Hello, reader. I’m sure you’re very confused about this post. You might be saying, “why was your last Proglodytes Music Awards in 2017?” Well, dear friend, the Proglodytes Music Awards run every 41 months. Or something. Either way, the elusive nature of these awards, coupled with the unique categories, make it the most (least) sought after award that a progressive musician could possibly win.
Usually, on April 1st, Proglodytes will release a (debatably) humorous April Fools joke. Like the time we joked about Tool’s new album being a geological history of the Earth, or the time we talked about a massive Yes reunion where they buried the band Hatchet and all had to crowd the stage, or Steven Wilson going uberpop (let’s just say we saw the writing on the wall). Well, we feel like 2020 has been so shitty that we still haven’t recovered from it, and I still feel weird about adding to the already existing body of fake news out there, so I decided against writing a piece about Mike Portnoy joining Dream Theater (and it turning out once you click on the article that it was Michael Portnoy, Soy Bomb guy who interrupted Bob Dylan’s set at the Grammys), because I didn’t want any death threats. Instead, I opted for some gentle ribbing (and decided against the condom joke, because I’m soooooo grown up).
On to the awards:
The Thomas Hatton Extinct Megafauna Award For Best Concept Album About Prior Geological Epochs: So, full disclosure here. I run Facebook/Instagram page called Extinct Megafauna. I have always enjoyed reading about extinct megafauna, and I’m endlessly fascinated by the strange creatures that have inhabited our world in years prior. When I wrote an April Fools Day post about Tool making an album about the history of Earth, my decades-long interest in geological epochs was exposed. Someone in the comments pointed out, however, that The Ocean (Collective) had been including lines about geological epochs in their album names for several years, and suddenly my joke post became substantially less funny, but I was very glad to know that there was a band that would release an album called Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic/Cenozoic. Because if you aren’t obsessing over the biological/geological history of Earth, what are you even doing?
The “Someone took 4:36-4:45 of Yes’s Owner of a Lonely Heart and made a band out of it” Award: Kyros. Kyros are a bunch of young guys who are writing music that sounds like Vangelis discovered Vaporwave, and I’m 100% here for it. But for real, their new album, Celexa Dreams, kicks ass. You should check it out, even if it is “euro pop trash”.
The ‘Drive Home’ Award for Most Depressing Prog Song: Katatonia- their entire discography. Yeah, I realize this is too broad of an answer, but the thing is, these guys never hide their depression. They intentionally write sad music. In fact, they embrace it. In an interview with Nicklas Sandlin, he said, “We’re depressed guys playing rock music.” Which, to me, is pretty awesome of them to go out and say, as destigmatizing mental illness is always good. Second place goes to Leprous- Pitfalls was a pretty bleak album, and with songs like “I Lose Hope”, you kinda get a glimpse into those darker feelings. Pre-pandemic, when I felt a little optimistic, I viewed it almost from the outside looking in, but lately that album has been making a lot more sense to me.
The ‘Astonishing’ Award for most out-there concept: Arcadea’s self titled debut. I had a great chat with Core Atoms a while back, and while I thought I understood the plotline, I read the interview we did, and I realized there were several layers of stories there, and I had missed all of it. Synthetic life forms coming out of stasis? A sentient, forlorn Neptune? A prediction of what our solar system will be like when Andromeda collides with the Milky Way and boggles up all the planetary orbits? Wait a second, this isn’t convoluted…it’s just awesome.
The Golden Fedora Award for Edgiest Concept: The Future Bites by Steven Wilson. Consumerism is destroying our world? Materialism makes us unhappy? Consumer culture is vapid and meaningless? We are all pawns…in a society? Well, my good sir, don thy fedora, and put on your Guy Fawkes mask, for thou art 2 3DGY 4 ME. [Insert photoshopped Steven Wilson with Joker makeup]
The Nad Sylvan Golden Vampirate Award for best dressed: OK, so someone will probably take issue with this inclusion, because Behemoth are technically not a progressive metal band. They’re more like…(Thomas hurriedly checks out their Wikipedia for any clue at all)…um, blackened death metal. But, you gotta admit. Mr. Nergal, The Satanist himself, really knows how to dress up. I mean, look at this getup. It’s fabulous.
The Best Meme Group Award: So, I’m in a lot of different groups for a lot of different bands, and by far, the weirdest, most close-knit, and horniest group of them all is Haken Cockroachposting. The half-life for memes there is much shorter than the normal meme half-life, because memes are produced in such a high volume that it’s hard to keep up. The memes are so intense and frequent and absurd that they even produced a monthly video called Roach Review, where an admin rates some of the best memes of the month. Anyway, here’s
“Wonderwall” “Lunar Room”.
The Mike Portnoy ‘Please, No More Headlines” Award: Like I said in the last article, I sometimes feel a little bad for Mike Portnoy’s relationship with the media. Blabbermouth type sites find some clickbait-y quote from an interview and it becomes an annoying headline that no one really asked for. And in this category, modern prog poster boy Steven Wilson wins again. To his credit, I doubt he’s mad about the banal headlines- he’s actually really good at whipping up publicity during album cycles. However, if I were in his position, I’d resent how sound-byte-ish those interviews feel, especially when they offend people and make new headlines. So whether it was the whole Van Halen thing, which was probably a bad case of timing and not reading the room, or him talking about feeding on the contempt of angry prog fans, I feel like a lot of articles were produced that were essentially hollow shells, nothingburgers- you get it.
The Daniel Gildenlow Award for Most Annoyingly Sexy Prog Person: Well, quite uncreatively, I think Daniel Gildenlow should win this one. Pain of Salvation’s new album, Panther, was just released, and the leading single, “Accelerator”, featured a muscly Daniel doing parkour jumps without a shirt on. So, yeah. Stupid sexy
The Magma Award (for most likely to alienate you from your significant other): I recently was made aware of avant-garde group Scrambled Prostate Cantaloupe Disorder, and I think they take the cake. Their album is absolutely bonkers, and is the perfect album to put on if you either want to clear out a party, or have the weirdest party of your life.
The ‘I Hate Prog, Why Do You Keep Calling Us Prog, Stop Doing That Or I Will Come To Your House and Shank You, Except I Won’t Because I Am A Wimpy Not-Prog Musician’ award for Proggiest Band that Hates the title Prog: Oh man, there are few of these that come to mind, but Polyphia wins for me. Or, as confirmed in an Adam Neely video, the Limp Biskit of prog metal (which I don’t totally get, but it sounds funny when I say it out loud). Hear that, Polyphia? Give me your lunch money.
The ‘Don’t Join Their Facebook Fan Club If You Want To Be Happy’ Award for Most Toxic Fanbase: YES. If I had the choice of only listening to “Teakbois” for the rest of my life, or commenting my sincere opinion on a Yes fan group, I would be jamming to faux-Caribbean rhythms until I was as wrinkly as Steve Howe. If you can endure the daily argument over which Yes is TRUE Yes, or the intolerant politics of many Yes fans who soiled their diapers when Jon Anderson wrote a very predictably Jon Anderson-style protest song, or the “Rap is one letter away from CRAP” type posts that are the equivalent of reaching out your hand and saying, “HIGH FIVE. HIGH FIVE”, well, maybe you’d choose the latter. But, anymore, I just stay in them for the laughs.
The “Cygnus X-1 Book 2: Hemispheres” Award for Longest Song Title: Honestly, there is one song that I’m aware of that holds this record for all recorded music, but it was released almost 15 years ago- Sufjan Steven’s song “The Black Hawk War, Or, How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself In the Morning, Or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience But You’re Going to Have to Leave Now, Or…”. Even though Sufjan’s not conventionally included with progressive rockers, I think his music has all the hallmarks of prog, but just more polished packaging. And a song title like this? If a gun were up to my head and I had to recite the entire song title without missing a word? Well..let’s just say I hope that never happens.
What are some awards you feel like we left out? Any additions? Subtractions? Complaints? Let us know in the comments.