It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these news updates. Judging by the lack of any discernible public outcry at their absence, I’m guessing nobody really cared all that much. But for those of you who are interested in a minuscule sample of the recent news in progressive music, delivered with a heaping helping of smarmy bullshit, I’ll try to throw one out at more regular intervals. Without further ado… THE NEWS:

Tickets are on sale for the 2016 Stone Free Festival at The O2 in London. Prog fans should love the Sunday lineup: Rick Wakeman, Marillion, and Steve Hackett. Wakeman will be performing The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table, which is great news for aficionados of Wakeman, mid-70s Arthurian concept albums, or albums with excessively long titles.

Day one of the show? Alice Cooper and American southern rock band Blackberry Smoke. Sure!

Steven Wilson is releasing a short (37 minute) album titled 4 ½ to be released on January 22. The one-half is clever, you see, because it’s a small effort that will be released between his fourth album and eventual fifth album. There is nothing deeper there, I promise. Or is there…

Read the Book of James, chapter 4 verses 1 and 2 (4:1-2). What is Wilson trying to tell us? Is this a stark reminder of our current era of violence and in-fighting? Or is he proclaiming his own divinity, and asking us to submit to it? If there are any Steven Wilson Truthers out there, please point me in the right direction.

Dream Theater is coming out with a 13th studio album that will be named The Astonishing, which sounds like a bad M. Night Shyamalan movie. Let’s move past that for a second, because the early returns here are glorious.

Just check out the website. This isn’t an album, it’s a front for a damn MMORPG! Emperor Nafaryus (I see what you did there, Dream Theater!) is the perfect menacing antagonist for the project. The revealed piece of the world map looks spot on – I’m sure there will be many caves and taverns to explore while walking around for hours on end.

I’m going to be so disappointed if this turns out to actually be a new album.