, and "Heaven and Hell" for ps. I won't get into Rush again with the Grunge of Vapor Trails. If you want to throw out a band every week, etc. I'm game.

An all-time underrated could be "Open Fire" by Montrose. And believe it or not, I find "The Serpent is Rising" and "Man of Miracles" by Styx very underrated. "Black Noise" by FM, "Unfolded", by Discipline, where does one stop?

Very interesting about the Snow CD. I have only heard it once, and found it very cool. Maybe a prog classic in 1978 - in 1974 there would have been way too much competition.

I have the self-titled Aviator album. It makes a wonderful frisbee. However, I defer to you Keith, as I have never seen them live.
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Old 04-22-2003, 08:35 AM
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I'm a big fan of Aviator's first album, although I've never been able to find Tubulence. I also love Serpent is Rising & Man of Miracles. Serpent was my first Styx lp, purchased at a used record store after "Lady" hit big, mostly because they listed a xylophone as one of the instruments!

Other under rated albums: Fireballet's Night on Bald Mountain, Ambrosia's Somewhere I've Never Travelled, Kansas' In the Spirit of Things (with Steve Morse)

I fell in love with Rush during their Signals through Hold Your Fire period. Geddy was too screechy prior to that, and I too prefer their more atmospheric sound courtesy of the synths. The later material (with some exceptions) doesn't seem to have the passion that the 80's stuff has.
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Old 04-22-2003, 01:38 PM
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Thumbs up Pleasent Surprise

Ok a pleasant surprise for me happened the other night while going through my CD collection. I came across "Queensryche - Promised Land". I bought this album when it came out listened to it once or twice and shelved it. I decided to give it a listen again and you know what I was pleasantly surprised. There is alot of good material on this album. Not my favorite ryche album but not a bad one like I had originally though.

Another one I was surprised with is, you guys are going to kill me for this, "Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans". Honestly at first I really did not enjoy this album much but last night I put the headphones on relaxed popped the CD in and WOW .. Why did I not like this one? What a masterpiece!! I am sorry I missed out on this one for so long very imaginative.

And one more, which I think, is highly underrated. Has anyone here listened to any Bozzio, Levins, & Stevens? Blacklight Symphony is a great album! Very nice instrumental work. Bozzio is just insane on the drums and Steve Stevens from Billy Idol, who would have thought that this guy could play so well. I would highly recommend it.

Last edited by HORDE : 04-22-2003 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 04-22-2003, 08:03 PM
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QR + BLS

Promised Land suffers (unfairly so) due to the brilliance of Empire and Mindcrime. It is stillpretty good - a nice choice. I like Hear In The Now World also.

I have the first BLS. I have always found Stevens and Bozzio excellent. I liked the record initially, but the improv feature gets uninteresting after awhile. But still pretty good.
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Old 04-22-2003, 10:31 PM
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I was thinking about praising Hear in the Now Frontier but feared the derision of the old school Queensryche fans.
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Old 04-22-2003, 10:44 PM
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QR

Thank you for correcting my butchering of the name of the CD? OOPS!

What would be oldschool fans? The first three (EP, Warning, Rage) were very different from the big two. As you should know by now, I have no fear of derision.

As long as you didn't pick Q2k - what a dog that was!
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Old 04-23-2003, 03:39 AM
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Re: random thoughts

Quote:
Originally posted by Rick and Roll
I have the self-titled Aviator album. It makes a wonderful frisbee. However, I defer to you Keith, as I have never seen them live.
I think you could use it to make a better Flower Pot. Place it over a deep bowl and put something very hot on the centre. The disc will start to melt and sink into the bowl and VOILA...an aviator plant pot.

Seriously for a minute.
Another find was "Paris". They released two albums 1) "Paris", 1975 and 2) "Big Town 2061" in 1976. The band that included Glen Cornick (Jethro Tull), Bob Welch (Fleetwood Mac) and Thom Mooney (The Nazz). Thom was replaced on 2) by Hunt Sales (Tin Machine). The albums are pretty heavy in places but I think they would appeal to AM listeners.

Another (in my opinion) underated group are Fruupp an Irish prog band from the 70s. They released four albums, Future Legends (73), Seven Secrets (74), Prince Of Heaven's Eyes (75), Modern Masquerades (75)

"Fruupp were an Irish band who released four albums of pastoral, progressive rock, quite similar to Genesis of that period. However, they were eclipsed in popularity by that band and were not as well known. The Prince Of Heaven's Eyes is from 1974, and contains all the trademarks of that era, including the ubiquitous mellotron. The music is very melodic and will surely appeal to those who enjoy the symphonic, keyboard-oriented style of prog rock. "Songs for a Thought" is a compilation (clocking in at just under 76 minutes) that collects material from their releases (plus an otherwise unavailable bonus track), and should serve as a fine introduction to the band. The music is centred around the keyboards of Stephen Houston, with lush Mellotron-strings backgrounds and melodic piano comps and leads. The style is probably quite similar to what Genesis did in the early-to-mid 70s, a bit mellower, though fuller sounding. Additionally, Fruupp employ a wider arsenal of instruments including violin/cello and oboe".
(This text taken from Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Prog Rock at http://www.gepr.net/geprfram.htm)

The compilation album "Songs for a Thought" would make a good addition to the playlist.

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Old 04-23-2003, 04:51 PM
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Underrated albums, or underrated artists?

One of those artist/albums that no one ever even notices exists but is unbelievable is AMERICAN DON by Don Caballero. Request "The Peter Criss Jazz" or "One's All Over the Place" and get some lovin'.

For the number one all time most underrated [under-known] album ever: LOW LEVEL OWL by The Appleseed Cast. This is one of my top ten albums EVER!!! Yes, that's right, ever. It's a two disc album with both discs being released seperately, but it's worth every penny and then some (EP, when are we going to hear LLO on your show?).

For me, the second - all time underrated and underappreciated album is UNION by Yes. I don't know why people hate on this album. I stinking love it. I know the next ten responses will by "you idiot" style, but I really like this disc. There are about 7 great songs. TALK is likewise underappreciated and amazing.

MANIC MOONLIGHT by King's X is also underappreciated. Coming from a huge KX fan, I was dissappointed greatly by this disc when I first got it. I thought "four good, four bad, and one so-so." But I dusted it off the other day - Shoot, this disc is loaded. I guess it just has to sink in and grow on you, like all art-rock.
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Old 04-23-2003, 05:01 PM
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Re: Underrated albums, or underrated artists?

Quote:
Originally posted by Yesspaz

For the number one all time most underrated [under-known] album ever: LOW LEVEL OWL by The Appleseed Cast. This is one of my top ten albums EVER!!! Yes, that's right, ever. It's a two disc album with both discs being released seperately, but it's worth every penny and then some (EP, when are we going to hear LLO on your show?).
Hmm, i'd give it maybe another month, as i'm still waiting for it to marinate enough that i'll have something meaningful to say. It's most definitely a solid work.

I can't wait for these next two shows. Hopefully, all that detail will be posted tonight. The setlists are just a lot of fun.

Tommy
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Old 04-23-2003, 05:52 PM
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Re: Underrated albums, or underrated artists?

Quote:
Originally posted by Yesspaz
For me, the second - all time underrated and underappreciated album is UNION by Yes. I don't know why people hate on this album. I stinking love it. I know the next ten responses will by "you idiot" style, but I really like this disc. There are about 7 great songs. TALK is likewise underappreciated and amazing.
You won't hear any negativity from me on that one Yesspaz. I love 'em both too. The Union tour was amazing. I'm really sorry that Yes decided not to play the UK on the Talk tour. did you see them that time around?

What did they do in the set?
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Old 04-23-2003, 06:51 PM
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In the Genesis catalogue Nursery Crymes and Trespass are definitely underrated.
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