2018: The year psychedelia expands beyond comfortable formula, traveling deeply into experimental realms that hearken back to music’s creative heyday of the early 1970’s. Without further ado, let’s get right into the list.
1. Our Solar System – “Origins” (Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records)
Cosmic jazz tinged psychedelia captivating one upon first listen while catapulting humanity into stratospheres beyond realms sonically realized.
*Top Track: Babalon Rising
2. The Myrrors – “Borderlands” (Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records)
The cream of the crop for this listener, get reeled into your own mind as you take a kraut fused space trip through the desert.
*Top Track: Note From the Underground
3. Oh Sees – “Smote Reverser” (Castle Face Records)
The Oh Sees dropped the ‘Thee’ on their precious record, “Orc,” and now have dropped ‘The’ on this continued expansion into experimental prog vibes that remain comfortable enough to legalistic listener’s with that familiar Oh Sees sound.
*Top Track: Beat Quest
4. Dreamweapon – “Sol” (Fuzz Club Records)
Mind bending krautrock that both make you move and send you off into deep introspection with a ride in the rocket through the vast frontier of space.
*Top Track: Monte da Virgem
5. Brian Jonestown Massacre – “Something Else” (A Records)
That classic sound makes a long awaited return on this record. Old listeners shall not be disappointed and new ones will begin to understand what the fuss was all about.
*Top Track: Psychic Lips
6. Vive la Void – “Vive la Void” (Sacred Bones Records)
Atmospheric synth driven krauty psych jams with drive from the Misses that is the other half of Moon Duo.
*Top Track: Red Rider
7. JJUUJJUU – “Zionic Mud” (Dine Alone Records)
Yet another top record from a band that has begun to master its psychedelic krautrock fore with droning ‘move and groove’ rhythm which happily invites you to forget where the fuck you are.
*Top Track: Bleck
8. Holy Wave – “Adult Fear” (The Reverberation Appreciation Society)
Unbelievably wonderfully comforting psychedelic reverberated pop with an underlying pleasant atmosphere that sends chills down the spine.
*Top Track: Nation in Regress
9. Wooden Shjips – “V” (Sacred Bones Records)
5 years between records and the band returns to familiar territory on the first half and slow things down and away from the drone on the second … telling of things to come?
*Top Track: Eclipse
10. Dead Meadow – “The Nothing They Need” (XEMU Records)
Heavy psych riff maestros come back to action with traversing through headspace sounds that beg for contemplation.
*Top Track: Unsettled Dust
11. Kikagaku Moyo – “Masana Temples” (Guruguru Brain Records)
Pastoral psychedelia with heavy Eastern influence and we’re not just talking Japanese as their background suggests.. Think of sitting under a tree near an animal activated waterfront on that warm spring day. Yes, winter is behind us and now it’s time to enjoy the life brought forth by death. It’s kind of like that. *One of the best live performances I saw in 2018, if not THEE best.
*Top Track: Nazo Nazo
12. Spiritualized – “And Nothing Hurt” (Fat Possum Records)
For the first time ever in the history of Jason “Spaceman” Pierce’s history engineering Spiritualized, the band goes away from the analog, live orchestral vibes in favor for the more cost effective digital oblivion methodology. …and the results are fucking fantastic!
*Top Track: I’m Your Man
13. Ty Segall – “Freedom’s Goblin” (Drag City Records)
Double LP covering the gambit from his previous styles (Garage, emotional acoustic ballads, glam, fuzz), Ty remains forever prolific with his hands in a multitude of cookie jars year after year with said projects all quality, including this one.
*Top Track: My Lady’s on Fire
14. Dungen and Woods – “003” (Mexican Summer Records)
A collaboration I could have not foreseen has an element of psy-folk meets avant-garde action that melds the heady experimental Swedish proggy Dungen sound with the psychedelic jam action of Brooklyn’s Woods.
*Top Track: Turn Around
15. Jacco Gardner – “Somnium” (Polyvinyl Record Company, Excelsior Recordings)
With a release near Thanksgiving, Jacco was a late player in 2018 but still managed to work his way up the list quickly due to this amazingly beautiful instrumental masterpiece that is heavy in 80’s soundtrack vibes almost in that John Carpenter (for a couple of moments) or even Vangelis realm. I bet this one will be top 3-5 as I further my immersion into the record as 2019 progresses.
*Top Track: Eclipse
16. Sunday’s and Cybele – “On the Grass” (Guruguru Brain Records)
The band make no bones about it. This is pure homage to Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. In no way, shape or form does this fantastic release steal from the sound, something that can be a bit on the tired side if it were the case, but the band gains inspiration and performs influenced takes of early 1970’s progression that lean to the Germanic side of the moon, but straight out of Japan.
*Top Track: Burning Flag
17. A Place to Bury Strangers – “Pinned” (Dead Oceans Records)
To put it this way, A Place to Bury Strangers would of fit in perfectly in the early days of Alan McGee’s Creation Records label out of London, England in the mid to late 80’s with the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Primal Scream. Modern takes on those vibes while bringing their own brand of originality all together.
*Top Track: There’s Only One of Us
18. Psychic Lemon – “Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay” (Tonzonen Records)
Psychic Lemon list Amon Duul II as a chief influence, so there isn’t any confusion about their brand of progressive psychedelic krautrock .
*Top Track: Interstellar Fuzz Star
19. Death Valley Girls – “Darkness Rains” (Suicide Squeeze Records)
Psychedelic garage with a hint of dark progression which (the progression elements) hearken back to the witchcraft explorations of 70’s lore. Again, the psych formula is manifesting and the safe confines of reverb soaked surf sounds are getting left in the dust (For better or worse).
*Top Track: TV in Jail on Mars
20. Rafael Toral, Hugo Antunes, João Pais Filipe & Ricardo Webbens – “Space Quartet” (Clean Feed Records)
Insane avant-garde free jazz from leftfield. This record is something to behold for jazz and fusion heads as well as people that love inspiring sounds that push your norm beyond with the challenge of sound and progression changes.
*Top Track: Lisboa 1
21. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Wrong Creatures” (Vagrant Records)
The band’s first effort in 5 years is a sprawling double vinyl release that hits on many styles and emotions, but with a recurring theme: Somber. Wonderfully somber.
*Top Track: Question of Faith
22. The KVB – “Only Now Forever” (Invada Records)
Shoegazed Post punk outfit pushes even further into the neo-wave/dark wave realms of the early 1980’s.
*Top Track: Only Now Forever
23. Magic Shoppe – “In Parallel” (Little Cloud Records, Cardinal Fuzz Records)
A psychedelic exploration into the darker sounds of the shoegaze realm. Great post-apocalyptic atmosphere.
*Top Track: Fuckstrated
24. Marc Edwards / Mick Barr Duo – “The Bowels of Jupiter” (Sleeping Giant Glossolalia Records)
This record blows my mind! Pure experimentation that can fall into the jazz realm. Mick Barr is an Avant-garde metal guitarist and Marc Edwards is like a rebirthing of Alphonse Mouzon, the speedy and technical jazz fusion drummer. So that’s what I get on their jam pieces. Jazz Fusion in a duo. Un Fucking Real. …then you have the trippy sound experimentation shit in between chaos.
*Top Track: Molten Lava
25. Lighted Zone – “Eastern Migrations” (Family Audio Recordings)
A side project, amongst others, of one of my personal favorite neo-psych artists, Jason Edmonds of Magic Castles. A cassette only release, this album hits on many styles ranging from neo-psych to experimental to Kurt Vile(esque) singer/song writer action.
*Top Track: Aquitaine
26. La Luz – “Floating Features” (Hardly Art Records)
Sun soaked surfy reverb vibes keep the pop psych sound of the 1960’s alive with wonderful female harmony.
*Top Track: Mean Dream
27. L’Eclair – “Polymood” (Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records)
Straight out of a 1970’s Blaxploitation cinema soundtrack. I’m just going to leave that right there.
*Top Track: Sisi La Fami
28. Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe – “S/T” (A Records)
Anton Newcombe’s female protégé has the perfect rock and roll raspy voice to capture Anton’s pysch grit angst fueled yet tempo tempered reverberation. Tess further saturates you into the murk with dirty almost quaaludeded out whales that almost beg you to come resuscitate.
*Top Track: Right On
29. Drinks – “Hippo Lite” (Drag City Records)
A more focused effort than their debut, Tim Presley (White Fence) and Cate Le Bon (Solo Art Rock artist) have put together quite the whimsical art piece that actually progress the concept.
*Top Track: Real Outside
30. GOGGS – “Pre-Strike Sweep” (In the Red Records)
Fuzzed out, in your face garage jams with Ty Segall on the kit.
*Top Track: Vanity
31. The Vertigo Swirl – “Reversible/elbisreveR”
A phenomenal trip through progressive 1970’s psychedelia with expansive soundscapes and leftfield experimentation, this listener gets a heavy Tim Blake electronic feel which, from me, is an ultimate compliment.
*Top Track: A Familiar Dance During an Alien Sunset
32. Sleep – “The Sciences” (Third Man Records)
Basically the first Sleep record in 20 years, the masters of the stoner riff and rhythm returned with pipes-a-blazing green soaked heavy high jams and released, ever so appropriately, on 4-20 on Jack White’s Third Man Records label.
*Top Track: Sonic Titan
33. Surfbort – “Friendship Music” (Fat Possum Records)
Both Ryan and I saw these guys open for The Black Lips on Halloween and were mind bent. Great punk attitude and an antagonistic quality that I thought to be forever lost in a genre that had been dead to me since 1985 with very few in between exceptions. The assumption was that there would be good punk again due to the Trump administration strangleholding liberal sanity. Looks like we were correct in that assumption.
*Top Track: Les Be In Love
Top EP of 2018 (1/3)
1/3. Mazzy Star – “Still”
A return to form for Mazzy’s brand of driving in a convertible down an American desert highway on a road to nowhere vibes.
*Top Track: Quiet, The Winter Harbor
Top Record Label of 2018:
Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records. https://beyondbeyondisbeyondrecords.bandcamp.com/
Year after year, Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records continue to outdo themselves with an insane lineup roster that release top quality records with music that continues to push the envelope beyond the norm as their namesake suggests.