Category Archives: Staff Lists
25. Bloody Hammers – Bloody Hammers
Internet darlings, Bloody Hammers, have seen their reputation sore over the past 12 months. Their self-titled debut –featuring charming titles such as: ‘Souls on Fire’ and ‘Witch of Endor’ – is a convincing trip though occult-tinged metal. Other hammers are available.
24. Austin Taft – War of the Songs of Light Against the Songs of Darkness
[Triple Edge Records]
Austin Taft’s self-styled ‘Rock 2.0’ seems to involve taking every guitar-orientated sub-genre, and moulding it into something that is both dynamic and heavy. With an abundance of talent, as well as the determination to succeed, it will be intriguing to see where Taft goes next – Rock 3.0, perhaps?
23. Golden Void – Golden Void
Interesting fact: Golden Void is named after a Hawkwind song, a guitar and synthesizer freak out from 1975’s Warrior on the Edge of Time, the same album, coincidentally, that provided the name for Lemmy Kilmister’s post-Hawkwind gig (ahem, “Mötorhead”).
22. Greenleaf – Nest of Vipers
Five years have come and gone since Greenleaf last passed this way, and yet, with the release of their fourth full-length, Nest of Vipers, the side project composed of assorted culprits involved with Dozer, Demon Cleaner and Truckfighters, continues to thrill.
21. Vibravoid – Gravity Zero
Gravity Zero, the group’s first full-length offering of the year, is the apotheosis of what Vibravoid can do as a power trio: Namely, dreamy layered grooves, with mystical vocals, and occasional wild-eyed freak-outs.
20. Ancient River – Let It Live
Although the same, overused expression, applies to most of the bands and solo artists that feature on this list, Ancient River “should be bigger”. Let It Live, like 2011’s Songs From North America, is a timeless collection of garage-psych-meets-grunge-pop anthems.
19. Joy – Joy
Bringing to Joy to their listeners – ok, so that was a bit corny – this San Diego collective delivers a woozy assortment of blistering, echo-driven fuzz.
18. Ape – 1991
While 2009’s The Dirger was steeped in adolescent noise-punk: crackling guitar drones and abrasive vocals, 1991 is a grown-up record: a refined and nuanced approach to alternative soundscapes. Despite the inclusion of instrumental passages (‘1991’) and plodding, grunge-like retrospectives (‘Kindness Equals Weakness’) Ape! haven’t lost their edge.
17. Colour Haze She Said
Having run into a series of unforeseen problems – they built and rebuilt a studio during the recording process – She Said continues to show why Colour Haze are held in such high regard, both in Europe, and America; combining elements of heavy-psych and desert-rock with a jam-orientated aesthetic.
16. Sky Picnic Paint Me a Dream
Sky Picnic’s second full-length, Paint Me A Dream, will once again be compared to the psychedelic-juggernaut of the late 1960 and early 70s; borrowing from the likes of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Kaleidoscope and Frank Zappa, to create flawless period pieces.
15. Black Cowgirl – Black Cowgirl
Anyone looking for traditional, no-frills rock, that incorporates elements of blues and boogie, should purchase Black Cowgirl’s debut full-length. It’s a simple as that.
14. Witch Hazel – Forsaken Remedies
Forsaken Remedies is, without question, the best retro-rock record of 2012. Incorporating a decade of fretboard wizardry – everything from Black Sabbath to Thin Lizzy – those who haven’t experienced the pleasures of Witch Hazel owe it to themselves to hear this untouched gem.
13. Heat – Old Sparky
Old Sparky, as the name suggests, keeps things simple: ‘70s-inspried rock that doesn’t seem to age.
12. Superchrist – Holy Shit
In a recent interview, Ian ‘Pit Viper’ Sugierski described the band’s genre as “beer-metal with a delivery of speed, gallop, strut and a thinking man’s smut.” That’s good enough for us.
11. Black Science – An Echo Through the Eyes of Forever
The Seattle space-rock explorers have, in two short years, captured the exhilarating, my-god-its-full-stars psyche, by carefully layering sounds and atmospheres. An Echo Through the Eyes of Forever is Black Science’s best work to date.
10. Lugnoro – Annorstades
For those of you who thought that the days of concept albums, difficult time signatures and extraordinary instrumental virtuosity died sometime after the emergence of punk, then think again. Göteborg’s Lugnoro merge Rick Wakemen’s organ flourishes, with the sonic assault of King Crimson, to create an authentic, prog-rock gem.
9. Castle – Blacklands
Blacklands sees the San Francisco doom-tinged metallers combining satanic imagery with vintage, metal hooks.
8. Jess and the Ancient Ones – Jess and the Ancient Ones
Released to favourable reviews, Jess and the Ancient Ones’ debut full-length is a mesmerising blend of soaring, female vocals and timeless hooks. Believe the hype.
7. Northwinds – Winter
Together since 1990, Winter is Northwinds’ best album to date: Taking the best elements from Trouble, Saint Vitus and Candlemass – as well as Deep Purple and Yes – this French four-piece are criminally underrated.
6. Stonerider– Fountains Left To Wake
Here’s one for classic rock lovers: Remember when FM radio and the Old Grey Whistle Test was at its peak: sweaty, denim-clad ensembles with shoulder length hair, looking cool-as-fuck into the camera, playing riff-driven rock ‘n’ roll? Stonerider certainly do. Available as a double gatefold LP – don’t worry kids, CD’s can also be purchased if vinyl is too much to cope with – Fountains Left To Wake could easily be a rediscovered gem from a defining era.
5. Stubb – Stubb
There is much to admire about Stubb, London’s finest blues-rock trio. Their raison d’être is simple: delivering awe-inspiring grooves and fuzzed-out licks that are made to be worshipped.
Half a century past its inception, and in the midst of yet another surge of woozy riffing and lyrical tomfoolery; even the brightest light in the underground sticks rigidly to the rulebook. The cream of the crop, Jack Dickinson, is content on following the fretboard musings of Clapton and Co – not to mention their affiliation with floral shirts – with startling precision.
4. Wight – Through The Woods Into Deep Water
Wight, like Ancestors, are a band that created an album beyond their wildest dreams. 2010’s Wight Weedy Wight was a satisfying trip through the cosmic delights of psych-rock, and, whilst enjoyable, didn’t prepare the listener for what was to come. A concept album – of sorts – Through The Woods Into Deep Water took the heavy-psych blueprint and, well, decimated it.
3. Ancestors - In Dreams and Time
[Tee Pee Records]
In Dreams and Time is the sound of a band at their creative peak: Building sonic monuments that cast a long shadow over their rivals. Ancestors’ have never been a band to fret about what is expected of them – that much is obvious – and if it means that we, as fans, continue to be presented with dark, chaotic and immensely moving music, let’s hope that they forget about us, completely.
2. Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction
The Little Rock, Ark quartet not only released the ‘doom’ album of the year, but, in our humble opinion, the metal album of the year. Invoking the spirits of Saint Vitus and Candlemass is pretty standard practise, however, what separates Pallbearer from their cohort’s is their authenticity: Sorrow and Extinction is the sound of a band that have experienced pain and suffering, making this debut a modern, down-tuned classic.
1. Zodiac N Black – The Aftermyth
There’s something apt about the time and place of Zodiac N Black’s debut. With British-sounding retro-rock going through a late ‘00s revival; it’s about time that a London four-piece showed the rest of the world, exactly how it’s done.
Sure, there’s been the Black Spiders and Gentleman’s Pistols – to name but two – however, the frivolous, plug-in-and-play attitude of the ‘70s had, until now, fallen by the wayside. Limitless and free, The Aftermyth is all about merging rock’s timeless constellations, into an accessible notion, that can be regularly enjoyed by all.
If you are expecting the likes of the Black Keys or Mark Lanegan to feature on this list, then you’re going to be disappointed. As one of the leading voices for underground rock, metal and any other closely-related genre, our message is simple: Support independent music.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the festive season! Daily reviews and interviews will resume in January.
50. Sorry For Nothing – Psycho Monster Resurrection
Psycho Monster Resurrection - as the name suggests – is united in its lyrical themes: B-movie imagery and occultism. Sticking rigidly to the rulebook and with a dedicated online following, Sorry for Nothing is proof that there will always be a place for traditional, ballsy rock ‘n’ roll.
49. Boyjazz -Unlimited Nights & Weekends
[For Once Records]
Inspired by the likes of: Rainbow, Deep Purple and Cactus – not to mention wine, beer and whiskey – Unlimited Nights & Weekends is the sound of band that are living out their rock ‘n’ roll fantasies: great hooks, shrieking vocals and a love of partying.
48. Caustic Casanova – Someday You Will Be Proven Correct
After establishing themselves as a band that refuses to be pigeonholed, Caustic Casanova’s second full-length, Someday You Will Be Proven Correct, continues to show why their penchant for volume and eccentricity is a winning combination.
47. Enos – All Too Human
All Too Human is a bludgeoning combination of exhilarating space-rock and distortion-heavy stoner. Cosmic bliss.
46. Sideburn - IV Monument
Sideburn are your typical Transubstans band: Trapped in a ‘70s vacuum with dreams of opening for Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. For this reason alone, Sideburn, and other retro-reviving Scandinavians, are shunned by the mainstream. Thankfully, for us, we get them all to ourselves.
45. Captain Crimson - Dancing Madly Backwards
Naming your debut full-length after the opening cut on Captain Beyond’s 1972 debut is somewhat apt for a Swedish four-piece that combines retro grooves with stoner-rock fuzz.
44. Birth of Joy – Life In Babalou
Babalou is a former nightclub in Brixton. Apart from that, nothing much is known about Life in Babalou, other than the fact it contains plenty of guitar-thrills and faraway harmonies.
43. The Blue Screen of Death - Leave The Future Behind
The Blue Screen of Death is welcome flush of energy to Britain’s stagnant rock scene. The Southampton five-piece have been exhausting local venues and bars for best part of two years; hoping for a record label hotshot to fill them with beer, and produce an album of serious quality.
While the contract is yet to materialise, in producer and jack-of-all-trades supremo, Ben Turk, the band have found a kindred spirit: Turk’s persistent for getting the most out of stoner-rock riffs with pop-savy melodies, has resulted in a timeless collection of sure-fire hits.
42.The Space Spectrum – The Space Spectrum
These cosmic German’s revved up their musical DeLorean for their second release in as many years: Driving krautrock complimented by time-bending psychedelia and a penchant for the wacky and far-out.
41. Rader Men From The Moon – Echo Forever
The full-length debut from the instrumental Eindhoven outfit fused space-rock soundscapes with the trance-inducing heaviness of stoner, producing a swirl of psychedelic euphoria that belongs in a festival environment.
40. Trucker Diablo – The Devil Rhythm
‘Drink Beer, Destroy’ the opening track on Trucker Diablo’s full-length debut, is something of a mantra for the Northern Irish four-piece. After enjoying limited success in the ‘90s: Simon Haddock, Tom Harte and Terry Crawford experienced the ruthless nature of rock ‘n’ roll; tossed on the scrapheap, before they had to time to shine. Picked up by Ripple Music, and worshipped by a loyal, native following; The Devil Rhythm is testimony to the band’s willingness to succeed.
39. Black Owls - Black Owls
Less isn’t always more: The Black Owl’s self-titled second full-length contains 25 tracks that transcends their impeccable LP collection (glam, garage, punk and psych) to create a cascading collection of guitar-orientated nuggets.
38. Wiser Fool - Wiser Fool
Wiser Fool is your typical garage-based four-piece who are intent on creating heavy and rebellious rock ‘n’ roll – They do it better than their overexposed contemporaries.
37. Sun River – Sun River
Sun River’s structure is simple: acoustic sun-drenched vibes based around the free love song writing of Martin Rude. With help from Jonas Munk and Jakob Skøtt of Causa Sui, Rude melts the folk-influenced plucking of: John Fahey, Nick Drake and Tim Buckley, with classic West Coast psych.
36. Bad Liquor Pond - Blue Smoke Orange Sky
Hailing from the coastal city of Baltimore, Big Liquor Pond have been making a splash in their native Maryland since their 2007 debut, The Year of the Clam, bought them a slew of local followers. Blue Smoke Orange Sky retains its predecessor’s themes of time and space; rarely straying from wide-eyed wonderment and cross-legged abandonment, the band’s hippyish mantra culminates in dreampop jangles, sitar slides and faraway vocals.
35. Nimbus Earth - Are You Dreaming? Are You Sleeping?
Are You Dreaming? Are You Sleeping? is a whimsical, history-bursting blend of pastoral-England-meets-heavy-psych-blues, containing vocals and melodies that refuse to dissipate over multiple listens.
34. Electric Taurus – Veneralia
With six tracks clocking it at just under the 50 minutes, it’s fair to say that Electric Taurus’ debut requires a great deal of patience. However, those who take the challenge will be rewarded with meaty, no-frills rock, by-way-of Leaf Hound and Monster Magnet.
33. Lightnin’ Ray Jackson – Somewhere In The Velvet Sky
Lightnin’ Ray Jackson’s musical references are wider then you think: Somewhere In The Velvet Sky mixes blues, soul and doo-wop to create an R&B-meets-greasy-punk blend of shadowy back alley gems.
32. Red Stone Souls – Red Stone Souls
What started out as a five-track EP quickly grew into a full-length album, and, for this reason alone, Red Stone Souls’ commands a place on our countdown: Rock’n’soul workouts from Michigan’s best new band.
31. The Lone Crows – The Lone Crows
From the opening bars of ‘Can’t Go Home Again’, this Minneapolis quintet’s debut sets out its stall: music designed for “anyone that’s got the blues” – more specifically, 60s and 70s bluesman who poured their hearts out through their six strings: Kossoff, Clapton et al. In short, this is an album for anyone in love with the unsanitised spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.
30. Dali’s Llama – Autumn Woods
[Dali's Llama Records]
Desert rock stalwarts Dail’s Llama swap their Californian blues-rock aesthetic for the down-tuned, darker sounds of doom. Guess what? It works! Dail’s Llama can do no wrong.
29. Monobrow – Bennington Triangle Blues
Bennington Triangle Blues builds on the momentum of the Canadians self-titled debut; maximising the fuzzed-out force of muscular ‘70s-style riffing, to create psychedelic dirt-road anthems.
28. Rhyton – Rhyton
Using the dynamic levels of rock, Rhyton carve out an edifice of sound on their debut LP that centers upon repetition and modal excursion.
27. Mothership – Mothership
The first thing that hits you about Mothership’s debut full-length is their comrade spirit. Not surprising, perhaps, when your brother is hammering away of lead, and you’re grooving away on bass. Nevertheless, this self-titled release is proof of just how good the Juett family are.
26. Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children – Going Home
Maybe there’s a movement happening: the Blue Screen of Death, Grifter, Stubb and now Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight – easily the most outrageous moniker – are flying the flag for British rock: Sabbath-steeped heaviness that is powerfully concise. From the opening groove-tickling title track, to the orchestral reprise of ‘Home’, the St Albans-based trio, along with their underground playmates, are a reminder that in amongst the mainstream lust for electronica and dubstep, rock and metal will always reign supreme.
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
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
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
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
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
The second of Ballo delle Castagne’s proposed trilogy is an expansive and meticulous blend of world music.
10. Ehécatl – Ehécatl
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 Ghost – Crumbling Ghost
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. Grifter – Grifter
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. Speedwolf – Ride With Death
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 Deadbeats – Blood Lust
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.
Our music coverage continues with our Top 50 Albums of the year. The full list, including nos. 25-1, will soon follow.
Thanks for visiting and supporting Chybucca Sounds throughout the year, and we’ll return to reviews and regular updates in January.
50. Shaved Hamster – Somewhere Between Fuzzy and Clean
What started out as Stuart Jennings and Amy T Baxter’s joint project in 2009, has seen them enlist a wide circle of guest musicians, including full-time band members and ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist, Scott Putesky – a long time friend of Baxter, who helped to shape their alternative sound.
49. The Blind Shake – Seriousness
After a building a reputation as an raucious live band in their home state of Minneapolis; Seriousness does what the trio’s previous releases couldn’t: bottle their live, exhilarating sound, on a 13-track album.
48. Suplecs – Mad Oak Redux
Mad Oak Redoux is a soulful mix of crunching hard rock that documents the band’s post-Katrina angst with level-headed maturity and riotous melodies.
47. YIS – Kingdom of Fuzz
Recorded at a ‘secret location’ in Fairfield, Australia, Kingdom of Fuzz is inspired by simpler and cruder times. The Favio brothers, along with bassist Bronwyn Liroudia-Rands, turn old rockin’ clichés into modern-day slices of fast-paced guitar-crunching fun; as tales of booze-drenched nights and lost lovers are delivered with explosive, in-your-face energy.
46. SubRosa – No Help for the Mighty Ones
More captivating than cathartic; No Help for the Mighty Ones is a major statement of intent from an extremely talented quintet.
45. The :Egocentrics – Center of the Cyclone
Having earned a record deal with Nasoni Records – thanks largely to the underground success of Love Fear Choices and Astronauts – the young Romanian’s continue to churn out accomplished jams with minimal fuss.
44. Exploding Rubber Band – Exploding Rubber Band
Exploding Rubber Band live out their blues-rock fantasies, in eight brilliantly-produced tracks.
43. Iron Claw – A Different Game
The first album from Scotland’s Iron Claw, in over 35 years is tinged with irony. As young bands continue to worship the greats of yesteryear, Iron Claw was one of the greats – at least to their dedicated fan base. Welcome back chaps, we’ve missed you.
42. Radio Moscow – The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz
Channelling Cream, Hendrix and Zeppelin – and pretty much every other defining blues-rock band – The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz is all about playing vintage riffs with passion and intent. What’s not to like?
41. Electric Moon – Lunatics Revenge
Less than a year since the release of Lunatics, the German trio’s subsequent follow-up, continues to experiment with familiar psych-rock templates.
40. Ethereal Riffian – Shaman’s Visions
Relentless and hypnotic; this juxtaposing release, combines every particle in the stoner-rock galaxy, to form a concept album that is, at times, otherworldly.
39. Quaker City Night Hawks – ¡Torquila Torquila!
Described as a ‘supergroup’ by Fort Worth Weekly, ¡Torquila Torquila! is comprised of ten blistering tracks of: Memphis soul and Texan boogie. Fans of the Black Keys and the White Stripes, should take notice.
38. Heavy Glow – Midnight Moan
Hailing from San Diego, Heavy Glow’s full-length debut is a gloriously produced blast of psychedelic blues-rock and ‘70s proto-metal.
37. Jack and the Bearded Fishermen – Places to Hide
[Vouhvoue/ Impure Muzik]
By combining blistering feedback tones with countless post-rock change-ups, Jack and the Bearded Fishermen have made sure that Places to Hide is yet another post-90s success for European stoner.
36. The Skull Defekts – Peer Amid
Having spent the last five years quietly defining their experimental – and at times, brutal sound; the Swedish quartet combines droning psychedelia with post-punk anxiety; resulting in an eight-track blend of primal noise-rock.
35. Sahara Surfers – Sonar Pilot
Like its predecessor, Sonar Pilot continues to show why the Sahara Surfers’ are held in high regard. Despite being only their second album, the Austrian four-piece are masters of progressive, free-thinking jams.
34. Sea of Zyn– In the Key of Sinners
The brainchild of Jeffrey ‘Zyn’ Golzynski and Jason ‘The Reverend’ Seaman; In the Key of Sinners is a spiritual cleansing that is inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s interpretation of religion: “shake off the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are severely crouched.”
33. Coogans Bluff – Magic Bubbles
[World in Sound]
Driven by blues rock grooves and punk rock ideals; Magic Bubbles is a fantastic release, that isn’t burdened by the dictates of fashion. Avoiding the temptation to plump for a plural-noun moniker, the German quartet also shuns the culture-cycle of tight jeans and skinny jackets – the quintessence look for over-hyped revivalists. Instead, they are simply themselves – flared jeans, checked shirts and anything else that is to hand.
32. Wight – Wight Weedy Wight
Wight is the classic case of a band that has had the misfortune of being born in the wrong era. Too young to have experienced Lemmy’s crooning on Space Ritual the first time round; or the vertigo doom-blues of Aston’s finest; the young German’s have interpreted the sounds of their spiritual brothers in the form of six spellbinding jams.
31. Dangerbird – Dangerbird III
Before taking an ‘indefinite hiatus’ in October, Philadelphia’s Dangerbird, were one of the most prolific bands on SRA Records; releasing three albums in as many years, not to mention a four-way split with several local bands. III, the band’s best album to date, is punk-filled psychedelia in its purist form.
30. Queen Elephantine – Garland of Skulls
[Concrete Lo Fi]
With a running time of 35 minutes, Garland of Skulls is split into three parts: ‘Potency’, ‘Libation’ and ‘Garland of Skulls’, each of which is as downtrodden and symbolic as its predecessor; or in other words, metaphysical doom: the feeling of your mind and limbs succumbing to the state of weightlessness.
29. Ten Page Pilot – Into the Eyes of the Armed
Once in danger of becoming the forgotten sons of Dutch rock: Into the Eyes of the Armed is an adrenaline-filled rush of heavy stoner and melodic grunge.
28. Ancient River – Songs from North America
Despite being titled Songs From North America – they are from Gainesville after all – the most striking aspect of Ancient River’s best release to date, is the band’s ability to merge West Coast psychedelia with British-sounding garage: an exhilarating combination.
27. Monkey 3 – Beyond The Black Sky
Continuing to merge instrumental psych with progressive desert rock; Beyond The Black Sky is the latest addition to Monkey 3’s unblemished catalogue.
26. Barn Owl – Lost in the Glare
Lost in the Glare, Barn Owl’s second album under the guidance of Thrill Jockey, combines darkened-avant-Americana with kosmiche-filled tension; resulting in a transcendental listening experience.
25. Dali’s Llama – Howl Do You Do?
[Dali's Llama Records]
The husband and wife team of Zach and Erica Huskey abandon their trademark, down-tuned desert rock sound, in favour of pursing their “garage rock roots” for one album. Needless to say, their journey through “garageville” is an enjoyable one.
24. Granted Earth - Thermal Tide
The Californian trio put their stamp on the experimental metal genre, with 45 minutes of progressive, post-rock sludge.
23. Mississippi Bones – Mississippi Bones
The Ohio duo’s self-released debut is a record that: “makes the foot tap, the ass shake and the head bang.”
22. Idle Times – Idle Times
Seattle’s newest noise-rockers debut is enshrouded in unhinged pop and radio-friendly sound bites that will warm the hearts of alternative rock lovers.
21. Monobrow – Monobrow
Canadian instrumental rock enthusiasts Monobrow, churn out a love of powerful riff-driven psych-rock on their debut.
20. The Crystal Caravan – Against The Rising Tide
Fun-sounding seventies rock, from Sweden’s seven-man entity.
19. Kings of Frog Island – III
In comparison to previous albums, III is a much darker affair, however, like I and II the band continue to wear their influences on their sleeves.
Be it the heavy-psych rock of Cream and Blue Cheer, or the laid back fuzzed out rock of the Palm Desert, The Kings Of Frog Island manage to fuse their influences together into their own surreal universe of toads and amphibians.
18. Asteroid – II
The Örebro trio’s second album continues to push forward their laid back, blues rock sound.
17. Rotor - 4
The appropriately titled 4, is the Berlin trio’s most progressive work to date. The crisp and raucous dynamics from their previous albums are still here, but this time, they have also managed to bridge the gap between prog and stoner remarkably well.
16. Blackwolfgoat – Dragonwizardsleeve
Comprised entirely of live recordings, Blackwolfgoat showcases Darryl Shepard’s incredible vision of seeing what he could achieve with just a guitar and a few loops.
The result is a breathtaking journey that passes through: black metal, doom, drone and heavy-psych.
15. Sleestak – Skylon Express
The four-piece embrace psychedelic-metal-fused-doom, coupled with epic free-flowing instrumentals that take the listener on a cosmic journey through the ages.
14. The Magnificent Brotherhood – Dope Idiots
[MM / World In Sound / Trip In Time]
The Magnificent Brotherhood is four guys from Germany who do not take themselves seriously, which is reflected in the fun and laid back nature of this 12-track release.
Dope Idiots takes the infectious musings of 60’s garage rock kicking and screaming into 2010. Sure, this four-piece are not the first and will certainly not be the last to embrace this era (The Coral and The Zutons spring to mind) but, this is a genre that when it’s good, it’s great.
13. Sahara Surfers - Spacetrip on a Paper Plane
The Surfers debut sees the Austrian four-piece take the best bits from veteran bands on the stoner rock scene.
From the fuzzy psychedelic jams of Colour Haze, and the early robot rock of Queens of the Stone Age, Spacetrip on a Paper Plane is an engaging debut.
12. Fatso Jetson – Archaic Volumes
Led by guitar virtuoso and singer Mario Lalli, Fatso Jetson’s first album in eight years, is steeped in genre-crossing creativity.
11. Serpentina Satelite – Mecanica Celeste
South American space rockers create swirling soundscapes under the watchful eye of glowing religious traditions and textual ideologies.
Mecanica Celeste sees the spiritual five-part expanding their sound gradually, by incorporating meandering rhythms into structureless constellations.
10. Gozu – Locust Season
Locust Season filters through hard rock, stoner rock, grunge, and a few other less obvious influences, into a bludgeoning blueprint boasting the tight, instrumental discipline of heavy metal.
9. Sasquatch - III
Sasquatch’s third album, is the sound of a band that is ready to take their brand of thick 70’s rock into sold out arenas.
8. Lemon Bird – Hangman and the Jury
Hangman and the Jury sees Lemon Bird soar into the rock stratosphere, and in doing so, flying the flag for denim-clad rockers everywhere.
7. Brant Bjork – Gods and Goddesses
[Low Desert Punk]
Gods and Goddesses is straight-up, honest and righteous rock’n’roll, from everybody’s favourite low desert punk.
6. Brutus – Brutus
By evoking the spirit of Blue Cheer and Grand Funk Railroad, the Scandinavian ensemble’s self-titled debut is groovy-psychedelic-hard-rock that thankfully, doesn’t end up sounding dated.
5. Yawning Man – Normadic Pursuits
Normadic Pursuits is 40 minutes of mesmeric instrumental rock, from the legendary founders of desert rock.
4. Whores of Tijuana – Psycholongevity
Scott Reeder’s laid back production style, and the addition of bassist Sean Williams, has seen the Orange County three-piece break free from the “just another stoner band” tag, to produce an album that is full of diversity.
3. Blaak Heat Shujaa - Blaak Heat Shujaa
Describing themselves as “outcasts”, the Parisian three-piece found each other through the mutual loathing of: “cash-worshipping, cocktail-sipping conformists” that inhabit the French capital.
The result? A carefully crafted blend of dreamy neo-psychedelia and desert rock.
2. Groan - The Sleeping Wizard
Doomanoid Records’ first factory pressed release is a landmark album, not just for them, but for 21st-century British doom.
1. Ojos Rojos – Disappear
Ojos Rojos’ interpretation of psychedelia, garage and shoegaze on their sophomoric album, is at times, simply stunning. Their expansive and layered formula captures the essence of heavy-psych in its purist form. An acid-laced guitar lover’s wet dream.
Thanks to all the bands that have appeared on this list for making great albums this year.
We would also like to give honourable mentions to: Banjo Goiter, Doors To No Where, Heliotropes and The Vespertines, for putting out great EP’s.
Our music coverage for the last 12 months concludes with our list of the best albums of 2010.
First of all, a huge “thank you!” to all of the band’s and readers who have continued to support us throughout the year.
We have exciting things in the pipeline for 2011 that we feel will continue to improve our music coverage even further.
Thanks for reading, and have a great Christmas.
Now, on to the Top Albums of 2010…
50. Black Mali – Walking Dead
Walking Dead, hovers around psycho-rock, while its complimentary reflective lyrics could easily pass as a soundtrack to a low-budget gore movie, or failing that a dark, psychological fantasy.
49. Dave Wolfe Band -Smash Up Derby
[Bon Echo Records]
Smash Up Derby is the first collection of instrumental tracks put together by Toronto’s multi-instrumentalist Dave Wolfe and covers a whole host of genres, including: Americana, folk and progressive rock.
48. The Midnight Travellers – Ant Made
[Wild Punk Records]
Ant Made marked the return of The Midnight Travellers well executed formula of Spanish flavoured rock and roll.
47. Stoned Machine – Human Regression
Ravenna’s Stoned Machine is the latest band from Europe to be spearheading a stoner rock revival, having gained notoriety in Italian underground rock circles. This is a solid release with plenty of giant riffs, crisp vocals and a tight rhythm section.
46. Powerhead - Celestial Frankenstein
Celestial Frankenstein owes much of its sound to the primal rush of Fu Manchu and bong-smoking doom of Electric Wizard.
45. Albatross Overdrive - Albatross Overdrive
The Huntington Beach four-piece hint at what Black Sabbath may have sounded like had Duane Allman been on the axe. Their sound is southern, but not fried, and full-on without being pigeonholed into metal.
44. Mans Gin – Smiling Dogs
Differing on the surface from the extreme blacked metal of Cobalt, Smiling Dogs explores the darker side of Americana from a singer-songwriter prospective. It is a heartfelt collection that is both unnerving and beautiful, and reminiscent of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
43. Neon Rooks - Disease
With track titles such as: ‘Coma’, ‘Dream of Death’ and ‘No Way Back’ this was never going to win any prizes for the most uplifting release of 2010, but as a metal-come-punk-come-psychedelic-rock concept album, this ticks all the boxes.
42.Van Cleef – Where The River Meets The Rock
Channeling everything from: AC/DC, Deep Purple, Grinderman and Lynyrd Skynyrd, this ear-splitting explosion boils down to a pissed off James Hetfield jamming with The Doors.
41. Karma to Burn – Appalachian Incantation
Karma To Burn’s first studio release since reforming from their seven year hiatus in 2009, sees the West Virginia instrumental metal pioneers, return to their stoner rock roots.
40. The Muddy Reds – Mannequin
[Rolling Dead Music]
The Muddy Reds first full-length release, is a soulful take on early Rolling Stones and Robin Trower, as well as classic and southern rock.
39. Hollow Leg - Instinct
The Jacksonville duo delivers brutal high octave sludge, which is loud, proud and fierce.
38. Le Coup du Parapluie - Philosophie, Bien-être & Crimes Passionnels
The Belgian trio taps into the niche market of cinematic rock, and they are likely to attract interest from creative film makers in Europe, as well as independent record labels.
37. Honcho – Battle of Wits
Hard hitting rock from Norway’s favourite stoner rock sons. Recommended for fans of: Kyuss, Dozer, Pawnshop and Fu Manchu.
36. Zed - The Invitation
The San Jose four-piece include everything that you may have come to expect from a stoner rock album. Fuzz pedals, slow-rolling breakdowns and solid riffs.
35. Hypnos 69 - Legacy
The Belgian four-piece plays psychedelic prog rock in the tradition of: King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Causa Sui, and Siena Root.
34. Tyvek – Nothing Fits
[In The Red]
The Detroit rockers second album is a collection of rowdy and dazzling hardcore, punk-rock nuggets.
33. Timmys Organism – The Rise of the Green Gorilla
Rise of the Green Gorilla is the vision of Timmy Vulgar aka Timmy Lampinen, a man who has been blowing minds for the last decade, having been a mainstay of the Detroit punk scene.
What Timmy and his couple of degenerates have created here is a mind-blowing blast of space-rock, noise-rock, distorted-rock, psychedelic-rock, glamour-rock and laser-punk, in the shape of snarling guitar whirls and unpredictable drum patterns.
32. The White Soots – The White Soots
The Ohio three-piece keeps the spirit of 70’s rock and blues alive, with 11 well structured tracks.
31. Kingsnake – Book of Promises
Passionate blues rock from Philadelphia that is sure to drag the four-piece out of bar band obscurity.
30. Exemption – Public Cemetery Party
[Dinosaurs In Vietnam]
The New Yorkers continue to develop their progressive metal jams further on their second full-length album.
29. Black Bombaim – Saturdays and Space Travels
[Lovers & Lollipops]
The blend of sluggish metal and hazy space-rock works well, and with this release Black Bombaim have set down the marker for fellow Portuguese stoner rock bands to beat.
28. Electric Wizard – Black Masses
[Rise Above Records]
Another solid release which shows that Electric Wizard’s shadow still looms dark over the entire doom universe.
27. Quest for Fire – Lights from Paradise
[Tee Pee Records]
Quest For Fires’ sophomore album is: raucous, texturally rich, and whimsical.
26. Skånska Mord – The Last Supper
[Small Stone Recordings]
The Last Supper is steeped in 70`s tradition, as early Sabbath, Purple and Rainbow, can all be heard on this release.
The five-part manages to keeps the retro vibe flowing, while ditching the deliberatly dated production values that are favored by other revivalists.