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ZIP TANG

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Zip Tang biography
Nowadays, the best expressions and attitudes of progressive rock are able to form eclectic mixtures, yet they mostly embrace independent striking values, being either classy, new-waved, drenched, alternative, powerful or sensible, underground or mainstreamed, artistically rooted or experimentally diluted. Up this kind of a scale, ZIP TANG, a four-piece band from Chicago, prefers to play something from the classic influences, the nice modern art and the bit of indispensable jam and "new music" - in a manner that, currently, gets optimistic praises, plus in a musical attractive emphaty that can score, further on, more and more important progressive qualities.

The band is made of four musicians, all with both old-school and new-manner rock qualities. Marcus Padgett is vocalist and keyboardist, but most impressively he plays the sax. He mainly perfected, over years, a music of New-Age, Rock and Jazz wind-ups. Rick Wolfe, bassist and vocalist, played instead in a lot of bands, finding a good edge in hard rock. Perry Merritt is the third vocalist in ZIP TANG, but he essentially plays the guitar, under a style of moods and grips. Fred Faller is "only" a drummer, yet his bigger passions (culminating in soft Avant-Garde or pure Fusion) do reflect the essential precision.

Thanks to a powerful debut, called "Luminiferous Ether", which was heavily worked, produced and refined in 2006 and finally released in 2007, their music seems to approach "the irreverence of Frank ZAPPA with the majesty of KING CRIMSON and the vocal harmonies of YES". The band members also like to believe in the influences of artists like Steely DAN, PORCUPINE TREE, Kevin GILBERT or PHISH. The character of some pieces tend to be of an independent style and flash - thus, one or two such compositions work on a space rock tendency (or deep fantasy), PINK FLOYD being commonly referenced, others on fusion sound - and so. Finally, there is a clear sense of classic prog rock, since the band covers curiously, but strongly, EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER's "Tarkus", as a bonus treat to the entire album.

The modern rock air of ZIP TANG is essentially fresh, interesting to hear and slippery as art. Their great jam reminds, occasionally, of pure rock and new art. The firm classic influences are nice and beloved, but also rapid, carving ZIP TANG as both original and alternative in progressive rock's deep stream.

:::Victor "Philip" Parau:::(Ricochet)



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Feed Our HeadsFeed Our Heads
Single
Zip Tang 2010
Audio CD$10.97
$80.14 (used)
PankPank
CD Baby 2008
Audio CD$6.00
$6.07 (used)
Luminiferous EtherLuminiferous Ether
CD Baby 2007
Audio CD$5.06
$0.10 (used)
Das RebootDas Reboot
CD Baby 2013
Audio CD$9.31
$8.31 (used)
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ZIP TANG shows & tickets


  • Progtoberfest on 25 Oct 2014

ZIP TANG discography


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

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

3.68 | 17 ratings
Luminiferous Ether
2007
4.06 | 16 ratings
Pank
2008
4.00 | 19 ratings
Feed Our Heads
2010
3.92 | 25 ratings
Das Reboot
2013

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

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

ZIP TANG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pank by ZIP TANG album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.06 | 16 ratings

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Pank
Zip Tang Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Pank is Zip Tang's second album, released in 2008. As with the debut, again we have a digipak with great artwork, and the same four guys kicking hard into music in a style that is definitely their own. Yes it is possible to bring in comparisons (this time possibly some elements of Mr So & So?), but this is a world of their own creation where jazz, prog rock, hard rock and art rock collide. "It's In My Head" has moments of incredible intensity that is offset by far quieter passages, so that the listener is drawn in ? not wanting to miss anything. I find it incredible that the band have yet to be signed to a fairly major label as there is no doubting their skills or abilities ? what they need is to somehow get their name in front of more people because I can guarantee that if you are a proghead in the truest sense of the word, not someone who wants rehashed neo-prog time and again or prog metal then you need to hear music that while very much of the current time also has its' feet truly set in the ideals of the golden age.

Rick Wolfe, Perry Merritt, Fred Faller and Marcus Padgett have a lot to answer for. The main case against them is that they have released some of the most inspiring and true progressive music that one is likely to come across. All that you have to do now is go out and discover it. Wonderful stuff. www.ziptang.net

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 Luminiferous Ether by ZIP TANG album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.68 | 17 ratings

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Luminiferous Ether
Zip Tang Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Before even listening to the debut album from Zip Tang, which was released in 2007, I was mighty impressed. The artwork on the digipak is superb, and when one realises that this is a self-released album then there is the realisation that someone has put a lot of effort into it. That feeling only intensifies when actually listening to what is on offer. The four man line-up have all been playing music in bands for quite some time, and have come together with a love of wanting to provide something new and that the definitely do here. There are times when they are blasting out in good hard rock fashion, but even that is tempered by keys or sax, or they are bringing in healthy elements of Zappa and taking that on a journey with Proto-Kaw. One thing I found fascinating is their closing song, a cover of "Tarkus" that is treated both reverentially and deconstructed into a Zip Tang number.

This is powerful stuff, music that is truly progressive as it refuses to be pigeonholed into any particular area and is always driving forward. The proghead can only listen to this with a smile on his face as it hits so many bases. It is not often that prog music really defies categorisation or comparison but with this release these guys have done it. Intense and complex, at times simple and spacious, this is progressive music that demands to be heard. www.ziptang.net

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 Luminiferous Ether by ZIP TANG album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.68 | 17 ratings

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Luminiferous Ether
Zip Tang Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Chicago-based US act Zip Tang was found in 2003, after Perry Merritt and Richard Wolfe met each other at a local jam session.With Fred Faller on drums and Marcus Padgett on sax/keyboards the original Zip Tang line-up was formed (initially named RPM), playing covers of Steely Dan, Yes, The Allmann Brothers and Santana among others.The debut of the band ''Luminiferous Ether'' was released independently in 2007.

You can't accuse this quartet of one thing: being unoriginal.From the first couple of tracks you will face a band with its own sound, that is a unique blend of Psych/Alternative Rock with typical American vocals but also with a strong jazzy feel in the instrumental sections with powerful saxes and guitars and also elements from Funk and Soul in their beats.''Doctor Plush'' is another different-sounding track.A mix of Psychedelic and Space Rock with a very AOR-like chorus and once more strong jazzy leanings.''Like We Did Before'' is almost full FLOYD-ian with some good guitar breaks and solos, while ''Beta'' has an evident Fusion atmosphere with good guitar/sax interplays and trully atmospheric synthesizers.Not every track in here is succesful, as ''With a twist'' and ''Searching for treasure'' tend more to typical US Alternative Rock than anything prog, but even this way the band finds some space for some decent bluesy solos, not to mention the odd presence of mellotron sounds.Zip Tang make also an ambitious attempt of covering E.L.P.'s classic track ''Tarkus'' in a very unique way and partly manage to make out a sound of their own.There is a strong jazzy approach by the band in a very contemporary way that hardly makes the listener even think that sometime this was a 1971 composition.With dominant use of saxes and guitar distortions and less keyboard presence, ''Tarkus'' obtains a new, totally different identity of its classic edition and this fact makes it very interesting.

A step to the right direction for the band or an excessive blend of unrelated styles?Partly the first, partly the second.The final feeling though is rather positive despite some minor flaws and the album comes recommended, especially to fans of innovative prog releases with a strong modern flavor.

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 Feed Our Heads by ZIP TANG album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 19 ratings

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Feed Our Heads
Zip Tang Eclectic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars Eclectic ? Oh yeah......

This is the third and the most recent album by a band which surely is now among the better US eclectic prog bands.

The album starts innocently enough with the jazz, saxophone and Frank Zappa influenced pastisj I'm On My Own. A really great song. From there and out, the album branches out in all direction. None of them light hearted and easy accessible. This is by no means an easy listening album. This album touches base with a lot of genres. From avant-garde via eclectic prog to jazz and pop/rock. Along the way, Zip Tang says hello to The Beatles, Beach Boys, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Frank Zappa, Soft Machine (first album), Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd and the post rock scene. I am sure I have missed out on a lot of bus stops along the way. But although very varied, the music is never disjointed. There is a clear and defined idea running through the whole album.

The instrumentation is both the usual tangents, guitars, bass, vocals and drums. But they have also added some woodwinds to the sound. The sound changes between electric and half-acoustic. The instruments are clearly spaced out and not the victim of a wall of sound. Thankfully, the sound quality is superbly crystal clear and contemporary.

I stated the first song was an uplifting song. The mood changes though halfway the album and the mood becomes darker at the final two Pink Floyd like songs. Which means neither the first song or the final two songs should determine if you want to part with your money on this album.

A purchase or not also depends on the quality of the product. It is my opinion after sweating blood during ten listening sessions, and wishing that I could spend even more time on this album before reviewing it, that this is a true great album. There is no real killer tracks here. Neither is there any really uninteresting parts here either. This album has so many twists and turns that it drags the listener in and really keeps him/her until the final tone. This is truly a progressive rock album. That is in my view a good enough reason to give it four stars...... although not a strong four stars, but still four stars.

4 stars

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 Pank by ZIP TANG album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.06 | 16 ratings

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Pank
Zip Tang Eclectic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

4 stars The band's second effort 'Pank' is a really entertaining album filled with a cornucopia of impressions. Automatically searching for something comparable more or less Umphrey's McGee come into my mind when listening. First of all because of the fact that most of the songs are provided with a touch of jamming too. Deitrich Crashed My Enzo is a good example here. Basically a catchy song coupled with melody and rhythm variations - on top of it provided with a grooving jam section showing references to southern rock bands like The Allman Brothers Band as well as psychedelic patches. An exciting compilation of styles so to say.

The song title is weird though - probably they mean this sports car named Enzo Ferrari. And who is 'Deitrich'? In Germany we have a forename 'Dietrich'. A pun or lapse? Something which temporarily engaged me. Anyhow - they obviously operate with some kind of humour - best to point out with You Call This Art which starts (and ends) with laughing people. And the closing song Goodbye is their individual way to say farewell to the listener provided with marching drums and a pop styled mood reminiscent to The Beatles I would say.

However - jazzy portions are coming through all over, for example to recognize on Footprints - the drums and piano especially here. Marcus Padgett has a large share with his saxophone. He opens and closes the melancholic ballad One Last Beautiful Motion with a cool substantial contribution, an harmonic song with polyphonic vocals and floydy guitars. It's In My Head is an unusual blend of fusion and heavy psych and takes getting used to.

A punching bass line sends Katy to a heavy rocking and blues direction - but not that simple - a little bit avantgarde tinged which comes from some interesting saxophone dues once more. In a similar manner the album's title song is Zappa influenced. Cicada Jam irritates spiked with electronical experiments where the drums are perfectly imitating a train ride as for my impression. And finally I want to mention The Years dominated by duelling saxophone and guitar.

Some may come to the conclusion that this album is full of quite different music portions merged together by accident - quasi missing the 'golden thread'. Okay, if it is in that way - it's well done anyhow. ZIP TANG succeed to produce a varied output in any case and excellent musicianship is beyond dispute. Prog fans who like to listen to an eclectic mix of styles should take care of this - and won't regret.

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 Luminiferous Ether by ZIP TANG album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.68 | 17 ratings

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Luminiferous Ether
Zip Tang Eclectic Prog

Review by chopper
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Zip Tang are a recent addition to this site and came to my attention via the Bands Submissions email. They caught my attention mainly due to their cover version of "Tarkus" and I thought at the time "they're either very brave or stupid" but as the band admitted to me they are brave and stupid, however more of that later.

Zip Tang are a four piece and almost fit into the jazz fusion genre, mainly thanks to the fine sax playing of Marcus Padgett. In fact, the whole band are talented musicians, the guitar work of Perry Merritt also stands out. But what of the music, I hear you ask?

The opener "Tower of Tuna" is a humorous Zappa/Echolyn, jazz fusion sort of thing and is a good way to kick off. "Missed the Beginning" features Chili Peppers-style guitar , "Nothing Here" starts off with a lovely acoustic guitar intro, then mutates into something which reminds me of The Tangent. "With a Twist" is another funky number, this time reminiscent of It Bites. "Beta" is an excellent fusion style instrumental with some nice synth work.

This brings us to the aforementioned "Tarkus" cover. They have gone for the full works (when I was expecting an extract) and they certainly are brave, attempting a full-blown prog "epic", especially when they're not really a keyboard band. I can't really think of another prog band covering a prog epic like this, except Transatlantic and "In Held T'was In I", but they have managed to pull it off. They've been quite clever in slowing down the intro and playing the riff on the sax. This gives the whole thing more of a jazz feel. The fast section later on is also slowed down, and most of the keyboard solos are taken on either guitar or sax. Yes, they were potentially stupid in taking this on, but I reckon they've done a great job here. Some ELP fans may turn their noses up, but it's worth a listen

Overall a very promising start. As I've said, I detect influences from Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Tangent, It Bites and Frank Zappa, all thrown in with a bit of jazz fusion but they're all excellent musicians and the whole thing makes for an excellent debut CD.The only criticism I can make is that the vocals lack of bit of that elusive "something".

And in case you were wondering, in the late 19th century, luminiferous aether (or ether), meaning light-bearing aether, was the term used to describe a medium for the propagation of light.

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Thanks to Ricochet for the artist addition.

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