To say 2016 was a turbulent year would be an understatement. For good and bad, the events of 2016 are going to ripple for years, if not decades to come.
Fortunately, one area in which 2016 was not a turning point was in the trend of excellent prog releases, which kept coming without any letup from 2015 … or 2014 … or 2013 … you get the picture. Like those years, 2016 saw a bumper crop of excellent releases, and in a few cases, saw bands hitting new highs. Truly, this was one area where we can be unequivocally thankful for what 2016 brought.
2016 has been a pretty horrible year: terrorism, deaths of way too many musical heroes, the recent loss of Prog magazine and the total screwing of all Team Rock employees, personal inability to find a job… Yeah, this year has sucked.
Thankfully, despite these trials, progressive rock has continued to be the most creative and innovative genre in the music business. I always enjoy writing a “best of” list, mainly because it gives me a chance to look over the best music of the year. We prog fans really are spoiled.
Like last year, my 2016 list will be pretty big, and the order is completely arbitrary. I have a numbered top 4, but my top 3 picks for this year are essentially tied for first place. Without further ado, my favorite albums of 2016:
What a year. I would guess that when historians look back to 2016, they will see it as a year of extreme violence and angry populism. Sadly, both the violence and the politics revealed themselves from time to time in the prog world, but not detrimentally so.
Life, dignity, and art remain, however, no matter what the politicians scream. And, praise the Lord we have good music to heal so many hurts of this broken world.
Glass Hammer, VALKYRIE. Not just the best GH album, but one of the greatest rock albums ever made. Susie has never sounded better, and GH has gone well beyond their comfort level to explore a full-blown novel in this terribly moving story. This album strikes that perfect—and all too elusive—via media, balancing beauty and innovation. VALKYRIE is, undoubtedly, my favorite album of the year.
In the next several spots, I have to wrestle with myself. Frankly, any ranking after VALKYRIE, would change day by day and, perhaps, even hour by hour. So, I offer the following loves.
An appropriately bizarre episode of progarchy radio–featuring only SPOOKY songs! Featuring Oingo Boingo, Glass Hammer, Matt Stevens, Japan, Gazpacho, Black Vines, The Cure, Steve Rothery, Steve Hackett, U2, Rush, Steven Wilson, Spock’s Beard, Advent, Mazzy Star, Cosmograf, and Simple Minds.
Welcome to another edition of Progarchy Radio, Autumnal Inspirations! Featuring music from Stranger Things, Glass Hammer, Fire Garden, Marillion, Kevin McCormick, Cosmograf, King Bathmat, Frost*, Oceansize, and The Fierce and the Dead.
Over two hours of pure Autumnal prog love.
I’m back! After two months at 10,000 feet above sea level and almost no internet, I have high speed! So, what do I do with my access. . . I record progarchy radio episode 9. Music from The Tangent, The Ben Cameron Project, The Pineapple Thief, Frost*, Oceansize, Riverside, SAND, Karmakanic, Simple Minds, Nosound, Roswell 6, Tool, Threshold, Jason Rubenstein, and Cosmograf.