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Bridging the distance between progressive and punk

Monday, March 10: Motivational Jumpsuit is the latest release by the Dayton, Ohio band Guided By Voices. The group has been releasing albums since the early 1980s and Motivational Jumpsuit is the first of at least two proposed Guided By Voices records for 2014. Led by former elementary school teacher Robert Pollard, the group blends elements of classic ‘60s pop with noisy punk sounds and touches of progressive rock across 20 songs on this new album, most of which clock in under the three minute mark. We’ll hear from that release as well as from featured artist Beck’s classic album Mellow Gold.

Tuesday, March 11: Though one of the most prominent figures in American music during the 1960s, Bob Dylan’s musical output between 1980 and 1990 remains a dividing line for many fans and critics. A new compilation called Bob Dylan in the 80s: Volume One reexamines that era with contemporary acts such as Built To Spill, Deer Tick, and Blitzen Trapper covering a wide range of '80s Dylan tunes. We’ll hear from that recording as well as selections from English Oceans, the latest from Drive-By Truckers. It’s the band’s 12th full-length album and the first to feature an almost even split in writing credits between band co-founders Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood. Long regarded the “secret weapon” of the band, Cooley has delivered several songs on this recording, heralded as the Georgia group’s best in years, that are destined to become Drive-By Truckers classics. It also features one of Hood’s best compositions to date, “Grand Canyon,” a song that’s already been called the best of 2014.

Wednesday, March 12: In 1970, songwriter Linda Perhacs released the album Parallelograms, an album that remained virtually unheard until 2003 when it was reissued by the tiny Wild Places label to rave reviews. Perhacs had spent more than 30 years working as a dental technician and only now breaks her silence with her second album, The Soul of All Natural Things. The record revisits some of the ‘60s psychedelic folk of her debut but updates that sound with more contemporary influences. We’ll hear from that release on this episode of Strange Currency, as well as from the new self-titled release by British band Eagulls.

Thursday, March 13: Luther Dickinson has made a career playing soul and blues-influenced rock with the North Mississippi Allstars and the Black Crowes. But Dickinson has long been enamored of punk rock bands such as Black Flag. His latest release, Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues, blends elements of his punk rock roots with the Americana-tinted music that’s marked his recent solo forays. We’ll hear from that release as well as from singer-songwriter PT Walkley. Walkley has issued numerous recordings under his own name and composed for television shows such as "Sesame Street" and the upcoming TNT series "Public Morals".

Friday, March 14: This Bluebird Wants Me Dead is the third release from the Kansas-based band Vehicles. The record explores a number of emotionally-charged themes, including addiction with a sound that recalls bands such as Radiohead, U2, Pink Floyd and others. We’ll hear from that as well as Easy Gone, the new album by Americana artist Ray Bonneville. Bonneville has drawn comparisons to greats such as Daniel Lanois and JJ Cale.

Saturday, March 15: In late 1970, the British progressive rock band Yes was in danger of losing its recording contract. The band had had two modestly successful albums but had not yet reached its full potential. The group recruited a new guitarist, Steve Howe, and retreated to rural England to write what would become the group’s breakthrough, The Yes Album. The record began a string of highly successful albums that lasted until near the end of the decade. The Yes Album is memorable for classics such as “Yours Is No Disgrace” and “Starship Trooper” which are quintessential progressive rock numbers, but also Howe’s jazz and folk-inflected solo guitar piece “Clap.” We’ll hear from that as well as Pink Floyd’s 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon, a commercial breakthrough for the band and one the bestselling albums of all time.

Monday, March 17: We’ll hear selections from the 1965 album Jackson C. Frank by American blues and folk musician Jackson Frank. The album, produced by Paul Simon, has just been reissued and stands as the only significant recording that the late musician did during his lifetime. Despite his status as a fairly obscure artist, his songs have been recorded by Sandy Denny, Nick Drake, Counting Crows, and Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes. Plus, selections from The Take Off and Landing of Everything by British progressive rock band Elbow.