Early Plague Years, by Thinking Plague (2000): This is a compilation of the American avant-proggers' first two LPs, . . . a Thinking Plague and Moonsongs, each slightly trimmed to fit on one CD. Over the course of these tunes, the band sails surely from ambient waves of sound ("Collarless Fog that one day soon"), intricate start/stop prog ("Warheads"), and the just plain weird ("How to Clean Squid," with lyrics taken from a cooking magazine!). I find some of it is just too out there for my tastes (weird for weirdnesses sake), but when it hits the sweet spot, it's great stuff. The album closer, "Thorns of Blue and Red / the War," also has one of the more interesting stories behind it. The lyrics are taken from the poems found in a book in a dumpster behind a hospice, presumably written by a recently deceased woman.