Staff Lists: Top 50 Albums of 2011 [25-1]

25. The Grand Astoria – Omnipresence

The Grand Astoira’s third album in as many years is a collection of deliciously sleazy, fuzzed-out rock.

24. The Flying Eyes – Done So Wrong
[Trip in Time/World in Sound]

Done So Wrong is the sound of various elements of the psychedelia spectrum, being shone together, to form an introspective look at this much loved genre.

23. Humo del Cairo – Volume II

Like its predecessor, Volume II is another instalment of aggressive vocals and Kyuss-worshipping, from Argentina’s most talented stoner trio.

22. Orchid – Capricorn
[Doom Dealer]

Unashamedly retro, Orchid’s full-length debut merges ‘70s rock and metal, with tales of witchcraft and the occult; doomy rock ‘n’ roll for the masses.

21. The Nines The Nines

In these times of gloom and uncertainty, it is perhaps no surprise that bands like The Nines are celebrated and cherished the world over. Formed only 18 months ago in Detroit, Michigan, the Motor City trio’s driving, no-frills sound, revitalises the chest-beating swagger and killer riffs of old, with boundless, youthful energy.

20. Grandloom – Sunburst

Everyone needs a mantra. With fears of being tarred with the dreaded ‘stoner rock’ brush, Grandloom has gone to great lengths to ensure that they abide by the philosophical, double-meaning of: “Electrical rock between Love and Peace.”

19. Sungrazer Mirador

Carrying on where their self-titled EP left off, Sungrazer’s first full-length is stacked with fuzzy, psychedelic riffs. Just like their European cousins, Colour Haze, the Dutch three-piece are only going to get better.

18. True Widow – As High as the Highest Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of the Earth

Nodding toward slowcore, but with a much louder and grittier aesthetic, As High as the Highest Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of the Earth is an ambitious mix of stoner-rock and shoegaze.

17.  Glitter Wizard – Solar Hits
[Archers Guild]

If Glitter Wizard had lived through the ’60s, they would have certainly passed the acid test. Merging hippie rock grooves with the intergalactic musings of Hawkwind – not to mention Canterbury-style progressive rock – the Oakland five-piece take the freewheeling blueprints of this revolutionary decade, and turn it into something that is unashamedly glam.

16. War Drum – At Old Trails

Inspired by the experimental sounds of the past, Desert natives War Drum, have created a debut that is: delicate, spacious and haunting; a combination that can only be described as: psychedelic-spook-rock.

15. The Cosmic Dead – Psychonaut

Described as: ‘Scotland’s foremost Hawkwind tribute band’; this lengthy, ten-track release is an engaging combination of heavy-psych and post-krautrock grooves – and best of all, it’s free!

14. The Heavy Eyes – The Heavy Eyes

Capitalising on the overwhelming positivity of 1, The Heavy Eyes’ full-length debut, brings the psychedelic blues-rock of the late ‘60s to a younger audience. Despite their online success, the Memphis trio are still unsigned. Major record labels, get in touch.

13. Graveyard– Hisingen Blues  
[Nuclear Blast]

Born from the same retro-worshipping cloth as fellow countrymen Witchcraft, Graveyard’s second album is a blues-infested brew of rock and doom: a lethal combination that continues to stand the test of time.

12. Causa Sui – Pewt’r Sessions 1  
[El Paraiso]

Crazed fuzz-guitar glory akin to Guru Guru and Amon Düül II, but with a noticeably modern heavy feel; the Pewt’r Sessions 1 is an album of sheer exhilarating krautrock, with elements of: desert, psych and stoner, thrown in for good measure.

11. Ballo delle Castagne- Kalachakra  
[Black Widow]

The second of Ballo delle Castagne’s proposed trilogy is an expansive and meticulous blend of world music.

10. Ehécatl – Ehécatl
[Improvising Beings]

Having found success with Blaak Heat Shujaa , guitarist Thomas Bellier – although playing bass and the Aztec flute on this particular release – and drummer Tim Gacon, have become the first, post-millennial duo, to interweave Mesoamerican percussion into a mantra-style form of tribal-psych and atmospheric doom.

9. Crumbling GhostCrumbling Ghost
[Withered Hand]

Unique is a word that is often overused in the world of music journalism, as a lazy, throwaway description; however, Crumbling Ghost’s gem of a debut is just that. Signed to Withered Hand Records, and living out their ‘lush green meadow’ fantasies in the very un-green London Town; colloquial imagery is offset by smouldering folk-rock and mid-tempo doom.

8. Dinosaur Eyelids Down a River

Fed up with the state of today’s rock scene, Dinosaur Eyelids are hoping to instigate change. Described by the band as ‘alternative rock for a new generation’, the New Jersey quartet’s second album is built on extreme dynamics and hard-edged riffs.

7. The Higher Craft – The Quest into the SteppingStoneAge
[Big Yellow Taxi]

Formed in the autumn of 2007, The Higher Craft – propelled by Christina Poupoutsi’s dynamic vocals – have created a concept album that incorporates everything from: prog-rock and space-rock, to classic-rock and metal. High on drama, The Quest into the SteppingStoneAge is an essential purchase.

6. Omnia Opera – Nothing is Ordinary

Omnia Opera’s third album, Nothing is Ordinary harks back to a golden age for space-rock; each composition surrounded by intergalactic mythos and a fear for the unknown.

5. GrifterGrifter
[Ripple Music]

After showing initial promise with The Simplicity of the Riff is Key, the South West’s premier rock band – now signed to Ripple Music – have gone from strength to strength; merging the no-frills honesty of ‘70s hard-rock, with elements of modern-day stoner, the Plymouth trio’s full-length debut is simply superb.

4. SpeedwolfRide With Death
[Hells Headbangers]

A raw hybrid of British speed-metal and American hardcore, Speedwolf’s old-school approach is both refreshing and invigorating. Play it loud.

3. Midnight Satanic Royalty
[Hells Headbangers ]

An underground cult band for the best part of decade, Midnight’s debut is an unadulterated celebration of rock ‘n’ roll’s myriad excesses; ranging from sleaze and speed-punk, to occult metal ideals.

2. Mars Red Sky - Mars Red Sky

Conceived in the unlikely setting of a backstreet, Bordeaux club in 2007, after Julien Pras and Jimmy Kinast were “blown away” by their soon-to-be sticksman, Benoit Busser; Mars Red Sky’s debut is a fantastic collection of mellow grooves and hypnotic jams.

1. Uncle Acid and the DeadbeatsBlood Lust
[Killer Candy]

Nestled in a small corner of Britain – The Acid Coven to be precise – Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats’ are a mysterious trio, who haven’t forgot about the paranoid darkness of Sabbath; or the black magic that engulfs Tony Iommi’s spellbinding jams. Ironic, then that in the year that the masters reformed, it is the students that have been creating a buzz. Blood Lust is a classic in the making.