Posted by: joshalmond | March 28, 2010

The Flower Kings

I have found a band that is truly amazing.  They’re from Sweden, and the only way I’d probably ever have heard them, aside from visiting Sweden and happening upon them in a small club (unlikely they’d be in a small club) – is due to one of the members, Roine Stolt being in the incredible prog band Transatlantic!  Although I had a track of theirs on a compilation from Inside Out Records, which I’d forgotten about, I don’t think I’d actually listened to it.  Earlier this week, I went into Rasputin Records to exchange some stuff (which turned out to be way more of a hassle than Amoeba Records‘ set up), and thought, “I’ll get some Flower Kings“.  I found one album, a comp called The Road Back Home, which said it was good for both the veteran fan, or the newbie, so I figured I couldn’t miss.  That was… until I read the liner notes where it said something to the affect of, ‘we’ve left out all the complicated 11/8 odd meter stuff‘… DOH!  That’s the stuff I want to hear.  So, on to itunes I go, and download “Adam & Eve” , which has one track that I heard on Pandora for mere moments before I accidentally hit the wrong button on my new droid and lost the song.  I didn’t know what song it was, but I recall the album cover.  It turned out to be Drivers Seat – an 18 minute track to which I’d only heard the crazy awesome synth intro (go here if you want to hear what I mean).  I wanted more! I still do!

So, after spending the next two days listening to The Road Back Home (2007) and Adam & Eve (2004), respectively, I downloaded two more albums!  Flower Power (1999) is pure genius with a track that is an epic HOUR LONG PROG SPECTACLE entitled Garden Of Dreams.  As of yet, I still haven’t quite finished listening to Stardust We Are (1997), but will, shortly.  I have so much more to enjoy down the road as they have  about 12 more albums, not including all the various versions, and side projects.  Well, if you haven’t heard them, heard of them, and you love your prog like I do… go check them out.

I haven’t purchased a ticket to a show since I saw Marcus Miller, jazz bass player extrordinaire at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, but heard that Transatlantic were coming to town in April to play at The Palace Of Fine Arts, in support of their new album The Whirlwind – so all I could think about was that line from Pulp Fiction: “I’m goin’, I’m f*cking goin’, that’s all there is to it”.  It is on a Sunday night, and clear across town, but it is actually in SF, instead of being at one of the horrible big venues in the bay area like The Shoreline in Mountain View, or Concord Pavillion (or whatever they’re calling it now).   Although, I’m not sure they’re big enough to play those places, after all they are a prog band.   Thankfully, most prog hasn’t been destroyed by the current music industry, and real music is actually coming out of it.  A lot of good, new music.  Over the past year, discovering bands like Spock’s Beard, Frost*, Battles, Porcupine Tree, IQ, Tetrafusion, Parzival’s Eye, the aforementioned Transatlantic, and of course The Flower Kings, has really been a joy.

It’s not exactly a prog song, but I hope Transatlantic perform Lenny Johnson, because it’s one of my favorites from the double album.  I leave you now, with an oldie, but goodie:  Level 42’s Lessons In Love, which has a great Mark King bass line.


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