Proglodytes Playlist: Week of 6/1/2020

Proglodytes Playlist is a curated list of songs that I’ll add to each week. Most of them will feature new(er) bands, because the most important mission at Proglodytes is to share currently active, progressive leaning groups with the world, but occasionally I will include older songs as a tribute or a commemoration of an anniversary.

This particular week might not be on the cheerier side, as I have felt despondent and preoccupied with the current state of things. So, the music and videos might reflect that. However, at the root of all of this is a strong hope and desire that, despite the struggles we face, we will get through it all. In the meantime- here’s some music.

On this week’s Proglodytes Playlist

Adam Neely: “The ****ed up legacy of the arrest of Miles Davis”

The last few months have had several horrific moments of brutality, with the murder of Breonna Taylor, the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery, and the senseless death of George Floyd. Musician Adam Neely produced a really fantastic video that reminds us that these events are part of a long, troubled history in the United States, by reminding us about the time when Miles Davis was assaulted by the police. Just weeks before, Davis had released one of the most important albums in jazz history, Kind of Blue. Though this isn’t technically a song, it contains powerful and evocative music. It’s a must watch.

The Tea Club: “If I Mean When”

Continuing on with the weltschmerz that we all might be feeling, The Tea Club recently released a video for their song, “If I Mean When”. The song is shared from a very hopeless point of view, set to a moving, melancholy tune. I have shared a few times about my first time hearing this song in 2017- I heard it at ProgStock, and the chorus stayed with me for months after.

Cryptic Ruse: “Clutching Its Last Stem Cell”

The Mercury Tree has been featured on Proglodytes several times in the last few years. Ben Spees recently talked on the Proglodytes podcast about how Jason Yerger, a.k.a. Igliashon Jones, was brought on board to help assist with The Mercury Tree’s foray into microtonality. Jason has his own one-man project, Cryptic Ruse, which features a variety of different styles and tunings over several albums and songs. He recently released a new album, UNFERTILE, which can be purchased through Bandcamp. This particular track, “Clutching Its Last Stem Cell” was played on a custom guitar (with 23 notes per octave), and features The Mercury Tree’s very own Ben Spees on vocals. The resulting track is jarring, haunting, and beautiful, and the lyrics paint a savage portrait of humanity (which seems to be the theme of this playlist?).

Peter Gabriel: “Biko”

Peter Gabriel, one of prog’s elder statesman, might seem like a weird inclusion in this list. This song isn’t new, nor is it conventionally “prog”. But, as far as I know, it’s one of the few progressive or prog-leaning tracks that takes on issues of race. The death of anti-Apartheid activist Steve Biko was over 40 years ago, but issues of race still affect us. I love the words, “You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire/Once the flames begin to catch, the wind will blow it higher.”

What are you listening to these days? Share below in the comments.

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