Prog Rock

Attached is an article about the state of current progressive rock by a History professor at Hillsdale College. He highly recommends a band called Big Big Train. I listened to the samples on CDbaby and think it sounds like old Genesis. As a fan of old Yes, ELP, Renaissance, Todd Rundgren's Utopia,Marillion, Kansas, etc, are there any worthwhile prog bands to pursue in 2012? Keep in mind in this genre, I am looking for originality, musicianship, and a big vision. Speed and mindless repetition do not impress. I want to be able to enjoy my system, drink a little wine, and think.
by far the best of the current lot IMO is Porcupine Tree. I also like Chroma Key, Gordion Knot, and OSI (Office of Strategic Inlfuence) which is a collaboration between the Chroma Key and Gordion Knot players. These bands are all very original - and great musicians. Gordion Know has Steve Hacket, Bill Bruford sitting in on some cuts.
100% agree with bdgregory on porcupine tree--it's prog for people who don't like the wankery and excesses of prog. the main guy, steven wilson, also puts out albums in his own name which are very good.
Methinks you need to sign in and hang out at

The best "newer" bands that I have found and enjoy are:
- Porcupine Tree (and Steve Wilson's solo projects)
- Anathema
- Moth Vellum
- Mars Hollow
- Big Big Train
- Brother Ape
- Izz
- Transatlantic
- Karmakanic
- Haken
- 3
- Sylvan
- Magic Pie
- Riverside
- Beardfish
- The Pineapple Thief
- Frogg Cafe
- District 97
- Oblivion Sun
- Phideaux
- Wobbler

Transatlantic a great band
IF you like classic Renaissance, you might also give "Blackmore's Night" a listen. I'd start with their "Shadow of the Moon" album.

And yes the guitar player is THAT Blackmore and the vocalist is his steamy and talented wife Candice Night who's vocals strongly resemble those of Annie Haslam in her prime. There is even a very nice cover of the old Renaissance tune "Ocean Gypsy" on that album.

A lot of prog fans are anxiously awaiting the new "Squackett" album by Steve Hackett and Chris Squire that is scheduled to be released this summer.
Also try Mostly Autumn. Great band with a great female vocalist - maybe more like the original Renaissance (later resurrected as Illusion) fronted by Jane Relf and Jim McCarty
Thanks for all of the recommendations- lots to explore. To this day occaisionally I pull out Yessongs, Kansas' Masque, or play ELP's "Pirates", and of course Annie's voice on "Ashes Are Burning" still sends tingles to the spine. The Hackett/Squire combo sounds interesting. I am just glad to hear that there is creativity out there to further diversify my collection.
Enough fantastic Steve Hackett solo music already since he left Genesis years a go around to get lost in for quite some time alone. Steve seems to always have something a bit different and unexpected up his sleeve....
What was progressive 40 years ago is no longer ground breaking or original... almost without exception the bands listed so far (some of em' are great) ain't gonna give you originality if that's what you're really looking for. Bands like Miriodor, Brown vs. Brown, Univers Zero and Massacre (the band w/ Fred Frith) are a little closer to providing something that hasn't been pre digested.
Try the new Dream Theater.
Not new, but still available:


Le Orme


Just a few of the great progrock

Great source for vinyl and cd
Zebulon Pike. They are an all instrumental prog rock metal trio from Minneapolis. Great sound and great music.
Not a modern day outfit but popular in the 90's were Spock's Beard. I like their "V" (as in Roman numeral) Special Edition-great sound and playing. Also Porcupine Tree's "Metanoia". Am also a big fan of the old Gentle Giant-their live double album was excellent but I have that on vinyl so dont know if it's available on cd.
Actually Spocks Beard is very much alive and producing music. However, they are not producing the same quality of music that they were when Neal Morse was leading them, back in the 90's.

In fact, many people really liked Neal Morse's solo albums that he produced when he left SB, even though they are religion themed (he became a born again Christian).
Dream theater is prog metal?
Tea Party and Tragically Hip
More recent 21st century albums by the flaming lips like embryonic and yoshimi may have appeal.
Try a band called IQ. Been around for a while and they have quite a few recordings to shoose from and their all quite good. Of their work these are more prog than others:
The Wake
Dark Matter
Wow. The suggestions keep coming. I have ordered some Porcupine Tree and the Big Big Train. Eldulcesol, I love the HIP! I have pretty much everything they have released and a couple of bootlegs. However, I don't consider them prog. The Tragically Hip is a great rock and roll band along the lines of REM and Pearl Jam. Really underappreciated and excellent live.
I was a big fan of the first progressive wave but I had pretty much lost touch with the genre until I saw this thread a week or so ago. I sampled several of the bands mentioned and I found many of them to not suit my taste at all. To each his own, right? But the thread did send me on a quest to find some good modern progressive rock.

The search took me to iTunes Radio and I found "Progman" under the classic rock tab on iTunes Radio. I've listened to it for a few hours now and I've heard some really good stuff.

Give Progman a try. It's free if you have iTunes and it's also available as a streaming audio internet station at but the website is in German.
Ptmcontulting, in digging around a little bit I just found out that Neal Morse is now in a band called Flying Colors with of all people Steve Morse (no relation). Morse used to be with the Dixie Dregs and Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater is also in this band. There's an article in May's Premier Guitar magazine about them.
Sounds like an interesting group of musicians, kind of a super-group. I know Neal was auditioning people for another band he was putting together, but I'm sure that's yet another project outside of this one.

Bottom line - there's lots of good prog being created these days, in all sorts of genre's.
I enjoy the early 1970s prog classics - Gentle Giant, KC, Genesis, Yes et al...I am constantly looking for new exciting prog records (and find very little that really impresses me) 2008 Diagonal came out with an album (Rise Above Records - yes, it is available in vinyl as well) that I think is absolutely awesome and that I now count as one of the greats...I have anxiously been awaiting a new release from them, and I just read that they are planning something this year...other GREAT prog albums in my opinion is Mr Bungle 'Disco Volante' and Opeth 'Watershed'...I just have to mention one of the best ever, in my humble opinion of course, more obscure (lost) ones Il Balletto Di Bronzo 'Ys' (Italy 1972 - much great prog from that country)...all of the mentioned I recommend highly to any prog fanatic.
Go4vinyl, Funny you should mention a lot of good prog came from Italy. Premiata Forneria Marconi was an Italian prog group that was pretty good. Genesis was huge in Italy as many of their concerts were done there. Perhaps the Italians love prog due to an almost operatic element to much of prog.
Well tonight I listened to "In Absensia" by Porcupine Tree which I purchased off of an Ebay as an experiment. A couple of martinis enhanced the mood and I really enjoyed it. Definately original, with excellent musicianship and tastes of Yes, Rush, King Crimson, Nine Inch Nails, and even Jane's Addiction. The reviews I read implied that this was one of their more commercial albums. I prefered the songs that didn't veer off too far into head banging territory, but all in all, a great discovery. I think that these guys are going to be kind of like when I learned about Gene Harris off of another 'Gon blog about blues/jazz pianists. Once you get turned onto a cool artist, you discover that they have dozens of recordings out and you ask "why haven't I heard of these guys before?" Thanks for the referals and I hope that I can introduce some of you to a new discovery soon. It is one of the simple pleasures of Audiogon.
P tree has some great work.
In Absentia is by far my least favorite PT release, though I know many folks do like it a lot. So . . . if you like that - keep going, it gets better and better. I like "Sky Moved Sideways" a lot.
Ozric Tentacles is pretty awesome.
Van Der Graaf was huge in Italy as well, in the early 70s - blend that with classical, jazz and their own unique approach and that's what many of the outfits sounded like.

It's funny (and proabably typical) - my fave PT by far is In Absentia which I bought upon release (2002 me thinks)...I should mention I'm not a big fan, but no doubt understand their appeal.

If you like PT, you can try Storm Corrosion (incl Steven Wilson of PT) and Steven Wilson - Grace for drowning,
i listened to the Squackett cd a couple times me it`s more pop than i would have thought it would be.
Here's an interesting series of articles tracing the history of Prog from Slate.
Interesting series. Thanks for posting. I saw both ELP and Yes several times back in the day. Sure the music could become pompous and too long, but the talent and musicianship was always awe inspiring. Yessongs is one of my favorite live albums. I always enjoyed the big Yes Roger Dean stage shows and felt like they wanted to make sure the audience saw something unique and special. And even though Emerson got most of the press, Greg Lake has an excellent voice and Carl Palmer is just a beast on the drums. I don't listen to prog music that often, but when I do, it always strikes me that this musical genre was created to play and test a high end system.
Glass Hammer and Mars Hollow
As an old ELP, Genesis listener, I've had my interest in prog rock rekindled over the last 10 years, too many great bands to list my favorites.

Try going to one of the prog vendors, a number of artists are using MySpace to put samples of their songs out there, full songs not snippets like amazon. Click on a country and look for the links to their myspace. Sweden, UK and USA are target rich for samples.