Private Shangri​-​La

by Zip Tang

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1.
“We interrupt our programming. This is a personal emergency” “The following message is transmitted at the request of your conscience” “This is not a test” The Apocalypse already happened here The stench of it hasn't disappeared You'd better lay low and steer clear of the men in the shiny black helmets that sing out amen I didn't believe when they showed me the light If you want to eat boy you gotta learn how to fight If you don't believe you better learn how to lie Better lie, cheat and steal, take an eye for an eye The men of one book warned of impending doom So as not to look foolish, they better make it happen soon Start with the suckers the vulnerable and weak The sick and the dying, the unstable, the meek The mothers of soldiers, the dads of the dead I can feel my heart beating inside of my head Like a funeral drum for the death of the sun My personal apocalypse has just begun I live in the margins between ignorance and bliss My TV keeps me warm in the media abyss The man in the suit with the comb over from hell, got his finger on the trigger of the holy cartel. You can't outrun the bullets from their righteous guns My personal apocalypse has just begun “You will not feel the brunt of the fire” “He shall not seek the one of little faith” “Though I go through the valley, in the shadow of death” “I shall fear no man” Your vision dims Eternal night Phantom limbs in the moonlight The seasons turn Cigarette burns Long sleeves hide cut marks dried Seasons turn Cigarette burns, in the night Your long sleeves hide, the cut marks dried Keep it all inside The Apocalypse already happened here The stench of it hasn't disappeared
2.
Knowing 03:29
Knowing you don't know is knowing Ignoring the claims you know are false You're anxious to dance that final waltz The stuff that you're hiding in your attic You're paying the price to learn the truth It's causing the static in your life All that there is, is right here The Promised Land’s right there in your yard The birds in your apple trees They sing in your private Shangri-La Just click your heels three times and you'll be there (You'll be there from the start) Remember there's no place like home (This side of the rainbow) Pay no attention to the man behind the altar Just click your heels three times and you'll be there (You'll be there from the start) Just remember there's no place like home (This side of the rainbow) Pay no attention to the man behind the altar
3.
Exit 94 04:42
Summerfest 1992 Your summer dress, that I could see right through I can't wait, to take you to the Pfister To our room with a view Where I took your sister I know she told you It meant nothing I was immature It was my little head talking Driving LSD Holding the Ecstasy I can't drink no more Exit 94 Coming down I can't wait to hit the ground Driving LSD Holding your ecstasy I can't drink no more Exit 94
4.
You lost your mind while breaking the fourth wall in your internal movie You're just a middle class American dream chasing Kool-Aide drinker Don’t come here because the dream is false Don't believe the hype do what's right Get back in line kick scream claw fight You've got to find a shortcut but there is no way out Embrace the twilight I've got something I think you need to see Hear the sound of my maniacal calliope Come and ride my carousel from hell for free So grab the ring and hold on tight Your prize will be revealed tonight Until then just close your eyes and glide, on my painted pony ride Skip The Bobs, The Chutes, the freaks, the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Tunnel Of Hate Step right up and see the Dog Faced Boy pontificate Hear the sound of my maniacal calliope Things aren't always what they seem to be So grab the ring and hold on tight Your prize will be revealed tonight Until then just close your eyes and glide, on my painted pony ride Skip The Bobs, The Chutes, the freaks, the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Tunnel Of Hate Step right up and see this dog faced boy pontificate
5.
I'm holed up in this place now I can't feel you anymore These cold pale gray walls, diffuse antipathy I feel the lines growing deep (feel the lines grow deep) No length of time that will erase The stuff you repress as hard as you can The things that you don't will make you a man There are places on this earth no one has been to Places in my past that I cling to I'm alone in this place now (I'm uploading) I can't feel you anymore (the pictures that you took) Taken from pages from our book (antipathy) (I feel the lines growing deep) All the things that you mistook No length of time that will erase BIG CRUNCH Take me back to the Big Crunch Where the only place is inside Self-inflicted isolation From the quilt of your imagination Miscreant of time and place Leave me be, I don't need you
6.
Tired of fighting anymore I can't stop you with a warning You're in a phantasmagoric haze Shape shift optical delusion The final solution Release the deceptive nature of the fog inside You lied I can't believe you when you keep on saying that you never knew My world view Shape shifting figures Plasticine Sequence of pictures, in a dream Take a chill pill while you wait I can't hear you shut your pie hole! You're in a phantasmagoric haze Shape shift optical delusion Your final solution
7.
Searching, for my plastic Jesus Sunlight, glinting off the dash Beacon, of both truth and justice Feel like, I’m runnin’ out of gas Dust obscures my taillights Pedal to the floor Running for my whole life Nowhere left to go Waiting, to find life of meaning Witness, the resultant mess Knowing, that I’ve made poor choices My life’s, falling off the ledge Dust obscures my taillights Pedal to the floor Running for my whole life Nowhere left to go Dust obscures my taillights Pedal to the floor Running for my whole life Nowhere left to go
8.
You want me to believe in something You press my buttons to delete the hole I love the way, you wear too much makeup and your neck tattoo, in the image of your mother Jugular Before she left you for another, never visited your brother I feel like I know you You know that you want me too I feel like I owe you Until you've taken everything I love the way you look when you wake up And the way we make up Right before we break up I love the way you look when you wake up And the way we make up Right before we break up Until you've taken everything
9.
Gravity 03:46
The heat shield is down There’s nothing left to do The heat of reentry incinerates you Can’t crack your mantle Get down to your core I submit to your steely resolve Revolve Gravity cling to me Gravity cling to me We devolve Can’t crack your mantle Get down to your core I submit to your steely resolve Revolve Gravity cling to me Gravity cling to me
10.
Iterum 01:54
What if you feel? (The seasons turn) What if you feel? (Cigarette burns) What if you felt like going down What if you feel Don’t make me feel. (Remember there’s no place like home) Don’t make me feel like going down. (Private Shangri-La) Don’t make me feel. (Coming down) You make me (I can’t wait) …felt like I was (hit the ground) …a little man inside. (Keep it all inside) I can’t wait Keep it all inside I can’t wait

about

Private Shangri-La review by Joachim 'Joe' Brookes - RockTimes
via Google Translate
There were only three musicians left. Zip Tang's keyboarder and saxophonist Marcus Padgett has left the band stage. The sounds of the woodwind instrument are missing, but not the keys. Is the Chicago-based progressive rock trio now limited in its abilities?
...If you think that just because a saxophonist is not on the starting line, Zip Tang would have removed the jazzy digressions from his offer. The guitar by Perry Merritt can also be this genre. In addition to many breathtaking, musical-winding serpentine journeys into ever-thinning air layers, there are also moments of contemplation and inner peace. Down-to-earth rock of the imaginative kind and with a lot of drive phases of the sound world of an acoustic guitar almost inevitably provide an obvious breeding ground and special spotlight.
Perry Merritt is busy. He serves guitars as well as synthesizers and sings. Exceptions also confirm on "Private Shangri-La" the rule. In "Plastique Hey-Zeus" bassist Rick Wolfe raises his voice. Hard beat and pumping bass open up a rocking happening. With a change of rhythm, Perry puts Meritus guitar in scene and following the trio builds up a scenario of tempo variations. ...From the bed of the Blues develops in "Phantasmagoric Haze" Zip Tangs Progressive Rock. The bass drum initially offers a taste of the upcoming groove. The guitar lends itself to a few runs from the blues genre and in the midst of it comes to a wonderful quiet-melodic part, which is called later as a kind of flash more often. The lively Progessive Rock of "Phantasmagoric Haze" is in the sign of the 12-stroke.
"Cigarette Burns" has more of the musical dimension of a cigar. Gentle-energetic bass tones are superimposed by dust-dry guitar riffs and already shows how effectively Perry Merritt can handle the synthesizer. Impressive!
Zip Tang in 2015 still rocks in a complex way and finally the use of the acoustic guitar, which already makes itself useful in the opener, should not be missing. The wonderful song interlude "Lines" is only proof of that.
First, "Big Crunch" floats in higher spheres. From the space-glider ambience develops gradually a downright psychedelic mood. So the formation from Chicago with their crazy style mixes is a real alternative to many other bands of the genre. The fan of the style shows open-mindedness, because this melange is challenging.
"Private Shangri La" ends with another short track. "Iterum" is a coherent kind of sound collage with vocals and choir. Almost two minutes of synthesizer use without drums and bass. A great ending to an album...

Private Shangri-La review by Siggy Zielinski Babyblaue-Seiten
via Google Translate
...The change to a classical rock trio consisting of guitar, bass and drums has of course meant that the music is a bit more direct and that all three musicians act on an equal footing. Zip Tang's main inspirations now include The Who, Rush, Cream, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree and King Crimson. Maybe I would take Echolyn, Neal Morse and The Beatles. I can not hear Pink Floyd here, and the rather subtle and occasional influence of King Crimson may not be realized until you read it on the band's website. So on "Private Shangri-La" are melodic elements (which one would expect from US-Prog) alongside rocking passages that really seem to lie between The Who and Rush.
The compositions still remain varied enough to playfully switch between progressive rock and the elements of mainstream rock. "Big Crunch" surprises in addition by the lush arrangements, which - rather untypical for this album - go in the space-psychedelic direction. "Phantasmagoric Haze" starts out as a boogie-rock track, then comes up with complex transitions and surprising twists. Nice to hear how this is playfully put together, what does not really belong together. "Plastique Hey-Zeus" combines exciting rocking grooves with imaginative arrangements. "Delete the Hole" shows the listener how sophisticated rock compositions can be both blues-rocky and progressive-demanding at the same time.
To broaden the Spartan sound palette, guitarist and singer Perry Merritt uses acoustic guitars and accompanying keyboard instruments, as well as multi-track recording techniques. He also likes to elicit unusual sounds from his guitars.
"Private Shangri-La" offers a fresh and well-made mix of US prog and spirited mainstream rock that fans of such combinations should not miss.

Private Shangri-La review by Christian Rode Babyblaue-Seiten
via Google Translate
The reduced to a trio band still plays a melodic, American, modern prog, but rocking heaviness is more in the foreground, even if the music is already pretty playful proggig. Right on the opening track "Cigarette Burns", the Americans make one on "Punk Floyd." The closeness to the rock dinosaurs is not only evident in this piece, but also in the electric guitar solo, while the alternative rock scene lulls it The Prog of Zip Tang sometimes comes closer to the late King Crimson, while the harmony vocals can evoke associations with CSN ("Knowing"). Here and there are some beautiful crimsoid bumpy riffs and some psychedelic palpable ("Maniacal Calliope" Sometimes it rocks more straightforward ("Phantasmagoric Haze"), sometimes alternative-proggiger ("Plastique Hey-Zeus"), but these are just influences that enrich the bands already quite unique sound-cosmos.
In the big picture, rocking hardness in all its variations, harmonious vocals and intelligent arrangements nicely balance each other out. The songs are kept rather short, which supports the power rock impression. Those who appreciate the combination of intelligent hard rock and melodic alternative skirt should check in to this "Private Shangri-La".

Private Shangri-La Review by Rivertree @ Progarchives
Due to their ambitious approach I once was pleased with the 2008 'Pank' album, though lost connection after that for what reason ever. Just right now in August 2015 the Chicago based band have a new album ready that shows them reduced to a trio - yet for the first time missing former keyboardist and saxophone player Marcus Padgett. Okay, where does the new ZIP TANG 2.0 expedition take us now? Hah! Easily to imagine really, when you're going to consider the album title. So much for the obvious knowing, or what?

Eleven songs are offered, provided with a lot of twists and turns. They are extending a quite unpredictable workout - yes, that stays even after several listening sessions. So I had to rewrite this a few times, since I occasionally faced problems to pin down the album for some mysterious reason. In any case they don't take it too seriously overall, well, this is not lacking of subtle humor ... just taking the album cover into account for example. Don't have the lyrics at hand, but in between I can hear them searching for the Plastic Jesus, oh yeah.

So let me pick Big Crunch to start with - maybe ambiguous, maybe freaky - musically the opposite of a crisis because my favourite excerpt - though possibly has a cosmological meaning too. There's certainly a psychedelic flavour to state on this occasion. Surprisingly I could detect a few references to other bands here at the very start - placed with intent or not - like Fates Warning's 'Still Remains' or 'Zoombiance' by Rinse, Repeat. And other diffuse reminders which I can't name until now. Food for thought, still. On top of it this just is part of a declared song couple.

Which means the acoustic guitar driven Lines comes prior. An excerpt provided with nice polyphonic vocals and yep ... inviting to sing along. You might sense it in the meanwhile - this album instantly won't be that accessible, like a pop oriented album would come along of course. A jazzy component takes a backseat (no sax, lesser keys) to the benefit of a more hard & heavy rocking attitude. It's Perry Merritt who has an important impact more than ever, due to the lead vocal and keyboard/synthesizer task, plus the whole guitar dominance, the latter often double- or even multi-tracked (rhythm and solo), also taking the acoustic part into account.

Rick Wolfe (punchy bass) and Fred Faller (lively drums) are suitable companions moreover, and this altogether - based on many overdubs - will guarantee a really lush and vibrant sound. Not a 'live in the studio' result with other words, I'm quite sure concerning the mix it took a bunch of hours to come to a final solution. Is it my pure imagination, or are they provoking a lot of references and relations? Some more examples needed? When the Cigarette Burns Perry counters with siren alike guitar. And they will offer us the opportunity to Delete The Hole via head banging. Or alternatively, is there anybody out there to stop the Maniacal Calliope?

Bang! Brilliant! Their private Shangri-La is a well thought out curiosity, which needed some time getting used to. Based on my experiences gradually the wonderful melodic contours come to the fore more and more, weirdness turns into trickiness. Shortened to a three-piece affair ... so what, this does not imply limited opportunities quite naturally - no, not necessarily. They compensate this with virtuosity and creativeness, and last but not least they are definitely able to rrrrrock the house! 4.5 stars so far!

credits

released August 15, 2015

Fred Faller - drums
Perry Merritt - vocals, guitars, synthesizers
Rick Wolfe - bass. vocals

Produced by Zip Tang.
Written and arranged by Zip Tang.
Lyrics by Perry Merritt except Plastique Hey-Zeus by Rick Wolfe.
Mixed and mastered by Perry Merritt at ZiTi Studio,Chicago, IL.
© 2015 Zip Tang.

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Zip Tang Chicago, Illinois

Eclectic Progressive Rock from Chicago, USA

Fred Faller - drums
Andrew Bunk - bass
Perry Merritt - vocals, guitar, synthesizers

Former Members:
Marcus Padgett - sax, vocals, keys, synths
Rick Wolfe - bass, vocals
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