Let’s start 2019 with the Fuzziest albums of 2018 !
Aaaaaand here we are again, my 5th Top for the blog, once again a difficult task, once again too many awesome albums released this past year, but once again this means the fuzzy scene is stronger than ever!
We all know a lot of big bands released really good albums this year, but I decided to give the spotlight to some smaller bands in my Top this year. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have been there, every one of these releases deserves their spot.
This top really portraits the best music released this year IN my own tastes. I’m not covering the whole scene and I’m not trying to please everyone. For the experienced fuzzer you certainly already know that’s how we do it at More Fuzz, but I just wanted to say it clearly for the newcomers. Don’t hesitate to check out the Tops from the other members of the team if my tastes don’t quite fit with yours
As always thanks to every fuzzers for sticking around and supporting us, as always thanks to my team of talented and passionate contributors for keeping the fuzz alive, but most of all thanks to THE BANDS, to the musicians, who produce those pieces of art that make our life better. My life would be pointless without music, so thank you.
This year we released one album we’re really proud of with More Fuzz Records, from the French Red Sun Atacama, thanks to everyone who listened to it, and even more a big thanks to those who bought a digital or physical copy! We already have a new fuzzy release scheduled for early 2019, stay tuned, you gonna love it
We also started doing the Diggin’ The Fuzz episodes with Mr. Stone, the first one with the French band ORS (watch here), the 2nd one on the Guernesey Island with Brunt & Lord Vapour (watch here), the 3rd one which still hasn’t been published (I can only blame myself for that…) with the Portuguese Astrodome. I just recently did only the 360° video part in Mexico City with 4 killer bands, Vinuum Sabbathi, Cardiel, Terror Cosmico & Dia de Muertos, stay tuned for that one it’ll be epic!
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 2018 !
Top 20 Albums of 2018
20 : Red Sun Atacama – Licancabur
For Fans Of : Kyuss, Unida, Truckfighters, The Atomic Bitchwax, The Stooges
Last years I didn’t want to include our own More Fuzz Records releases in my Top because it wouldn’t feel “fair”. Well, fuck it. Licancabur is really one of my favorite album of 2018 and so it’ll sit here at the 20th spot (honestly I could have placed it higher, but let’s be “fair” ).
These guys are my friends in real life, and I’m so happy they trusted us to release their debut album. It’s a little bomb of fuzziness, at the same time really gritty with its fast-paced stonerized punk side and on the other side some mind-bending psychedelic parts. If you still haven’t listened to it (really ?) go NOW!
19 : Plainride – Life On Ares
For Fans Of : Orange Goblin, Clutch
This is the 2nd album from this Cologne, Germany band made of 4 rock’n’rawl freeks! Like their debut, it was released on the renowned Californian label Ripple Music, and well, indeed their whiskey-soaked Heavy Rock totally fits with the spirit of the label.
To me it’s a real step-up for Plainride, still the same energy, but I hear more confidence, more “skill” in their sound, congrats boys!
This is exactly the kind of album that would be suited for the end of a heavily boozy night, you know shirtless, a glass in hand, headbanging, mosh-pitting in front of the stage. Yeah. I’d totally see myself doing that.
18 : Fuzzy Grass – 1971
For Fans Of : Jimi Hendrix, Radio Moscow
I loooove when my own country gives birth to new killer bands, and Fuzzy Grass is indeed one of them.
So yeah, these French guys really blew me away. With such an album name you can’t go wrong with the style of their music : we’re deep down into that retro 70’s sound! Yes I’m talking about that huge bluesy influence, those acidic psychedelic vibes, but most of all that energetic groove dude!
I’m especially in awe listening to Laura’s guitar-playing style, that chick can play That fuzzy tone is fire, those crazy wah-wah powered Hendrixian solos, and once again that goddamn GROOVE!
I never had the opportunity to see them live, I hope this album will help them tour everywhere around Europe in 2019, and maybe I’ll be able to shake my little ass on those banger tunes
17 : Somali Yacht Club – The Sea
For Fans Of : Elder, Colour Haze, Weedpecker
Somali Yacht Club took 4 years to drop a new album after their debut “The Sun”, a long time, but it was worth it in my opinion. Like I said in my review of The Sea, the level of work put into this release is truly amazing.
Cloaking at 53 minutes it’s a real trip into unknown Heavy-Psych territories, where I recommend you to let your mind be absorbed by those sonic soundscapes & wonderful melodies. You’ll come out of it as a changed human being, yup. ?
16 : Crypt Trip – Rootstock
For Fans Of : Grand Funk Railroad, James Gang, Led Zeppelin, The Allaman Brothers
Back to 70’s Rock’n’Roll with the Texan power trio Crypt Trip! There is indeed every ingredient to make you think this album could have been released the same year as Grand Funk Railroad 1969’s “Grand Funk” : crazy bluesy guitar licks, wah-wah driven solos, thumping bass lines, tight drumming, delicious organs, sensual manly vocals, yuuuuush!
15 : Demonauta – Temaukel, the spirit before time
For Fans Of : Kyuss, Steak, Monkey3
The 2nd time I’m featuring the papas of the South American Stoner Rock in my top albums. I mean these guys are celebrating their 10 years anniversary this year, they just get it, they have been forging their own sound since then, while still being very accessible for ANY fuzz lover.
And talking about fuzz, man that guitar tone ? The riffs are so intense, so powerful, so nasty, it’s fuzzalicious ! And I’m not even talking about the wah-wah-powered solos and the trippy parts, hmmmmm yes, give me more!
14 : Liquid Silk – Highest Mountain
For Fans Of : Wight, Stonehenge, Rotor
Outch! Another German band which surprised me so much with this release. I’m following Liquid Silk since their debut EP, and this debut album is such a huge step-up and a marvelous piece of music!
This new wave of German Heavy 70’s Proggish Rock bands is really an amazing thing happening, I already told you in my other Top Albums how I love so much Wight & Stonehenge, well you can now add Liquid Silk to the list.
Each song has unique and diverse songwriting, complex, melodic, with a wide range of influences, melting old school 70’s proggish rhythms with more modern Heavy Psych sonorities. Difficult to explain with words how awesome this album is, but trust me, press the play button right now !
13 : REZN – Calm Black Water
For Fans Of : Elephant Tree, Sleep
I did not necessarily listen a lot to REZN previous album from last year, even if it got a lot of praises from the fuzzy scene, yeah you know sometimes it’s difficult to listen to everything! But this year when I saw the Chicago based band released a second opus I couldn’t let it pass. And DAMN, I did right ! Their sound just “clicks” with me.
Massive fuzzy heaviness, melted with a mystical atmosphere thanks to ethereal vocals and some deep ambient psychedelic parts. One of those albums that flows in your ears so easily, like hot maple syrup on your pancakes, or your girlfriend’s butt, or both at the same time.
12 : Messa – Feast for Water
For Fans Of : Windhand, Haunted, Black Capricorn
You guys know by now Doom is not my genre of predilection, so yes, this is going to be the only release in my Top in that genre. Though you’ll hear that what these Italian produced goes way beyond the traditional “doom” tag-name, and as a whole, just a very unique sound, something which I think, and I repeat myself, every band should seek : originality in their art.
So Messa has first and foremost a dark atmosphere attached to each of their songs, and this is certainly why they are being categorized as “Doom”. But this brooding vibe does not only come from the heaviness of the devilish fuzzy riffs, or Sara’s sumptuous and bewitching voice. No, there are also some other distinctive influences which are sprinkled in there. The most obvious one to me is pure and simple blues, but one can hear jazzy, proggish patterns, or even some black metal parts.
A 2nd album reaffirming even more their sound, let’s see what Messa will come up with for their 3rd one, maybe imposing themselves as a prime act of the Doom Metal scene. And I’m honestly not surprised these guys have already been announced to play at Roadburn 2019, it’s the perfect band for this eclectic festival!
11 : Astrodome – II
For Fans Of : Causa Sui, Papir, Samsara Blues Experiment
A sumptuous 2nd album from these Portuguese guys, and as I said in my original review, we can feel a lot more thoughtful work has been put into making this one. Each song feels richer, fuller, taking you into their own Heavy-Psych dimension from the start to the end of the album.
Astrodome also has a special place in my heart because I spent 2 weeks with them last March. First by following them on tour for a few dates, and then hanging out with the guys in their hometown in Porto. Super nice and funny dudes, I’ll forever remember my time with them! Unfortunately, I still didn’t finish editing the Diggin’ The Fuzz episode I shot while I was there, I feel so bad about this, but maybe it’ll see the light in 2019!
10 : Ruff Majik – Seasons
For Fans Of : White Stripes, Iggy Pop, Fuzz, Royal Blood, Wolfmother, Black Keys
The South African trio released Seasons as a compilation of their 4 previous EPs released between 2017 & 2018. So technically those tracks were not only released in 2018, but I really like the concept of this whole thing, and most importantly their music is freakin’ good!
You’ll be treated with 12 very varied tracks, it’s Stoner Rock but way more than that. Ruff Majik will bring you into their own crazy universe made of raw fuzz tones, hammering blast beats, twangy vocals, bluesy vibes, really unique in the end, one just need to listen to it to believe it!
9 : Mt. Mountain – Golden Rise
For Fans Of : Causa Sui, Papir, Monomyth
2nd year in a row I place these Aussies in my Top, this time with an even higher rank than in 2017. Yes, because Mt. Mountain truly deserves it, with Golden Rise they are now trusting the top spots in my favorite Psych bands.
They manage to produce that kind of transcendental bright atmosphere for the entire duration of the album, the songwriting is just so mesmerizing, they excel at creating captivating melodies while building layers of different cosmic soundscapes.
A totally hypnotic & introspective voyage in the corners of your own mind if you dare to listen to it without doing anything else than actually enjoying the trip. See you on the other side fuzzers…
8 : Hashteroid – Selftitled
For Fans Of : The Shrine, The Atomic Bitchwax, Motorhead, Fu Manchu, Mutoid Man
Clearly the most energetic, enraged album in my list! Like I said in my review, these guys totally blow up the Temperature Level!
Fast-paced Stoner Rock with that big punkish side, the kind of album I recommend you to listen to first thing in the morning if you missed your alarm or if you’re still feeling sleepy, I can promise it’ll wake you up! Or, other option, listen to Hashteroid late in the night, while partying hard. Moshpit guaranteed, Let’s have fun and break some of your friends’ noses
7 : Weedpecker – III
For Fans Of: Elder, Somali Yacht Club
I’ve been diggin’ these Polish guys since their debut album in 2013, I placed their 2nd one in my top of 2016, and 2 years after they drop this little bomb in January of 2018. What a better way to start the year huh ?
With this 3rd release Weedpecker truly lives up to the name of the genre “Heavy Psych” : Heavy at its roots but deeply atmospheric and dreamy in its branches. Add to that an epic proggish Elder-like tint and you get III.
A wonderful release where your mind will be filled with surreal and heavenly landscapes… Please God, I want this as the soundtrack of my death when I’ll see the light!
6 : Dommengang – Love Jail
For Fans Of : Endless Boogie, Fever Dog, Mount Carmel, All Them Witches, Orango, Mountain, King Buffalo, Ecstatic Vision, Golden Void
One of my most played album in early 2018, Dommengang is a power-trio from LA playing a really interesting kind of Rock’n’Roll.
Mixing several influences, sometimes in a single song itself, you can go from groovy 70’s fuzzy blues to some more trippy psychedelia, also passing by calmer Americana vibes with Hammond orgue. And as Mr. Slab Riffjaw said in his review, that bass purring is present during the whole album, and it’s soooo damn delicious to your ears!
Quite a difficult album to describe honestly, it’s so varied and very original, you’ll have to make up your own mind on this one fuzzers, but trust me, it’s worth the try !
5 : Lord Vapour – Semuta
For Fans Of : Black Sabbath, Geezer
Even if this album officially came out in early December, I’ve been blasting this album since we met with the Lord Vapour guys on their island for our 2nd Diggin’ The Fuzz episode we did with Mr. Stone in February (go watch it btw!). Yup the album was already recorded back then, and the guys were kind enough to give us the pre-mastering tracks
But back to the music. Semuta RAWKS! That kind of modern Heavy Rock album original enough to keep you hooked in while also sounding familiar in a sense with all those influences packed into those 6 tracks.
Indeed, if the overall feeling I get from Lord Vapour vibe is more into the 70’s territory, they sound pretty beefy and heavy, and they incorporate some Stoner Rock gimmicks from times to times, which makes it really interesting!
Special mentions for Joe’s whisky-soaked vocals, it just fits perfectly with their sound, and 2nd one for Henry’s mad wah-wah guitar skills, no over-using, just the good amount at the right moments! I’ve seen this guy play, dayuuuuum
By the way you can also experience their music in two 360° videos we shot in their unusual rehearsal space, a bunker from the WWII! Here is below the track Nasubi taken from Semuta. If you want another sick jam from them you can purchase the album on Bandcamp where you’ll get access to the 2nd video + the 3 ones from their Doom brothers Brunt
4 : Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples
For Fans Of : Khruangbin, Tame Impala
Undoubtedly the Psych phenomenon of 2018, even if the Japanese have been around since 2013, I feel like 2018 was their breakthrough year, touring in every part of the world, and they are not ready to stop here, with an already announced US Tour in February and an appearance in DesertFest Berlin.
You won’t hear much fuzz in Masana Temples, but their Asiatic touch brings something really fresh to the Psych scene. First there is, of course, the vocals in Japanese we’re not used to hear. The nature of this language is very syncopated, and they use that to their advantage to create odd melodies and rhythms. Add to that the use of traditional instruments for an exotic vibe. Kikagaku Moyo’s music is also very bright, a feel-good summerish vibe, perfect for a festival!
And indeed, I saw these guys twice, first time was at Freak Valley Festival in 2017, was awesome as you can guess. But it was even more amazing this year at Desert Daze in California. They played a night show on the most beautiful stage I ever saw, with those psychedelic patterns in the background, it was magic ! And in the end I chose to use “Dripping Sun” from Masana Temples in my aftermovie of the festival you can watch below :
3 : Dunbarrow – II
For Fans Of : Witchcraft, Demon Head, Pentagram, Candlemass, Graveyard
These guys are for me the new kings of the proto-doom/retro rock revival scene. This album is a real gem and manages so well to portray this 70’s occult imagery in your head. The guitar tone, the devilish licks, those magnificent eerie clean vocals, oh god, it’s just so perfectly executed!
One of my most-listened album of this year, it just feels so catchy to my ears.
2 : Rotor – Sechs
For Fans Of : Colour Haze, Sungrazer, The Machine, Mother Engine
Aaaaaaaahhhh Rotor. I can’t help it. I freakin’ love them. I worship those guys, I mean really.
I’m a huge instrumental music fan and these German will never get me bored. Yes because their style is just so special. The complexity and the wide variety of melodies in a single song are what drives me nuts. The lead guitar and the whole rhythm section complement each other so perfectly, a combination of hundreds of little layers of melodic parts. They can go from calmer, beautiful parts to uber-heavy riffs in a split-second, or on the contrary, take their time to build a unique atmosphere I cannot describe. It’s just the Rotor sound.
So I have one question : How can you be so talented ? Yup. Mindblown. Once again.
One of my favorite band of all time, please keep on putting on new music guys!
1 : Radiant Knife – Science Fiction
For Fans Of : Torche, Terror Cosmico
“Waaaaaaat Mr. Fuzz ?! Another duo trusting the 1st spot of your top? Are you secretly a “Duo bands” lobbyist ?!”
Well guess what, I’ve been blasting this album countless times since it came out, but it’s only recently when I met Mr. Heavyhead in Mexico that he mentioned me Radiant Knife is actually a duo! I guess I didn’t pay attention before, or maybe more because Radiant Knife sounds way more complex than what we think a duo should sound ?
So yeah, like last year Telekinetic Yeti, a duo is at the top of my list, and nop it’s not basic Blues Rock ala The White Stripes or The Black Keys. Yeah, what’s even funnier is these guys don’t really fit into Stoner Rock, nor Doom, nor Heavy Psych. It’s actually quite difficult to categorize them, maybe the best way to describe their sound is Post-Metal Sludginess ? But fuck the genres for once, and just appreciate the music!
I instantly fall in love with Radiant Knife because they bring everything I love in a single meaty piece: massive heaviness both from the instruments & the vocals, complex melodies & song structures, and a psychedelic flavor. They use all those ingredients to form a mystical atmosphere, like an untouchable & mystical force surrounding you… Mmmh… Lovecraft anyone ?
Honourable Mentions by Atmosphere Levels
By Fat Level
Sleep – The Sciences
Godsleep – Coming of Age
Fu Manchu – Clone of The Universe
1968 – Ballads Of The Godless
Sundrifter – Visitations
Sergeant Thunderhoof – Terra Solus
By Purple Haze Level
Earthless – Black Heaven
All Them Witches – ATW
The Machine – Faceshift
King Buffalo – Looking To Be The Mountain
Mythic Sunship – Another Shape Of Psychedelic Music
Los Tabanos Experience – Atlantis Mirage
Transnadeznost – Monomyth
Kungens Män – Fuzz på svenska
Svvamp – Svvamp 2
By Temperature Level
Haggard Cat – Challenger
Brant Bjork – Mankind Woman
Bearsloth – Get In The Van
Holy Grove – II
Top Concerts of 2018
Kikagaku Moyo @Desert Daze, CA, USA
The Wands @Fuzz Club Festival, Eindhoven, NL
Toke @Freak Valley Festival, Germany
Earthless + Mars Red Sky @Mexico City, Mexico
Stonehenge @La Scene Michelet, Nantes, FR
Thou + Terror Cosmico @Mexico City, Mexico
Mother Engine @Freak Valley Festival, Germany
Weedpecker @La Scene Michelet, Nantes, FR
The Flying Eyes @Freak Valley Festival, Germany
Baroness @Hellfest Festival, France
Nebula @Hellfest Festival, France
Terror Cosmico + Fumata + 33 @Monterrey, Mexico
Endless Boogie @Binic Folk Blues Festival, France
Colour Haze @Le Ferailleur, Nantes, FR