One Hundred, or Thereabout…
Ignoring blues, bluegrass, and alt.country (though some of my picks will leak in that direction). My favorite albums in a roughly prog or prog-friendly orbit. Explanatory notes as needed. And no Beatles.
Aereogramme — Sleep and Release. Scottish prog metal with screaming blue Pict faces.
Alan Parsons Project – I Robot
Alice in Chains — Jar of Flies
The Allman Brothers Band. Berry Oakley, arms outstretched in the niche.
Anthony Phillips — The Geese and the Ghost
Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk. Where would rock be without these?
Atomic Opera — For Madmen Only
Be Bop Deluxe – Life in the Air Age. The curious case of the three-sided album.
Black Eyed Sceva — Way Before the Flood. Intelligent, proggy Christian emo/ math rock.
Black Eyed Sceva — 5 Years, 50,000 Miles Davis. “Beware when you read ‘Letters from the Earth…’”
Boards of Canada — Tomorrow’s Harvest. To have been in the desert Southwest for the live listening party.
Buffalo Springfield Again. Long version of “Bluebird,” please.
The Byrds – Fifth Dimension
The Choir — Free Flying Soul. Another smart, Christian masterpiece.
Crack the Sky — Safety in Numbers. “Something’s wrong from the moon, my friends…”
Daryl Hall – Sacred Songs
Dead Confederate — Sugar. DC is a Southern neo-grunge band. But if Dmitri Shostakovich had ever tried his hand at writing a four minute rock bombast, the title tack to this album is close to what it would have sounded like.
The Decemberists — The Hazards of Love. Hipsters closer to prog than they realize.
Deftones — Saturday Night Wrist
Dixie Dregs — What If
Dixie Dregs — Night of the Living Dregs
Dixie Dregs – Dregs of the Earth (the trifecta)
Dogs of Peace — Speak. A brilliant one-off by Jimmie Lee Sloas and Gordon Kennedy. May we have another, please?
Echolyn — As the World.
Electric Light Orchestra — Eldorado
Emerson, Lake & Palmer — Pictures at an Exhibition. The Lyceum Theatre rendering (1970, DVD) is better, in my opinion.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer — Trilogy
Brian Eno — Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. Gorgeous music for the documentary, For All Mankind.
Explosions in the Sky — The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
Faith No More — The Real Thing
Flaming Lips — Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Fleet Foxes. Okay, I’m starting to veer…
Genesis — Trespass. My favorite in their storied collection, leaving us wondering what might have been had Ant remained in the band.
Genesis — Foxtrot. The end of the age, in 9/8 time.
Gov’t Mule — Life Before Insanity
Hall & Oates — Abandoned Luncheonette. Blue-eyed soul was never this artsy.
Hall & Oates — War Babies. Todd Rundgren was never this blue-eyed soul.
Helmet – Meantime
Incubus — Morning View
Jane’s Addiction — Ritual de lo Habitual
Jeff Buckley — Mystery White Boy
Jennanykind – Mythic. The scary South, a la O’Connor.
Jethro Tull — This Was
Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick
Jimi Hendrix Experience — Are You Experienced?
John Fahey — America. Prog folk if there ever was.
Johnny Q. Public — Extra Ordinary
Juliana Hatfield — Only Everything
Kansas. When they were lean and hungry for barbecue and potato salad.
Kansas — Masque. “The Pinnacle” was their pinnacle.
King Crimson — Larks Tongue in Aspic
King Crimson — Red
King’s X — Gretchen Goes to Nebraska
King’s X — Dogman. One of the most played records in my collection.
Kraftwerk — Autobahn. Analog over digital any day of the week.
Led Zeppelin – II
Led Zeppelin — Houses of the Holy
Living Colour – Vivid
Model Engine — The Lean Years’ Tradition (BES re-incarnated)
The Moles – Instinct. “Raymond, have you seen the Red Queen?”
The Monkees — HEAD. Never apologize for loving the Pre-Fab Four.
The Moody Blues — On the Threshold of a Dream. Sending out “In the Beginning” to the NSA.
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
My Morning Jacket — At Dawn
My Morning Jacket — It Still Moves
Neil Young — Harvest
Neil Young — Tonight’s the Night
Ortodoksinen Kamarikuroro — Divine Liturgy. From Finland, the most breath-taking Orthodox Church chant I’ve ever heard.
Pelican — City of Echoes
PFM — Jet Lag
The Pink Floyd — The Piper at The Gates of Dawn
Pink Floyd — Wish You Were Here
The Police — Zenyatta Mondatta
The Police — Synchronicity
Proto-Kaw — Early Recordings from Kansas (1971-73). Therefore, proto-Kansas.
Radiohead — The Bends
Radiohead – Kid A. Leading rats and children out of town.
Rick Wakeman — The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable
Rush — A Farewell to Kings
Rush — Permanent Waves
Rush — Moving Pictures (the hat-trick)
Sebastian Hardie – Four Moments. Prog from down under.
Slowdive — Blue Day (compilation)
Soundgarden — SuperUnknown
Steve Hackett — Voyage of the Acolyte
Sun Kil Moon — Ghosts of the Great Highway
Supertramp — Crime of the Century. You’re bloody well right.
Syd Barrett — The Madcap Laughs
Synergy — Semi-Conductor. Compilation of Larry Fast’s electronic realizations.
Talk Talk — Spirit of Eden
This Will Destroy You. Post-rock paradise set by the mighty Rio Grande.
Todd Rundgren — A Wizard, A True Star. Without Hall & Oates.
Tomita — The Planets. Electronic realization of Holst’s orchestral suite.
Tool — Ænima
Velour 100 — Fall Sounds. Shoe-gazing density from Ypsilanti.
Velour 100 — Songs From the Rainwater.
Wilco — Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Mossad makes a cameo.
Yes — The Yes Album
Yes — Tales From Topographic Oceans. Yes, it’s too long, but “The Revealing Science of God” is worth the whole album.