One Hundred, or Thereabout…

A list of favorites?101 faves

Ignoring blues, bluegrass, and (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.

5 thoughts on “One Hundred, or Thereabout…

  1. Black-eyed Sceva and Model Engine. I thought I was the only person on the planet who even knew about them. What a loss that Jeremy Post is no longer in the music business. To top it off, you throw in The Choir and Dogs of Peace. You are the MAN.


  2. carleolson

    “And no Beatles.” Thank you! We are friends for life. And then you throw in King’s X and Soundgarden (Amen and Amen), and we are friends for eternity. Marvelous!


  3. Here is an interesting contrast-Greg Walker, he of Symphonic Music/major progressive music distributor, follows the European scene closely and here is is top 25 desert island disks:
    Anglagard – Epilog,
    Balletto Di Bronzo, Il – YS,
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso – Io Sono Nato Libero
    Camel – Moonmadness,
    Eloy – Floating,
    Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway,
    Gentle Giant – Octopus,
    Grobschnitt – Rockpommel’s Land (or Solar Music Live),
    Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick,
    King Crimson – In The Wake Of Poseidon,
    Latte E Miele – Passio Secundum Mattheum,
    Locanda Delle Fate – Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Pui,
    Magma – Mekanik Destructiw Kommandoh,
    Orme, Le – Felona E Sorona,
    Pink Floyd – Animals,
    Premiata Forneria Marconi – Per Un Amico,
    Pulsar – Halloween, Triana – same (a.k.a. El Patio),
    Van Der Graaf Generator – H To He Who I Am The Only One (or Pawn Hearts),
    Yes – Close To The Edge



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