Let’s start 2018 with the Fuzziest album of 2017 !
This is already the 4th Top Albums of the Year I’m writing on this blog (2014, 2015, 2016 here), and each year it’s at the same time a very pleasant and difficult moment. Though this year I chose to follow my guts, put out a list of 10 or so album right of my mind, the ones that stroke me the most, then completed it by looking at my Music Library, and voilà. No back and forth, just followed my intuition, and damn it felt so easier doing it that way
Now what’s interesting is not only looking at my Top, but also the ones from all the other More Fuzz team members, because we each have our own tastes, and that’s what makes this fuzzy scene so captivating. The music diversity in this scene is so vast, yet it unites all of us under the same love for this kind of music.
I also encourage every fuzzer to keep digging for gems by themselves, be it by reading this blog, other awesome blogs, Bandcamp feed, Youtube channels, FB groups… That’s where the magic happens, when you find a band that truly hits you deep into your soul, you’re just happy you found something new that resonates with you.
Like every year, this Top is also the perfect time to say thanks to all the new & past fuzzers who interacted with us during this year. Please keep taking the time to send us messages, commenting on Facebook or anywhere, it REALLY means a lot to all of us in the More Fuzz team. Seeing a “like” is cool, but reading a comment, and replying to it, is just 666x more satisfying.
The highlight of this year was of course the successful More Fuzz Records crowdfunding campaign we launched with Mr. Stone. Thanks to you we realized one of our dreams, release amazing music from talented and passionate musicians on wax. We can’t wait to get our hands on the final records. It shouldn’t be for long now, as we’re supposed to get them this January, and so that means very soon for you too fuzzers ! Let’s hope this is only the beginning and that 2018 will bring more wonderful releases for More Fuzz Records.
And now it’s time for Rock ‘n’ Roll !
It’s time to show you what I think
is la crème de la crème in terms of fuzzy music…
Let’s discover my favorite releases of 2017 !
Top 20 Albums of 2017
20 : Geezer – Psychoriffadelia
Geezer is again back in my Top this year, and they totally deserve it. Pat, Richie & Turco really have their own touch they keep on nurturing with each release : a solid blues base which gets melted with sick heavy riffs and the perfect dose of psychedelia. Headbanging in the clouds while sipping a good bottle of whiskey, that’s Geezer.
Seeing them for the first time at this year Freak Valley Festival was also a real pleasure, they are lovely dudes and their gig was clearly one of the highlights of the fest!
19 : Mt. Mountain – Dust
Australia’s Psych Rock Mt. Mountain has been on my radar since their first EP in 2014, but I must admit I really listened to this year’s Dust a lot more than their other releases. Indeed, these guys had the ballz to put their title track of 17 minutes right at beginning of the album. And god this track is something you need to listen if you haven’t done so already. A unique psychedelic piece which builds very slowly in the beginning, with just a few droney sounds and a few guitar strums, some light tribal drums, and suddenly exploding around the 9-minute mark, with a slow and heavy riffs, backed by enchanting guitar melodies and vocals.
The 3 other tracks are in the same vibe, inviting you into an introspective journey inside your own mind… What an atmosphere! Go have a listen and see for yourself fuzzers 🙂
18 : Supersoul – Faith Bender
For a debut album, this Athenian power-trio hit really hard ! Yeah fuzzers, 14 tracks The majority of them are pure Rock’n’Roll bangers, while a few are calm transtion songs. With influences ranging from Crobot, Planet Of Zeus, The Black Keys or The Picturebooks you’re in for a treat.
They have that burning energy, they have THE fuzz, they have that bluesy groove, they have great catchy vocals, what are you waiting for ? Click the godamn play button now !
17 : Six Sigma – Tuxedo Brown
Tuxedo Brown is a 16 years old album from a New Jersey band (who started even before than that) that was left dormant, never released to the public. Luckily for us, Six Sigma decided to take it off the dusty shelve and release it in 2017!
Excerpt from my original review : “Six Sigma definitely has a Retro-touch and a love for all things bluesy. Most of the songs have a high “Temperature Level”, a terrific groove that is always present which will make you move your ass or at least your head !”
Get Groovy !
16 : Snowy Dunes – Atlantis
Following up on their 2015 debut album, the Stockholm based 4-piece came back this year with Atlantis, an excellent piece of Psychedelic Rock routed in a 70’s style, most definitely my favorite record released this year in that genre.
Snowy Dunes is magically led by their frontman Niklas, who has, let’s not be afraid of words, a fuckin’ amazing singing talent, the man is really possessed by the music! Of course the 3 other guys build the perfect foundations for Niklas to shine at every moment. Between enchanting and more psychedelic parts to heavier and more bluesy riff-oriented ones, their music is full of lights & shades, a true psychedelic journey crafted by talented musicians.
15 : Stone From The Sky – Fuck The Sun
Even if Mr. Stone is friend with them for a long time, he only told me about Stone From The Sky at the beginning of the year. I was instantly hooked the first time I listened to Fuck The Sun. Their approach is really interesting : Post-Rock guitar melodies that get melted with Heavy Psych fuzzy riffage. A mix working amazingly well, it brings some freshness to the crowded Heavy Psych scene.
Inviting them to play for our first More Fuzz Party in our hometown was also a highlight of this year. We were quite proud of the cohesive lineup we put up, 3 Heavy-Psych bands, Stone From The Sky, More Fuzz Records’ Decasia, and crazy jammers Domadora, each bringing their own style, let’s hope we’ll do another gig like this one in 2018 🙂
14 : Steak – No God To Save
Looking for THE Stoner Rock release of the year ? Look no further than Steak latest album.
No God To Save is packed with killer tunes, even if it doesn’t sound new and original, sometimes it feels good to remind you what really is STONER ROCK.
What ?! You’re reading this blog and you don’t know the secret recipe for making a great Stoner Rock album ? Let me refresh your mind : colossal riffs that’ll break your neck when headbanging, a huge dose of FUZZ (because we always need More Fuzz), a sprinkle of psychedelic flavor, burning guitar solos, and let’s not forget powerful and angry vocals. That’s it you have it fuzzers !
Well in fact I lied to you fuzzers… You don’t only need the recipe to make a great Stoner Rock album. You may know the ingredients, but only a few bands know how to make it taste to perfection. And guess what? Steak lives up to its name, and clearly knows how to cook a killer Stoner Rock album.
13 : Orango – The Mules Of Nana
Norwegian Orango is already an established band with more than 10 years of existence. But I just discovered them this year with The Mules Of Nana.
I instantly fell in love with their soulful Retro Rock in the vein of their Swedish counterpart Graveyard. Though don’t take me wrong, these guys clearly have their own identity, disseminating their skillful bluesy groove with ease.
I loved their show at Freak Valley Festival this year, go catch them on tour if you can !
12 : DVNE – Asheran
I knew this one was going to be different right from the first track I listened. DVNE is one those band that doesn’t really tie to one genre, they mix a lot of elements from Post-Metal, Prog-Metal, Doom, Sludge and more… The nearest comparison would be Mastodon, though again, they managed to forge their own sound.
I really enjoy the wide variety of heaviness you can find in this album, the complexity in the song-writing is amazing, each member has a lot of music skill, it’s an epic journey that’ll please the fuzzers who like when the fuzz forms a mosaic of melodic sounds with many layers.
11 : Red Scalp – Lost Ghosts
Polish Red Scalp stepped up their game with Lost Ghosts. This album is a real Heavy-Psych gem that flows so easily. Monolithic heaviness coming from the rhythm section and stunning double guitar work makes it an instant choice for my Top. They even added some crazy horns section, it’s just pure epicness !
10 : Elder – Reflections Of A Floating World
Talking about epicness, Elder is most certainly above everybody else. Even if I must admit this one didn’t strike me as much as Lore, one needs to recognize these guys are gods.
Elder prove once again they’re master at their craft, the novelty effect we got with Lore may have vanished now, but it didn’t stop them to still expand their strong identity. The addition of Mike Risberg as a 4th member may have helped to achieve this. Indeed Reflections Of A Floating World has some parts with keyboard or pedal steel guitar, adding a few more layers to the already well-furnished sonic soundscape of Elder.
I must also say Elder is for me one of the band I never get bored to see live. I do get bored of some other bands when it’s the 5th time I’m seeing them. But with Elder it’s just a unique experience every time, my mind gets blown during each of their gigs, like if it was the first time I saw them!
9 : Stonehenge – Mild Thing
Those who know me well know I’m a sucker for uber-groovy music like Funk. Well Stonehenge may not be funk, but they have THAT groove which will make my head move instantly.
Last year I placed another German band at the 2nd position, it was Wight, well Stonehenge clearly plays in the same field while still offering a unique sound : a 70’s sounding Heavy Rock base which gets melted with many more influences like modern Heavy-Psych, Prog Rock, Krautrock…
Each song has its own atmosphere, showing the wide variety of skills from all the musicians. Each one of them excels with his instrument, you can feel these guys truly love the music art in itself.
Please give them a chance, Stonehenge’s music is waaaaaay more interesting than that simple album cover 😉
8 : The Age Of Truth – Threshold
Are you craving for a huge dose of heaviness while still being able to boost your energy for the whole day ? The Age Of Truth got you covered. Right from the first notes of this album, I can guarantee you’ll start nodding your head and your face will change to a similar expression like Phil’s one below :
I really enjoy those massive fuzzy riffs, those strong vocals with killer melodies that get stuck in your head so easily, the diversity in the songwriting that makes it an interesting album to listen to from start to finish.
Threshold is a debut album that sounds like it’s coming from an old band which already has a lot of experience, kudos to them for making such an awesome piece of Heavy Rock.
7 : Sasquatch – Maneuvers
Daaaaammmmn it’s been since 2013 we haven’t heard a new Sasquatch album! But I’m glad they took their time, because the very first Stoner Rock band I discovered put out a KICKASS album, better than their previous one in my own opinion.
Their recipe hasn’t changed since their debut album : write the catchiest Stoner Rock songs they can. That guitar fuzz tone is so delicious, those bass rumbles, the hard-hitting drums, those memorable vocals… Aaaah a real eargasm!
Funny story about this album: Sasquatch played in my hometown this July, the gig was awesome. At the end of the show I went to the merch table to see which vinyl I could add to my collection. I was sure I didn’t already have their debut album, my favorite, so I bought it. Back at home, I realized I already had it! I love that album so much that I thought I couldn’t leave the venue without buying it… I should have bought Maneuvers haha!
6 : Joss Jeffersøn – Ylem
Coming from Spain, Joss Jeffersøn is a new band featuring musicians from other great bands like Pyramidal, Rosy Finch, Mons and Horizon.
This instrumental psychedelic concept album is an amazing piece of art. Not only the music in itself is marvelous, but they are offering a unique experience that goes along with it : a story you can read in a PDF if you buy the album.
Yes, the whole album tells a story, and each song is a part of that sweet story you can follow along as you listen to it. What a clever and innovative idea !
5 : Taiga Woods – Selftitled
Aaaaaahhhh something quite refreshing in the Stoner Rock world ! I really fell in love with Taiga Woods debut album, it just ticked all the boxes of a killer release.
You’ll get 7 songs of highly energetic Stoner Rock with plenty of powerful fuzzy riffs, but where it gets special is certainly with the vocals. High-pitched and really catchy, I even dare to say they sound quite “poppish” sometimes!
Think of Taiga Wood as a mix between The Hellacopters, Greenleaf and QOTSA. Another debut album that totally deserves its place in my Top!
4 : Hair Of The Dogs – This World Turns
Mos Generator finally has a competitor in my favorites Heavy Rock bands!
This Scottish trio released a superb 3rd album, blending so well classic NWOBHM vibes with modern fuzz sounds, a real banger from start to finish.
Melodic heavy riffage, impressive tight drumming, stunning 70’s-style vocals, I tell you fuzzers, Hair Of The Dogs will make yo asses movin’ ! Be careful not to spill your Guinness pint everywhere… Oh well fuck it, it’s Rock’n’Roll !
3 : Mother Engine – Hangar
3rd album from the German Heavy-Psych band, 3rd time they blow my mind.
4 songs above the 18-minutes mark, 4 songs which show they’re currently among the best bands in that genre.
Fuzzers be ready for a time-bending trip inside the new Mother Engine spaceship, a magical experience with top-notch songwriting and sound production, let’s go space travel !
2 : Toke – Orange
HEAVIEST & NASTIEST SHIT I HEARD THIS YEAR :O
I didn’t know those guys before, but I got instantly hooked by Toke’s 2nd album.
Call it Stoner-Doom, call it Sludge, call it whatever you want, this release is so filthy, like if every notes were a mammoth-sized cockroach that is trying to drag you down inside his burrow!
Just pure heaviness right into your face, I don’t want to imagine myself during one of their gigs, seeing how I’m already turning into a wicked beast in front of my speakers..!
1 : Telekinetic Yeti – Abominable
And here it is, my favorite album is from the duo Telekinetic Yeti, a Stoner-Doom bomb that’ll destroy your brain with its massive FUZZ sound.
One would think being 2 limits the possibilities to sound different. Well, Telekinetic Yeti prove the contrary by dropping a release with such a distinctive sound signature, especially on the guitar (yes indeed it’s kinda hard to sound thaaat different with drums…). Indeed Alex Baumann masters his axe like no other, the loudness is impressive, the fuzz buzz is so strong, and add to that a secret element I can’t yet define, certainly a pedal that acts like if the sound was multiplied in a magnetic onslaught of fuzz. Freakin’ cool! On top of that crushing heaviness, you’ll also find the right level of calmer & trippier parts with lots of delay.
Telekinetic Yet’s music feels like being right in the middle of a volcano eruption, molten lava flowing on your skin while you’re watching that blazing and unstoppable show from mother Earth.
Bonus point : that killer cover is made by the Frenchy Antoine from Headbang Design, who also did our Follow The Smoke T-Shirt
Honourable Mentions by Atmosphere Levels
Like last year I chose not to mention the More Fuzz Records releases in my Top 20, it wouldn’t “feels right”. So I mention it here because I still think you guys should have a listen to Decasia latest EP “The Lord Is Gone”, a Heavy-Psych gem with such a unique atmosphere.
By Fat Level
Hey Satan – Selftitled
Greenbeard – Lödarödböl
High Reeper – Selftitled
Dopelord – Children Of The Haze
Vinnum Sabbathi – Gravity Works
By Purple Haze Level
Samsara Blues Experiment – One With The Universe
Papir – V
Colour Haze – In Her Garden
Causa Sui – Vibraciones Doradas
The Flying Eyes – Burning The Season
All Them Witches – Sleeping Through The War
By Temperature Level
Ball – Selftitled
Cloud Catcher – Trails Of Kozmik Dust
Ignu – Lightningflash Flintspark
The Atomic Bitchwax – Forcefield
Mothership – High Strangeness
Top Concerts of 2017
Wight @ DesertFest Berlin
Graveyard @ DesertFest Belgium
Church Of Misery @ DesertFest Belgium
Mother Engine @ DesertFest Berlin
16 @ DesertFest Belgium
Lowrider Special Set @ DesertFest Berlin
Geezer @ Freak Valley Festival
The Great Machine @ Freak Valley Festival
Samsara Blues Experiment @ Le Ferrailleur
Sasquatch @ Le Ferrailleur
The Atomic Bitchwax @ La Scene Michelet
and many many more, but I already listed too much of them…