So here I sit once again trying to condense dozens of great albums into a top twenty five, that by the I have finished editing and adding links I wont even agree with (except the top 10). A vast majority of the albums on this list I own on vinyl a couple on cassette (still not much of a fan but it beats digital) and some I don’t own at all but have been playing a lot on various digital platforms. So why bother? I guess in some ways I just want to spread the word, spread the love and do my little bit for the bands, artist and promoters. This whole underground music thing is not as full of snobs as you may think, its actually full of people making very little to no money. So to all those people thank you!
25, Domboshawa – Beyond Vibration (Drone Rock Records)
Album number 20 for Drone Rock Records and it’s an absolute belter as the press release says “100 minutes of top rate Space Rock with Domboshawa’s signature blending of improvised mellow, blissed-out tracks with psychedelic freak-outs.” and who am I to argue. Buy here.
24, Dead Otter – Bridge Of Weird (Riot Season)
Thirty odd minutes of post/psych/stoner rock of the highest quality, whats not to like? The guitar work, no the whole thing is simply hypnotic. Buy and listen here.
23, Mianami Deutsch – With Dim Light (Guruguru Brain)
One of the best live bands I have ever seen deliver one of the best albums of the year, in fact if I had owned this a bit longer which would have equaled more plays, then I am sure it would be placed a lot higher. Buy and listen here.
22, Black Tempest – Psyberspace (The Weird Beard)
Having been a fan since I first heard Darkness Unfolding I have enjoyed everything that I’ve wrapped my ears around. Naturally for me the collaboration Dead Sea Apes (Sun Behind The Sun) is a personal favorite. This is full on sonic meditation. Buy from here.
21, Goatman – Rhythms (Rocket Recordings)
Summoning sounds from across the ages and indeed the world, this pot pourri of sound shows hints of william onyeabor, Can and Fela Kuti. The mystirious Goat drummer has released something quite brilliant. Buy and listen here.
20, Stephen Bailey – Silo (Cardinal Fuzz)
MT Mountains front man released his first solo album and its a breezy psych pop classic that became essential listening during that long hot summer. Buy and listen here.
19, Shooting Guns – Nosferatu (Cardinal Fuzz)
From the minute this album starts till the very last moment there is no sonic wastage. This album has to be heard in one sitting to fully appreciate the unsettling brilliance. I watched the film with this music the other night as part of my prep for this and let me tell you I found the whole experience wonderfully terrifying. Buy and listen here.
18, MT Mountains – Rise (Cardinal Fuzz)
MT Mountains have impressed me with their last couple of releases both ‘Dust’ and ‘Cosmos Terros’ were packed with some super slick psych. New album ‘Rise’ once again finds these Aussie masters of psych in splendid form, releasing their strongest album to date. Buy and listen here.
17, PIGS X7 – King of Coward (Rocket Recordings)
Pigs X7 take on Sabbath riffage mixed with Motorhead’s approach to just making a fucking racket seems to be paying off. The songs maybe shorter this time round but non of the intensity has been lost. Buy and Listen here.
16, Mésange – Gypsy Moth (God Unknown)
Once again Luke Mawdsley and Agathe Max release an album of staggering beauty and dark undertones. Once again I have found myself fully immersed in their sound. Buy and listen here.
15, Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples (Guruguru Brain)
It’s hard to believe that I have only been into this band for three or four years they are just so ingrained into my musical DNA. Masana Temples proves once again that this is a band can do no wrong. Buy and listen here.
If you know this band which if you have read this far I guess you do then you know how bloody good they are. Here is the story of the album. The story is an everyday one.
After a Hong Kong kickboxer is paralysed by a cheating Thai competitor, his mobster brother vows revenge and journeys to Thailand for a duel. Along the way, our hero is met by bizarre visions, entered into a Buddhist monastery, and begins a quest to save the soul of a deceased Monk (his twin brother in a past life) who died at the hands of a powerful black magician.
We’ve all been there. However the movie descends into a kind of spiritual Jodorowsky mushroom fest that is completely deranged and is therefore one of those perfect midnight movies. Buy and Listen here.
Psychic Lemon caused a stir with their debut album on Drone Rock Records. This follow up proves it was no fluke. An album that has actually had me doing a strange type of dance here at Heathen Towers. Buy and listen here.
5. The Myrrors – Borderlands (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond)
A blistering album of drones and wonderful burnt desert sound and more, much more this to my ears is more akin to the 60’s Swedish underground taking notes from Pärson Sound, International Harvester and Träd, Gräs Och Stenar. Buy listen here.
4. The Left Outsides – All That Remains (Cardinal Fuzz/Feeding Tube Records)
Earlier this year I wrote “There are times when the album feels ancient with John Barleycorn overtones, other times it may seem almost whimsical, or foreboding. Whatever emotion or story they are telling, it is done so with an almost melancholic beauty”. I stand by them there words. Buy and listen here.
3. Adam Sone & Dead Sea Apes – Warheads (Cardinal Fuzz)
I wrote on release in October and I stand by it. Utterly brilliant. “Dead Sea Apes are masters of creating paranoid cinematic soundtracks and for me have created some the best music in recent times. I feel that Adam Stone has added texture and depth and a focal point.” Buy and listen here.
2. Bonnacons of Doom – S/T (Rocket Recordings)
This is my review that featured on the brilliant Psych Insight page, “To say I was looking forward to this album is a bit of an understatement. A smattering of tracks over the years had left me wondering if this band were ever going to release a full album. I’m glad they did because the 7″ that came with the God Unknown special was starting to wear thin from being played so often. Add to this that I caught them live earlier this year and they completely blew my mind. Sonically the band sound like an alternative soundtrack to a Ben Wheatley film. It’s ritualistic music with a dark edge, music for the old Gods of Albion, music for the stone circles of Yorkshire. They mix abrasive industrial sounds with a kind of heavy dark jazz but always with a sense of rhythm. Taking the repetitive drones of bands like ‘International Harvester’ and adding their own unique twist. Vocalist Kate brings extra dynamic, an extra layer of menace maybe. With this debut album ‘Bonnacons of Doom’ have an album that sounds contemporary and yet ancient it is a masterclass of daring and quiet simply brilliant.” Buy and listen here.
1, Prana Crafter – Enter The Stream (Cardinal Fuzz/Sunrise Ocean Bender)
I cannot start to tell you how many times I have played this album this year, I think I could round down to roughly a fucking lot! It is beautiful beyond words, it harnesses the fragility of Neil Young and Eliot Smith, it has a kind of west coast lilt to it giving it a Woodstock vibe and at the same time it captures a bit of the Canterbury scene. I honestly find this album difficult to write about because I will end up sounding pretentious, I will say this, dip your toe into the stream and you will surely (ahem) enter the stream which is my mind a cosmic stream that will take you on a trip of half remembered dreams and memories. Buy and listen here or here