You’ll begin by gathering some friends to meet in a dingy classroom and start practice on a drum set with busted heads and an amp with crunchy outputs.
You’ll be bad at first. Or maybe not terrible, but awkward and too loud. But it will be fun to make noise and write songs that aren’t so serious, and maybe a few that are. You’ll laugh harder than you have in years. You’ll leave practice looking forward to the next one.
Progressive rock is certainly its own multi-tentacled beast. Its key characteristics align with virtuosic musicianship and a sort of refined taste which, as with caviar or any stereotype, can lend itself to negative connotations.
But the debut release from Colorado’s Jellyfish Farm could not be further from any preconceived notion of “stuffy” progressive rock. Rather, it’s a delightful and abstract breath of fresh air for not only the state’s local music scene, but modern prog as a whole.
Following in the Soft-Croon tradition of fellow Colorado folkers Covenhoven and Gregory Alan Isakov, Fort Collins’ Farmer paints with a palette of little more than acoustic guitar and vocal. But a flutter of woodwind textures, flecks of orchestral harp and thoughtful string arrangements elevate the album’s eight songs to a 10.
Fans of Bon Iver will love A Mold For The Bell, but expect a few unique brush strokes in this impressionist piece, namely, the pointed, trembling timbre of Farmer’s vocal: It’s hushed and rife with vibrato yet convinced with a determined grit.
Langhorne Slim’s “Strawberry Mansion” was the result of a burst of creativity that emerged from the pandemic and after winning a battle with clinical anxiety and prescription drug abuse. He’s still happy to talk about that time and his never-ending struggles, and he remains honored to share his experience with mental health organizations. But sometimes he has to remind people that those are things he’s dealt with his whole life. They do not necessarily define him.
“I’m also having fun too,” Slim said with a laugh in a phone interview with BandWagon. “It’s not beating me every day. For the first time ever, I was finding some semblance of stillness. I wasn’t running from myself because I wasn’t able to.”