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PHISH

Prog Related • United States


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Phish biography
: : : Mix of Improvisations, Jazz, Rock, Blues, Folk and Progressive : : :


PHISH, a US band, was formed in 1983 at the University of Vermont by guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio, rhythm guitarist Jeff Holdsworth, and drummer Jonathan Fishman, later joined by bassist Mike Gordon. Jeff soon left the band (he found religion) and Page McConnell joined on keyboards, finalizing the lineup.

PHISH began playing at local clubs in Burlington, and their live shows gained a reputation for extended improvisational jams. Their musical ethos is a playful mix of skilled improvisation, psychedelic rock, folk, bluegrass, funk, a capella/barbershop quartet, and intricate compositions. Some of their original compositions (such as "Theme from the Bottom" and "Farmhouse") tend towards a psychedelic-rock and bluegrass fusion, with more rock and funk elements than the GRATEFUL DEAD and other earlier so-called jam bands. Their more epic compositions (such as "The Divided Sky" and "You Enjoy Myself") are often said to resemble classical music in a rock setting.

They recorded their debut album, "Junta" in 1988, and began touring nationally soon after, playing 150 concerts in 1990 alone.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phish

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Buy PHISH Music


Phish Live in BrooklynPhish Live in Brooklyn
Rhino 2006
Audio CD$3.99
$4.52 (used)
FuegoFuego
JEMP 2014
Audio CD$7.96
$4.50 (used)
New Year's Eve 1995 Live at Madison Square GardenNew Year's Eve 1995 Live at Madison Square Garden
Jemp Records 2015
Vinyl$149.98
Phish: VenturaPhish: Ventura
Box set
JEMP Records 2013
Audio CD$27.16
$21.96 (used)
A Picture of NectarA Picture of Nectar
Elektra / Wea 1992
Audio CD$19.95
$2.20 (used)
RiftRift
Elektra / Wea 1993
Audio CD$19.28
$0.02 (used)
JuntaJunta
Elektra 1992
Audio CD$19.99
$1.00 (used)
Live at Madison Square Garden New Years Eve 1995Live at Madison Square Garden New Years Eve 1995
Rhino 2005
Audio CD$70.49
$41.52 (used)
Phish New Year's Eve 1995 Live At Madison Square Garden Record Store Day 2015 Rare BoxsetPhish New Year's Eve 1995 Live At Madison Square Garden Record Store Day 2015 Rare Boxset
Jemp Records
Vinyl$171.99
Phish: Chicago '94Phish: Chicago '94
Box set
JEMP Records 2012
Audio CD$26.60
$26.59 (used)
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PHISH shows & tickets


  • Phish at Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend on 21 Jul 2015
  • Phish at Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend on 22 Jul 2015
  • Phish at The Forum, Inglewood on 25 Jul 2015
  • Phish at Austin360 Amphitheater, Austin on 28 Jul 2015
  • Phish at Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie on 29 Jul 2015
  • Phish at Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta on 31 Jul 2015
  • Phish at Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta on 1 Aug 2015
  • Phish at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, Tuscaloosa on 2 Aug 2015
  • Phish at Starlight Theatre, Kansas City MO on 5 Aug 2015
  • Phish at Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls on 7 Aug 2015
  • Phish at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI on 8 Aug 2015
  • Phish at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI on 9 Aug 2015
  • Phish at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia on 11 Aug 2015
  • Phish at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia on 12 Aug 2015
  • Phish on 15 Aug 2015
  • Phish on 16 Aug 2015
  • Magnaball on 21 Aug 2015
  • Phish at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City on 4 Sep 2015
  • Phish at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City on 5 Sep 2015
  • Phish at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City on 6 Sep 2015

PHISH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PHISH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.01 | 70 ratings
Junta
1989
3.94 | 43 ratings
Lawn Boy
1990
3.71 | 47 ratings
Picture of Nectar
1992
4.04 | 48 ratings
Rift
1993
2.85 | 7 ratings
Crimes Of The Mind (with The Dude Of Life)
1994
3.05 | 27 ratings
Hoist
1994
3.30 | 36 ratings
Billy Breathes
1996
3.32 | 32 ratings
The Story of the Ghost
1998
3.00 | 8 ratings
Phish [i.e. The White Tape]
1998
3.12 | 27 ratings
Farmhouse
2000
2.89 | 9 ratings
The Siket Disc
2000
3.31 | 22 ratings
Round Room
2002
2.94 | 21 ratings
Undermind
2004
3.24 | 19 ratings
Joy
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Party Time
2009
3.22 | 14 ratings
Fuego
2014

PHISH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 25 ratings
A Live One
1995
3.69 | 24 ratings
Slip, Stitch and Pass
1997
3.44 | 9 ratings
Hampton Comes Alive
1999
3.93 | 5 ratings
Live Phish 01
2001
4.44 | 7 ratings
Live Phish 02
2001
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live Phish 03
2001
4.60 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 04
2001
3.07 | 5 ratings
Live Phish 05
2001
4.00 | 3 ratings
Live Phish 06
2001
3.67 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 07
2002
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live Phish 08
2002
3.94 | 7 ratings
Live Phish 09
2002
4.39 | 5 ratings
Live Phish 10
2002
4.87 | 12 ratings
Live Phish 11
2002
4.79 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 12
2002
4.00 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 13
2002
3.26 | 8 ratings
Live Phish 14
2002
3.40 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 15
2002
3.57 | 7 ratings
Live Phish 16
2002
3.15 | 4 ratings
Live Phish 17
2003
4.53 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 18
2003
3.57 | 5 ratings
Live Phish 19
2003
4.79 | 5 ratings
Live Phish 20
2003
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live Phish 2-28-03
2003
3.15 | 4 ratings
Live Phish 7-15-03
2003
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live Phish 7-29-03
2003
4.76 | 13 ratings
Live In Madison Square Garden-New Year's Eve 1995
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
04.02.98 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
04.03.98 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
04.04.98
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
04.05.98 Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Phish 12.29.97 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Colorado '88
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Brooklyn
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
11.14.95 University Of Central Florida Arena, Orlando, FL
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
10.21.95 Pershing Auditorium, Lincoln, NE
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Headphones Jam
2007
5.00 | 2 ratings
8-13-93 Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN
2007
5.00 | 1 ratings
12/1/95 Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, PA
2007
4.80 | 6 ratings
Vegas 96
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
At The Roxy - Atlanta '93
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
07.06.98 Lucerna Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
12.07.97 Ervin J. Nutter Center, Dayton, OH
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hampton/Winston - Salem '97
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Chicago '94
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ventura
2013

PHISH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Tracking
1994
5.00 | 3 ratings
Bittersweet Motel
2000
3.46 | 4 ratings
Phish Live in Vegas
2002
4.67 | 6 ratings
It
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
In Concert: Possum
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Phish: Walnut Creek
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Clifford Ball
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Phish 3D
2010

PHISH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Stash
1996

PHISH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
LivePhish.com 2003 Sampler
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
What I Did On My Summer Vacation
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greetings From Coney Island In Brooklyn New York
2006

PHISH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Joy by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.24 | 19 ratings

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Joy
Phish Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars Over the years, Phish has had a knack for writing their own music. I don't mean in the way of coming up with their own compositions of course. What I mean is, they tend to play whatever they feel like regardless of boundaries or social musical norms. Phish revels in the times where they have a chance to produce more music simply for the enjoyment of both their peers and fans. 2009 was not an exception, where Anastasio and company jumped on the chance the rekindle the light that meant so much to them, as well as to many music listeners in the public. What came from this excitement was a bundle of creative happiness aptly titled "Joy".

Phish wasn't doing too great during the 2000's, especially in the crowd that enjoy them most for their experimental jazzy qualities as well as their ode-like style reminiscent of Grateful Dead. Phish moved more away from this and closer to a pop-rock, alternative rock style that became explosively prominent during the late 90's and of course the 00's. Starting out the year with Farmhouse, whose title track is the most listened song of their discography to date, the disappointingly bland Round Room in 2002, and Undermind in 2004. Undermind seemed to be the temporary breaking point for these jazz giants, as they quickly descended into a hiatus that lasted a whole five years. As I said before, this created an environment where the entire band was ready to participate wholeheartedly. This also made for a very light-hearted album with more odes to earlier jazz bands, as well as a largely inspired tracklist that has some highlights that are much more melodic for Phish.

Joy starts out with perhaps the happiest song, titled 'Backwards Down The Number Line'. This song I've found to pick me up even when I'm in a bad mood. This is sort of expected, seeing as the song follows the happy highlights and feelings from Anastasio's life. At moments, you can almost notice him smiling during the song. That's something that is hard to do, even for a band like Phish. The track immediately after, 'Stealing From the Faulty Plan', is completely the opposite. A very 70's-esque beat and vocals, with some awesome drumming by Fishman. High pitched guitars lead the way, the way Pink Floyd sort of incorporated it in their more arts-y albums, especially '72 and afterwards. The backstory of the song is also the opposite of it's predecessor, this time following the story of Trey Anastasio's sister's death from cancer. Even with this morbid base the song still seems to throw up very jaunty moods and one of the greatest guitar solos ever to rock the band. The title track is a very...well, earnest. What I mean is, the song is the musical incarnate of good memories, ones that you'd remember from your childhood. In fact, the word "happy" is used numerous times throughout.

After 'Joy', the albums descends more into the jazzy Phish of the 80's and 90's. 'Sugar Shack' combines funk elements with bouncy dual vocals making for a very sing-a-long type track. 'Ocelot' is a clear ode to Grateful Dead, with more barreling piano and country feelings. I don't exactly love it, but it's obvious that the band (especially Anastasio) loves Grateful Dead and decided to make a song dedicated to their main influence. 'Kill Devil Falls', by no means a bad track, is perhaps my least favorite. It has a very boring mood that ceases to interest me very well. Again, not awful but definitely the one song that I'd pass. 'Light' has some interesting and unexpected Who-ish elements, especially with the gravely guitar and fluid drumming. 'I Been Around' is basically a little quick, funny song made solely by Page McConnell. I love the song just for it's comedic, almost skit styling, as well as of course Page's piano skills. The microphone effects makes it seem like he's almost right in front of you. 'Time Turns Elastic' is another one of my favorites. This thirteen minute long epic encompasses so much that I love about Phish, that it's hard to explain them all. I suggest that you listen to it for yourself to get really in touch with it, because this song is not only very progressive, but simply good. 'Twenty Years After' is the closer, and very much like 'Kill Devil Falls', is pretty boring. Although more compositionally complex, the songs retains mostly the same features that made me not like the former. Some interesting parts I've found to intrigue me, which at the very least kept me pretty enthralled to listen to it all the way through and come back to it occasionally.

This album is something that I never expected liking so much, but I've found that giving it a chance and a thorough listen, that it is definitely a great album by any standards. Therefore, I give this album a rating of 4.5/5, and suggest that you go listen to it. Maybe it will fill you with as much joy as it did for me.

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 Farmhouse by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.12 | 27 ratings

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Farmhouse
Phish Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Being a big Phish phan, I tend to be a little more lenient towards reviewing their albums. But I agree with most reviewers here that they are not a major progressive band, but they do have elements in a lot of their music and a few of their earlier albums are on the verge of being progressive. Farmhouse is not very progressive, but does lean more towards a rock/country fusion. There is one track on here that I think has some great progressive qualities, but other than that, it is, for the most part, an enjoyable listen. It is not one of their best albums overall, but it still has some excellent tracks nonetheless.

Most of the best tracks are on the first half of the album. They would be "Farmhouse", "Bug", "Back on the Train", "Heavy Things", and "Gotta Jibboo". After that, the songs aren't quite so interesting and tend to lack much direction and substance until you get to what I think is the best track on the album which is "First Tube". I think the problem here is that the length of the songs are too short and are not given the time to be developed very well. Most of these songs do great in a concert setting because Phish does not worry about time constraints as anyone who has attended their concerts can attest. For example, the track "Piper" is so bad, it just sounds like a lazy attempt to try to fill up the album with a lackluster performance that is supposed to represent a live performance. It's painful for a fan of the band to admit this, but the band was about to enter their least interesting period, but at least this particular album still has enough good music on it to be considered a good album.

The best track as I mentioned earlier, is the progressive instrumental "First Tube". This one is just over 6 minutes and it starts out as if it can't even wait to show itself off. Before the previous track even has a chance to fade out completely, a fast, driving drum beat starts out beating a standard 4/4 time and is joined by other instruments to establish a base for the guitar that will carry the melody. The main melody is not in the standard time, and I have sat transfixed listening to this song trying to count out the meter, but having a very difficult time of it. I think it is something like 15/4 + 17/4 or something crazy like that or it may be some strange conglomeration of triplets. Whatever it is, it works very well even as odd as it sounds. The melody is quite catchy and is repeated in a sort of verse pattern. It makes me wish the rest of the album was as good as this and it brings back the glory days when Phish's studio albums were much better. (Their concerts have always been excellent by the way.)

I think the big issue here was that Phish was trying to reach a wider audience on their studio albums and made the mistake of trying to find a sound that would be more accessible. It was a shame that they had to fall to the corporate pressure, but it has happened to some of the best bands. Like I said, this is still a good album, but even with the good tracks, this still can't reach above 3 stars.

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 Junta by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.01 | 70 ratings

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Junta
Phish Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars Whether or not you think that Phish's Junta is a progressive rock album, you cannot deny that it is not an amazing piece of conceptual material. Spanning across the Phish discography there have always been bumps on the road saying whether or not Phish is really 'prog'. Many people restrict them to simply having progressive moments in their music; especially when it comes to tracks on Junta and Rift. Not only is Junta prog, but it also was the turning point of the 90's. And thus the 90's spawned the Phish uprising.

Trey Anastasio and the folks tend to stick around the same line of ten minute or longer pieces to add desired effect when it needs to be done. Being a jam band, they obviously are able to pull these off very well, leaving the shorter tracks in the dust albeit several spaces behind. One track that comes to mind is my personal favorite, 'The Divided Sky'. Originally written for Phish's 1983 The White Tape demo, I have stated before that I wished they could extended this song because of it's large amount of potential. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why this album was enjoyable to me, just because of this one song. But alas, a review does not simply skate over one song and be done. No, there are several other spectacular songs to mention on here, including 'David Bowie' (named after the 60/70's experimental rock singer/songwriter), which is a ten minute long little piece with some interesting sound effects thrown into an overall progressive rock environment to add a unique twist on the entire thing. 'Fluffhead' is a jazzier, and I suppose a less progressive shorter track that follows up Bowie. Using more non- nonsensical a Capella lyrics, the band conveys what they abundantly did in their future works. Some backround guitar slides can get slightly annoying but they are, in the end, easy to ignore.

The rest of the album is not as progressive as these few tracks, but if you are a fan of the jazzier Phish (which I happen to be just as much as the proggy side of them), then I highly suggest this entire release to you. As many people would suggest and have outright said, this release is necessary for any easygoing prog fan.

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 Phish [i.e. The White Tape] by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.00 | 8 ratings

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Phish [i.e. The White Tape]
Phish Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

3 stars Raw Phish vs. Cooked Phish

Phish's White Tape is the first recording effort they did way back in 1984, and marked for a great series of albums by the band. Of course it did, but is it worth it to buy? Well...yes, I would say so. This was of course back when they still hadn't replaced Grateful Dead as the new hip jam-band of the eighties. Instead, they were a bunch of young men who decided to have some fun and make a neat little record. Thus, they weren't as much devling into the experimental side of rock as much as they would later on albums like A Picture of Nectar and Rift. But aye, do not fret yea phellow Phish-head, these younger versions of the amazing musicians you know today are still there, but maybe not as chiseled musically.

Seeing as this was a very low-budget project for Phish at the time, the production is nothing short of mediocre. I mean, a college-studio recorded cassette shouldn't be expected to have the quality of a top notch platinum release. The entire album retains a gritty, non-filtered quality which, as a whole, gives the band a rawer intensity that you see rarely on their later albums, where they prefer to lay back and just jam to whatever the feel like.

It's really interesting to listen to these jams that I know so well from listening to live Phish material on this album in it's original form. A song that really comes to mind is 'AC/DC Bag', a song that lead singer and guitarist Trey Anastasio wrote back in college. To quote from Phish.net: "The lyrics to this groove-rock tune speak of a certain Mr. Palmer, who is most decidedly "concerned with the thousand- dollar question." He is about to be hanged by the AC/DC Bag (the name of Wilson's plug-in, robotized, bag-headed executioner) under orders from Wilson himself." One of the most recognized song perhaps from the album, and is most likely the most played song from it on Phish's live track list repertoire. Usually extended three-times over length wise, Phish does really make the most of 'Bag' when they do play it. It's quite the spectacular jazz-influenced track that holds much water in my mind. 'Divided Sky' is another one of my favorites, yet it's painfully short and I wish that it could have been extended to a minimum of three minutes. The rest of the album is good, but I would say that the other tracks are pretty forgettable.

So, if you are interested in Phish's history or comeuppance, I suggest that you give this a try. Although, I would not go so far as to say it is an excellent addition to a prog-minded fellow.

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 Fuego by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.22 | 14 ratings

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Fuego
Phish Prog Related

Review by Pastmaster

4 stars Phish-Fuego

'Fuego' is the twelfth studio album by progressive/jam rock band Phish. I was introduced to Phish fairly recently, a friend played their album 'A Picture of Nectar' for me and I really enjoyed it. That was the first album I heard, but 'Fuego' is the first Phish album I got for myself. After listening, I can safely say that Phish has not lost their touch after all these years.

In typical Phish fashion, this album has many different elements to the music. Anything ranging from jazz, hard rock, jam rock, and blues, creating a great progressive rock album. The opening title track is one of my favorites, beginning with some great piano and unique drumming. There is some hard rock guitar before great A capella. This song never really stays the same, changing from melodic rock parts to experimental drum/keyboard jams. Three minutes through there is an awesome guitar solo, playing over some great drumming by Jon Fishman. This song is definitely the main highlight of the album. '555' is another one of my favorites, having a great combination of blues rock and jazz. It has an awesome bassline and a really catchy chorus. 'Sing Monica' and 'The Line' are two other really good tracks, both being catchy. 'Wombat' is silly, yet pretty catchy. None of the other songs, while good, stand out to me as much.

Overall, I wouldn't call it as good as 'A Picture of Nectar'. It's still a great album, especially taking in to account the fact that these guys have been playing for many years now. If you want some good experimental rock, this would not be a bad choice at all.

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 Fuego by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.22 | 14 ratings

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Fuego
Phish Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars That'll do, Phish, that'll do.

The band's 2014 release of Fuego promised many fans a comeback for those in want and need of a new record. For me, at least, on listening, they delivered. Although the band seems to be tightrope walking on their guitar strings and seem to be trying harder to do a bang up job, they do accomplish just that. In fact, it somehow seems that they are trying to revive the progressive flare that the band had back in the early 90's.

The one track that I absolutely adore is the opening title track. It is extremely memorable, and the band has quite a lot of energy going towards it. From the jazz-rock highlighted opening to the downright prog rocking middle and end, this song signifies Phish's reincarnation. But alas, this song is the most memorable, because the rest of the songs follow the same path of the time-weathered sound the band had and has still. Another great thing about the album is that, for the most part, the alternative-style that they had taken on with their early-late 2000's that I never really enjoyed.

So, all in all, this album was not a flop, whatsoever. For an example of something that wasn't as satisfactory is the band Boston's release of Life Love and Hope in the year prior. Now this was an album that the band sort of shriveled up and died, mostly due to their overwhelming irrelevancy in the market. However, even though Phish may be even less known today, they're still able to make a great album to please their fans no matter what. For my rating, I'd give it somewhere between 3.5/5 and a straight out 4. But, for the sake of Phish, I've rounded it to give them the benefit. Here's to them.

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 Rift by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.04 | 48 ratings

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Rift
Phish Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars If you thought that Phish's first three releases were progressive, then this album is the creative peak of the band's specific progressive style. Not to say that this is any better than the album prior to this, A Picture of Nectar, which happens to be my favorite album by the band, but this is definitely more along the lines of what the usual prog-lover would enjoy. This album is more akin to something like an early 80's/late 70's band as opposed to a 90's jazz rock band. Taking that into account, let's dive into the review.

The title track starts well enough, with a very cliche-style Phish sound of racing cowbell and lighthearted a Capella. I started to quickly notice that it had a much more dark and feel, almost like Rift was trying to contain a story within it. It was such a surprise, it hooked me to the rest of the album. 'Maze' is the song every talks about, with it's 'Llama' style quick pounding rhythm with melodic quiverings in the background. 'My Friend, My Friend' and 'Weigh' are two songs that are great jazzy blues numbers, and are A+ style songs for the Phish peruser. 'All Things Reconsidered' is a spin on the National Public Radio's iconic theme-song for their show titled "All Things Considered". It's an actually quite strange mix if you think about it, but nothing really surprising seeing as we're talking about Phish. 'Mound' has probably the best a Capella the members have performed in all of their time. It speaks the story of a "broken old man in a world unkind", and is really actually quite heart-touching. Quite fantastic if I do say so myself. That's all for true highlights that got me really hard, but trust me, the entire album is fantastic.

If you're looking for a highlight of the 90's, look towards the first four album of Phish's studio discography. This album has joined the ranks of the majestic three respectively. Go give it a listen.

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 Farmhouse by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.12 | 27 ratings

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Farmhouse
Phish Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

3 stars Farmhouse, as many people enjoy in assuming, is the proclaimed "beginning of the end" for Phish. It was the massive turn of the century, and this album landed smack dab on the turning year of 2000. The problem was, Phish was becoming less and less recognized as years went by. So this meant that their country-infused melodic Farmhouse wasn't all good as Phish tried to make it. In a sentence, Phish was running out of steam from their 1990 heyday, and their attempt at a justly excellent release for the new century went slightly spoiled.

In an artful sense, Phish's Farmhouse is indeed unique. It features a lot of interesting compositions, as well as some new dabblings that the band hadn't tried prior. Most of their earlier content, however, had large amounts of progressiveness that was very clearly shown and people could recognize it easily. This album lacks on that front, for although the new tone the band was trying to develop to still be relevant, it isn't in most cases a progressive-rock release. Soft rock combined with lounge-jazz isn't really the best concoction for the progressive man, and this album is full of it.

The band was also trying to delve into the area of meaningful lyrics that actually had a story behind them. Usually, I would highly enjoy something like that, but in this case it seems odd and disjointed mostly because Phish is doing it. Two choice songs that follow this path are the title track, a melodic track that centers around a cliche love-story, and 'Bug', which is obviously the world from the point of an insect that as the Phish website states: "is blissfully simple". And I do give them credit, it sounds like they're having phun (I am so sorry) with their coherently simple song. The other songs are not bad but are very lacking in the area of memorability.

This album is quite something, but that does not make it an essential to a proggian by any means. It holds on loosely to anyone expecting something wonderful, or even something like Phish's past releases. So, if you are interested in Phish, pick up this. I recommend it to that audience.

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 Picture of Nectar  by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.71 | 47 ratings

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Picture of Nectar
Phish Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars Phish's third effort was not far off the line of it's two predecessors, especially in the line of 'progressiveness'. Sure, Junta was a great debut album that was full of prog rock, but Lawn Boy and A Picture of Nectar didn't fall short from the line at all. I've actually had more of a history with this album than any other album by the band, even though that might not be saying much because I only have two of their releases (this and Farmhouse, a pretty mediocre album). That aside, let me tell you my experience with this album:

I was still new to my renewed prog rock discovery stage (I had already listened and known much before but had recently rediscovered it's perfect sound) at least three years ago, but even before that, I had Phish. Of course they weren't technically 'prog' because of their heavy mix of jazz fusion and dare I say it, alternative rock. There's almost a coffeehouse blend of Phish's music, with a very jam-oriented style of music, meaning that integrity is important and used, however it is justly used in small amounts. This leads to more creative paths that usually create unique toe-tapping art-worthy tracks, very much shown on this release. Anyway, Phish was very important to my re-introduction to prog rock and it was an incredible experience. It's one of those few albums that when I have it and listen to it in large amounts, I don't need any other releases from the artist. When a band does that, they've earned an A in my book.

The first large highlight is the odd, jazzy 'Cavern', with one of my favorite percussion-led openings of all time. The song always retains a certain quality and beat, and is able to maintain structural integrity even without large changes. The vocals are good, but what is really odd are the lyrics, which are the usual cute, lighthearted, and inane composition that Phish uses so much in their music. Definitely an enjoyable track. The most 'progressive' songs on the album are undoubtedly 'Stash' and 'Tweezer', both are epics who's times are used wisely for excellent bass and guitar lines, and the latter even got a reprise for a finisher at the end of the album which was equally as good. 'Glide' is a weird song, with keyboard slides and heavy amounts of cowbell. I've always found myself liking it, even though it's strange lyrics that center around the play on words of 'we're glide that you're alive' are highly eccentric. 'The Mango Song' is the most lighthearted of the songs, and what would you expect? It's about Mangoes for god's sake! It features some cool a Capella as well as more finger-snapping jazz. My final real highlight is 'Chalkdust Torture', a quick, blues-y number that is undoubtedly the heaviest on the album. It was my favorite for a long time, and for a good reason.

So in total, and excellent release from the 90's. Completely essential. Go get it now.

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 Junta by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.01 | 70 ratings

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Junta
Phish Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars PHISH is a band originating from the great state of Vermont, USA where a bunch of enthusiastic young musicians decided to get together and jam when they weren't studying at the University. The amazing thing about this band is that all four members ? Trey Anastasiio (guitars, lead vocals), Mike Gordon (bass, vocals), Jon Fishman (percussion, vocals) and Page McConnell (keyboards, vocals) played together for over 20 years before they took a break, so no lineup changes in a band for that duration indicates that these guys love to play together and their music definitely has that vibe on their debut album JUNTA (pronounced JUHN-tuh). This album originally came out in 1988 on cassette only and was independently released but it caught on fast in the underground college scene and was quickly officially released in 1989. Since then the album has become a classic and has gone platinum.

This is an eclectic album to say the least where everyone can find something to like and more often something to hate. The songs zigzag all over the musical map and it often seems like another band has taken over and inserted a song into the roster. The very first track "Fee" immediately made me think of the ska punk band Sublime, but wait, this song was recorded the very year that that band formed on the opposite coast, so who knows where this one came from. The musical trajectory then takes a bold and daring turn into the realms of progressive jam rock. In fact a majority of these tracks, especially the longer ones sound like they may be equally inspired by the jamming talents of the Grateful Dead, the zaniness and jazz-fusion of Frank Zappa and the dual guitar assault of a slightly warped version of the blues rock of Wishbone Ash or the Allman Brothers. There are times I feel a Steely Dan vibe in the mix as well. The lyrics verge on the ridiculous, the mundane or downright silly. The song "Contact" is a little dittie about how tires make contact with the road with a clear Jimmy Buffett style musically speaking.

Being the eclectic puPPy that I am I actually quite like this album. It tugs on many of my musical (in)sensibilities. It has the progressive prowess of the best instrumental wankers out there and a nary-a-care zaniness that would make Zappa himself a proud uncle. The Grateful Dead has never really been my psychedelic cup of tea but the way PHISH sew all this together is done with a nice sense of style and passion that oozes youthful energy in the college scene. Although this album has its ups and downs and glaring contradictions, I find myself enjoying it for most of the ride. The album was originally released without the tracks "Union Federal," "Sanity" and "Icculus." The newer versions contain them and I highly recommend these bonus tracks because "Union Federal" alone is a 25 minute sprawling prog jam that is one of the best tracks on the album. Over the years I have only heard a smattering of PHISH songs that have sparked my interest but this debut album has quite a few that meld all my craziness into one semi-cohesiveness. Recommended for eclectic heads who don't mind a plethora of disparate influences in the pot where any particular ingredient can boil over when least expected.

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