Saturday, September 17, 2022

Top 20 Songs by Porcupine Tree

 It's often said that Porcupine Tree is the greatest unknown band, and there really is some truth to that. They are no one-hit wonder. They're a band with numerous five-star and four-star quality songs that, for some unknown reason, simply flies below the radar for the majority of rock lovers. It doesn't help that they essentially vanished for more than a decade before returning with their latest album "Closure/Continuation". 

Anyhow, I feel very fortunate to finally get a chance to see them live in concert in early November in Amsterdam. In honor of this event, I decided it was time to give my personal top 20 songs by the band.

1. Black Dahlia, from The Incident, 2009

To be honest, this song and the next are basically a tie for me. They both have similar quiet, atmospheric beauty and touch the same heart strings. Some people may find them morose, but I love them.

2. Flicker, from The Incident, 2009

You're going to see a lot of songs from this album, because every single song on The Incident is great. My favorite album by far of theirs.

3. The Incident, from The Incident, 2009

An amazing song that really can be broken down into a string of distinct songs that mesh together. The overall song is more than 55 minutes long and is well worth hearing in its entirety, though my favorite sub-tracks are Drawing the Line and The Incident.

4. Anesthetize, from Fear of a Blank Planet, 2007

Another long song, at nearly 18 minutes, but lush and filled with cool changes, including a crunchy rocking section.

5. Drown With Me, from Futile, 2003

A punchy pop/rock song with some cool choruses. The live version from We Lost the Skyline is also amazing.

6. Remember Me Lover, from The Incident, 2009

A companion piece to Black Dahlia--they really go well together played back to back.

7. Bonnie the Cat, from The Incident, 2009

An uber-cool, slightly twisted song that my eldest son turned me on to. It took a bit to grow on me.

8. Futile, from In Absentia, 2002

Blending heavier rock with lovely vocals.

9. Lazarus, from We Lost the Skyline, 2008

I'm not a big fan of the recorded version, but this live version is beautiful.

10. Even Less, from Stupid Dream, 1999

A lot of these cool songs from the middle rankings could easily swap places with each other depending on my mood.

11. So Called Friend, from Deadwing, 2005

A rocker that slows for a gorgeous chorus.

12. Fear of a Blank Planet, from Fear of a Blank Planet, 2007

13. Fadeaway, from Up the Downstair, 1993

To be honest, I can't tell which version I enjoy more, the recorded version or the live version from 2005's XM II album. The latter version is sung by guitarist John Wesley, while the original is sung by band leader Steven Wilson.

14. Trains, from In Absentia, 2002

15. Lightbulb Sun, from Lightbulb Sun, 2000

16. Waiting, from Insignificance, 1997

17. Where We Would Be, from Lightbulb Sun, 2000

18. Wake As Gun I, from Insignificance, 1997

19. Shallow, from Deadwing, 2005

20. Nine Cats, from Insignificance, 1997

Like I said, a lot of these songs lower in the list are not essentially any less worthy than ones I've ranked above them, so here are some honorable mentions that easily belong alongside some of the ones mentioned above: Hatesong, Gravity Eyelids, Arriving Somewhere But Not Here, Mellotron Scratch, Shesmovedon, Stars Die, My Ashes, Blackest Eyes, Nil Recurring. Of course, Porcupine Tree are so good that these are just my five- and four-star songs--they have tons of good songs that I personally only rank as three-stars due to not wishing to listen to them quite as often. Some of the songs from the new album are worthy of being on this list, but I simply haven't listened to them enough times to tell where they belong.

If you are one of the legions of people who have unfortunately not heard of Porcupine Tree, do yourself a favor and give them a good listen. If you only wish to try one album, then try The Incident in its entirety.

Friday, September 16, 2022

iTunes Legal Info

 I find this silly, especially as it means having to provide information I'd usually prefer not to put out in public, but according to iTunes, European law is requiring authors to provide the below information if we wish our novels to be available for sale within the EU. So, here it is:

legal address   Unit 5380 Box 1053, DPO, AE 09710 USA

email address  knight _ tour @ hotmail . com

telephone number  +352 691400077

Friday, September 9, 2022

The Shattered Spire — Villem

I began discussing the different POV characters of my new novel (coming out October 20) in my last post

The second character I'd like to introduce is Sir Villem Tathis. He is a 15-year-old from the small city of Iskimir in the western part of the Known Lands. He grew up believing he was the heir to Iskimir, but after his rite of passage to manhood at the age of 15, he learned that he was actually a bastard and his younger brother was in fact the actual heir to the lordship. This knowledge, along with learning that the woman he had always thought was his rather cold mother was not actually his mother (and now he understands why she acts so coldly toward him), came as a huge shock to Villem. Naturally, he was quite bitter at the overturning of everything he believed about his life.

The Known Lands are dominated by the huge magical spire of the novel's title. The magic causes surges of strength to those with good hearts, and causes weakness and fear in those with bad. Not that Villem truly had a bad heart, but the means by which the magic detects what is in a person's heart is not a perfect system. It sees that Villem is filled with bitterness, anger, resentment, jealousy, etc., and thus it adversely affects him. Like all others who are affected thusly, Villem sets out to depart the Known Lands to escape the horrible feelings that overwhelm him.

At the start of the story, he has escaped the sphere of influence of the spire and is approaching the great fortress of East Gate, where he hopes his status as a knight will allow him a place of honor within the exile army there.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Shattered Spire — Imric

 With my new book, The Shattered Spire, coming out October 20, I thought I'd provide a bit of detail about each of the POV characters from the novel. I'll start with the youngest member of the royal Kaldarion family, Imric.

Imric Kaldarion is thirteen when the story begins. His mother died giving birth to him, which led his father, the king, to disavow the baby. So Imric has been raised by his sister Livia. With his father refusing him any sort of training to prepare him as a potential heir or any skills in knightly combat, Imric mainly skulks about the castle, discovering a maze of secret passageways. The only experience he gets with his father is by spying upon him in his throne room from a secret nook. Other than his beloved sister, his only real companion is his best friend, Soot, a servant from the kitchens.

With such an unusual childhood, it's hard to believe that he would one day rise to become one of the greatest and most beloved kings of the Known Lands. In later history books, he is known as Imric the Lame, due to the terrible wound he received to his left foot during the Times of Tragedy.