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2017 was a year of rejuvenation for progressive rock and metal, with many artists bouncing back from potential hardships to prove just how much they can still offer in terms of trying new things while maintaining what made them beloved in the first place.
Steven Wilson talks with PopMatters about a restored love for adventurous pop, the challenges of writing a simple song, and the role of a musician in addressing political tumult.
In this introductory episode of the PopMatters Progcast, we explore the context and impact of Steven Wilson's best studio albums to date, including both solo works and collaborative creations.
Porcupine Tree's centerpiece Steven Wilson held out to streaming services longer than the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. Why he changed his mind recently proved worthy of a lengthy discussion.
Minstrel in the Gallery seems as autobiographical as any Jethro Tull album, before or after, and there is a vulnerability and sensitivity that the songwriter was simply growing into.
The American leg of Steven Wilson's Hand. Cannot. Erase. tour finds the prolific musician in top visual and instrumental form, and his Chicago gigs at Park West were no exception.
Hear an unreleased alternate take on the Minstrel in the Gallery cut "Cold Wind to Valhalla" in lead-up to that album's special edition 40th anniversary release, featuring new mixes by modern prog maestro Steven Wilson.
Revered English musical visionary Steven Wilson discusses the inspirations, methods, and reflections that helped create his newest solo opus, Hand. Cannot. Erase.
As a tribute to a recently departed fan, Steven Wilson and Mariusz Duda (of Lunatic Soul and Riverside fame) have teamed up for the gorgeous song "The Old Peace".
Steven Wilson is in the studio right now to record his yet-to-be-named fourth solo LP. To give a sneak peek of what's to come, he has released a video of him and his band in the recording studio in London.
PopMatters catches up with singer and wordsmith Tim Bowness to talk about the creative process behind Together We're Stranger, its lyrical influences, and how it fits into the band's diverse career.
With "All the Blue Changes", Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson ruminate on city life as it relates to loneliness. The city in a hundred ways both seeks to confine and expel the mourner, a paradox that makes the isolation all the harder to bear.
In its newest Between the Grooves series, Sound Affects explores No-Man’s 2003 tome poem, Together We’re Stranger, one of the truest examinations of heartbreak and loss ever seen in music history. The album's stark, ambient opener depicts a person just having experienced ultimate loss.
In taking the '70s prog influences that were present on Grace for Drowning and blowing them up, Steven Wilson has made what is easily the most "prog" release of his storied career.
With the February 25th release of Steven Wilson’s third solo LP The Raven That Refused to Sing (and other stories) approaching, PopMatters looks back on Wilson’s storied career to pick out ten of his strongest recordings, ranging from beautiful works of ambience to transcontinental art rock.
The first video from Steven Wilson's upcoming third solo LP The Raven that Refused to Sing (and other stories)
As this Between the Grooves series concludes, we finish with “Stop Swimming”, one of Steven Wilson’s favorite Porcupine Tree songs. Stupid Dream's jazz-tinged closer is drenched in the mood of disillusionment and the apathy of being apathetic.
A groovy and at times thrashy jam whose roots date back to the title track of Porcupine Tree’s 1993 release Up the Downstair, “Tinto Brass” shows what happens when four brilliant musicians get together and just play. What this has to do with a Italian erotica director, however, I still don’t know.
Nine years after "Radioactive Toy", doomsday has finally happened. And if "A Smart Kid" is any indication, the freedom to destroy probably wasn't such a good idea in the first place.
The second single off of Stupid Dream, "Stranger by the Minute" is one of the album's most endearing songs, a tongue-in-cheek mash of psychedelic lyrics and radio-friendly rock. It's also unusually chipper for these usually melancholy proggers.
Stupid Dream's eighth track, "Baby Dream in Cellophane", is a unique little experiment in that it merges Porcupine Tree's early psychedelic sonic with Steven Wilson's love of Beach Boys-styled vocal harmonies.
"This Is No Rehearsal", one of Stupid Dream's most radio-friendly moments, is a concise demonstration of the heavy/soft balance Porcupine Tree has come to master, as well as a retelling of a horrific tale.
The British art-rock duo No-Man, consisting of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson, has long toiled in semi-obscurity. But thanks to the success of Wilson's other band, Porcupine Tree, No-Man is finally beginning to receive its proper due on the eve of its new release, Love and Endings.
Concluding the Unrequited Love Trilogy in a state of despair and hopelessness, "Don't Hate Me", the best song on Stupid Dream, is most memorable for the instrumental interplay that comprises the latter half of the track, featuring some of Porcupine Tree's best musicianship.
With this second song in the Unrequited Love Trilogy, the realization of rejection has now fully hit our narrator. Listen as what hints of optimism were present in the track before this one bleed away into a dark, obsessive determination.
This installment of Between the Grooves looks at the beginning of Stupid Dream's "Unrequited Love Trilogy", the whimsical "Pure Narcotic". The unnamed narrator's first glimpse of unreturned love is the calm before the storm that inevitably follows.
"Piano Lessons" is a masterful satire of pop music, taking on a music industry obsessed with catchy, four-minute singles with the power of a catchy, four-minute single. It encapsulates an argument by the band that has since spanned over a decade, simultaneously demonstrating Porcupine Tree's original take on pop music while also remaining entirely progressive.
PopMatters' newest Between the Grooves series explores the often overlooked 1999 masterpiece by progressive rock legends Porcupine Tree. The album's opening track, "Even Less", still stands as one of the band's finest epics, and signifies a shift away from the eccentric psychedelia and moody Krautrock of its early work.
The song, while the product of an artist with a unique vision, has the capability to become something else once it is put out for everyone to hear. Once a song is out in the open, it could very well undergo a transformation unlike the original artist ever anticipated.