Holon‘s The Time Is Always Now is a bit of a misnomer. Rather than focusing on the hypermodern in progressive rock, it’s a tour of the genre from its formative years onwards. There’s some art-rock jamming, there’s some late ‘80s panpipe noodling, there’s some grainy, pop-focused rock. It’s an impressive undertaking, easily clocking in at over an hour and featuring some of the densest musical styles around. Certainly not for the faint of heart, holon’s newest should satisfy prog fans of all stripes.
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Sara Melson’s cover of the Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations” captures much of the spirit of the original. It’s immersive, lolling ahead in a haze of distortion, and its moody piano sets the piece’s tone exceptionally well. What’s new is the purity of production—no longer confined to the archaic equipment of decades ago, the song fills the auditory cracks even better than the original, lending the piece a quaintly rustic feel. Less a purely original cover than a faithful revision, “No Expectations” shines mutely, a triumph of melancholy.
The Minders’ “Summer Song” is a love letter to a bygone time, folk-rock drawing bits of old-school pop and psychedelic to fuel itself. It sounds like it could have been made in the ‘70s, steel-strung acoustic guitar and rock-solid bass backing Martyn Leaper’s unadorned voice. It’s even complete with strings played like they were in the Beatles’ heyday, if the temporal debt of this song weren’t already clear enough. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
HEIRSOUND ostensibly makes alt-rock, but what makes their take on the genre special are the fragments of other styles embedded in their sound. Most notably, Merge features a good chunk of pop-savvy post-hardcore influence, tearing bits and pieces from the best parts of Fueled By Ramen—Paramore circa brand new eyes, VersaEmerge’s debut, and Against the Current’s electronic sheen. In other words, it’s radio-ready alt-pop with a heavy coat of pop-punk, taking the best of every world in which it dabbles and layering extra energy on top until everything screams. Take this with your morning coffee to stay awake all day.
BOYO’s hazy rock attacks psychedelic with the force of a good shoegaze maelstrom, waves of guitar letting off sparks every which way. “Moombah” is a good example of that merger, pop sensibilities informing everything from the tone of the guitar solo to the song’s verse-chorus progression. It’s surprisingly simple: mix catchy chord progressions with legions of guitar, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Given how good “Moombah” is, this seems to be a solid formula.
Control releases August 26th.