Greetings fuzzers !
2015 has been quite prolific, by the number of releases or the quality of these.
It’s been a hard time trying to order these beauties, and I’m still not sure it’s right, I would’ve put a dozen of them in my top5 if I could, but maths didn’t agree, so here it is, the 20 albums that lit the little spark inside Mr Stone this year.
And before I start, I wanna thank Mr. Fuzz, for dragging me to this, to try to motivate me and to come along to every gig. Thanks also for always asking me my feedback on everything that cross your insane mind, I’m doing my best to give you another point a view even if I know I’m a pain in the ass while doing it. Let’s hope it’ll keep rolling like this for a long time
Top 20 Albums of 2015
#20 : Glowsun – Beyond The Wall Of Time
Great album (with one of the best covers I’ve seen this year) by the frenchies that don’t have much to prove anymore. We saw them live a few weeks ago and it was sweetly blowing off, the production and the sound are perfect, studio and live, and they really know how to take you by the guts and make you feel the power of their riffs. And from what I’ve seen, they’re able to take it to another next level to fully express their potential, hopefully with their 4th LP !
#19 : Abrahma – Reflections In The Bowels Of A Bird
The only other french band of this top, with another 2nd LP and another great cover. You have to be seduced by either the heavy crushing riffs or the more clean and aerial psychedelic parts (or both). The writing is really inspired and nothing is left to chance, each instrument (including the voice) completing the whole picture the quatuor is depicting. Can’t wait to finally see them live in a few months.
#18 : Astral Son – Silver Moon
Solo project of a dutch multi-instrumentist, the sound is really not what you would expect from it, with lots of layers of different inspirations. Really catchy, especially for a long-time Pink Floyd (from which it is clearly inspired) fan like me, between space and krautrock, with a bit of electronics in it, this LP is to be listened in one go, one trip to the highest skies I must say 🙂
#17 : Stoned Jesus – The Harvest
Here returns the ukrainian prodiges, with a 3rd LP that’s showing again these guys can’t stand still too long. Taking some (heavy rock’n’roll riffing) parts from their debut, but also (psyched out jamming) stuff, the trio manage to achieve a perfect landscape of what they’re capable of, alterning uptempo energic riffs and slow doomy phases. It’s epic, it’s heavy, it’s hazy and it’s fucking mindblowing both studio and live.
#16 : Hills – Frid
This one is one of my favourite jewels from this year, I only discovered this band (that seem to be stuck in the early 70s) a few months ago, and this LP has been played lots of time since. The sound makes me think of early Dead Meadow, but way more spacey, which is clearly a good thing. Let yourself be tempted by their krautrock blend that will make you a trip around the world, see you in the clouds 😉
#15 : The Atomic Bitchwax – Gravitron
GROOVE. ROCK’N’FUCKING’ROLL. LEGENDS.
These guys are just an unstoppable riffing machine, both studio and live (OMFGWTFBBQ Chris Kosnik ! My face melt seeing his axe skills and speed), pounding groove effortlessly into your brain. Don’t try to resist, it’s futile, just headbang and jump everywhere, that’s all you can do.
#14 : Weedpecker – II
I didn’t got into this one when it came out, and I don’t understand why, but Mr Fuzz called me back to good senses a few weeks ago. This is great stoner rock, with nice laid back songs that can turn into good old fuzzy riffing or sweet jamming at any time. The whole LP is really a enjoyable experience, where you got nothing to do but let yourself float in that sonic magic.
#13 : Pentagram – Curious Volume
A really nice new album from Pentagram, that’s keeping the old recipes but also adding some new touch to what they’ve used us to expect. I think it’s enjoyable by both old fans and newcomers, and shows that even a band that’s historic like Pentagram can keep pushing forward and work on new stuff, all for the best.
#12 : Giöbia – The Magnifier
Mr Weirdbeard shared this beauty to me a few weeks ago, and it was an instant crush. Being a huge space rock afficionado and all, this really hit home. I can feel some old space rock in this (reminding me of Hawkwind by some aspects) but the italian touch also (with the over fuzzed sound that made me think of Ufomammut or Black Rainbows) and some 60s psychedelia too (Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd stuff) not to mention some Sabbathian inspiration too, all of it blended in a perfect mix.
#11 : Black Moon Circle – The Studio Jams Vol.1 : Yellow Nebula Sky
Another space rock release, from a band I was already fond of, not even a year after their 2nd LP. This one is the first of 3 LPs of studio jams, and it starts well, but given what I already thought of these Norvegians and the presence of Dr Space (from Oresund Space Collective), it’s not surprising.
Let these experts in space psychedelia take you on an instrumental journey to the farest galaxies possible.
#10 : Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – The Night Creeper
This fourth LP is not really surprising, Uncle Acid is still doing Uncle Acid, but I can’t help myself but to love these gloomy laid back and yet heavy melodies at the darkest hours of the night. So some new stuff from these british quatuor to help me with my addiction was welcome. There’s not much more to say about it, but these guys really manage to revive some Sabbathian praisings in a more relaxed and doomy way, and each of their releases is there to prove it.
#9 : Black Pussy – Magic Mustache
I was drawn to this band by the whole polemic in the USA, but it’s really a pity for them, since they’re not at all racist or mysoginist, but let’s just talk of the sound. And what a sound ! It’s wonderfully fuzzy, heavy and psychedelic at the same time, gritty rock’n’roll with a hawkwindian style that’s not to unplease me. It takes you from the inside and put you on old harley that smells like cactus and armpit, headbanging on your way to the clouds. Let them do, and you’ll ask for more !
#8 : All Them Witches – A Sweet Release
I’m a big fan of All Them Witches, and they put out 3 releases this year, all three being great, keeping in mind these guys express themself more live, ‘At The Garage’ could have been a good choice, I also hesitated with ‘Dying Surfer Meets His Maker‘, which has been a good surprise in this end of the year. But I finally chose ‘a sweet release’ EP (put out on 4/20 eheh), that starts by a 25min live tryptic jamming with Steevy McVay from King Buffalo while the B side gathers a few studio tracks, some close to their previous stuff, and others that could be on Dying Surfer. This is the one I played the most this year from them, there’s everything you might like in ATW, and even more, in this gem !
#7 : Domo / Pyramidal split EP – Jams From The Sun
This split from these two spanish space rock bands that I already loved was a big fucking news in the beginning of the year, and I must say that I wasn’t disapointed. These bands may come from the same city, they’re not copycats at all, each one has his touch in crafting some heavy psychedelic tunes that will make you find yourself on a planet with three moons on the other side of the universe without knowing how and when you got there. The jazzy style from Pyramidal or the noisy touches from Domo both can only make me love more and more this two side asteroid.
#6 : Yuri Gagarin – At The Center Of All Infinity
This one came pretty late into the year, but I was desperately looking forward to it, knowing what these swedish instrumental space rockers were capable of (one of the best space rock I’ve ever heard), and they brought up all I wanted and even more. In the same vein as its predecessor, but with its own style, we can feel they’ve experienced their heavy space jamming while racing through meteor rains on the borders of the milky way. So hop on your rocket and put the automatic pilot on.
#5 : Oresund Space Collective – Different Creatures
I don’t have much to say on the last release by the Copenhagen jamming space rock masters, partly because it went out really recently, but also because it lasts almost two hours and a half, so I don’t have listened to it much, for I prefer to listen to OSC releases in one go. But what I can tell is that every time OSC puts something out, it’s brain-melting, and the more it lasts, the better it is, like their 3 hours shows. I think this release is one of the best I’ve heard from them, and it really represents all they’re capable of.
#4 : Black Rainbows – Hawkdope
The mighty italians returned this year with a new album, as much as I knew what to expect from them, they still managed to suprised me. Hawkdope was my saturday morning ritual for the whole year, cranking it up and headbanging through the whole album while getting high with their mastered Heavy-Psych fuzzy sound. This is the best thing that came out of Italia (yes, even better than pizza).
#3 : Sacri Monti – Sacri Monti
That one is my discovery of the year, thanks to The Obelisk, and it was an instant love, this has everything in it, and everything wonderfully done. It’s at the same time retro and modern, space and heavy, groovy and trippy, these guys manage to express all of it in a perfect blend that will get the grip on you and won’t let you go. The vocals are awesome, the guitars too, the rythm section providing an insane base for them, the whole thing wrapped in lots of keyboards layers, this is a masterpiece.
#2 : Elder – Lore
Is there anything left to say on this ? Everyone aggrees, Lore is a fucking mindblowing masterpiece, even regarding the height Elder had put the bar earlier. It was an instant buy, both the LP and the CD have spinned countless times since I got them, you can listen to it in any situation and it’s even better live.
This is perfection, with only one default : it is too short.
#1 : The Grand Astoria – The Mighty Few
This one is odd, but I’m used to odd coming from these guys hailing from mother russia, if there’s one thing you can tell about them it’s they never stop surprising you. They put out lots of release, but this one is definitely my favourite, only two songs, both above the 20min mark, assembling to make this masterpiece. The first track is really jazzy and the second a bit more tribal, both of them taking you far far away on their psychedelia. Each has its way, and its moods, taking you from one to another, heavy poundering to light wandering, going up then down and up again like crazy. The whole thing staying coherent in itself, returning regularly to previous riffs of the songs and bringing them to the next level. I’ve listened to this dozens of time and I never cease to be bewitched by the marvelous beauty of it.
I never hesitated, from the first time I heard it, to put it as the very best album of this prolific year.
Honorable mentions, by alphabetical order
(a man’s gotta narrow his list somehow) :
- Caspian – Dust and Disquiet : I discovered this band earlier this year, and fell in love instantly, I’m a big post-rock fan (maybe you’ll remember my review on The Whirlings), and never against some jazzy vibes (anything with sax gives me an instant boner) but I hadn’t listen to it enough to place it in my top
- Electric Moon – Theory of a Mind : One of the best shows at Freak Valley this year for me, and a wonderful 4 sides / 4 tracks album, but I got the Paper Moon Sessions at the same time, so I didn’t dug enough the LP, but I’ll catch up quickly !
- Moon Duo – Shadow Of The Sun : I’ve always loved this band, and they’re proving release after release that it’s totally justified !
- Ratatat – Magnifique : this isn’t fuzzy, but these two guys create lots of beautiful layers of guitar sounds and even if this one is not as good as their previous stuff, it’s still well worth the listen. And if you don’t know them, dig “Classics” or “LP4”
- Spidergawd – Spidergawd II : Motorpsycho is one of my favourite bands ever (just listen to “Still Life With Eggplant”, you’ll understand) and they didn’t released anything this year, but their side-project filled my addiction perfectly (and they’ve joined the FVF 2016 line-up, yay !)
Best concerts of the year, by chronological order :
- The whole Freak Valley Festival, but especially Monkey3, Bröselmaschine, Electric Moon and Earthless with their insane closure on Roadhouse Blues
- Elder + Nick Oliveri + Mos Generator @ Le Ferrailleur in Nantes : Lore is one thing, but witnessing it live is beyond awesome, and seeing Nick and Mos Generator is always a pleasure.
- The Volcano Sessions, pure bliss in the middle of the old french volcanos, with the nice discovery of She Hunts Koalas (that just signed on Argonauta Records for some new stuff to come) and jam-praising Domadora howling to the super moon.
- Satan’s Satyr + Horisont + The Shrine + Kadavar : it’s more the combination of these four bands than each of them separately that get them this spot, this night was ON FIRE, temperature level : 12 !
- Sonic Dawn @ la Scène Michelet in Nantes : last gig and best live discovery of the year, it’s amazing how these nice-looking danish fellas can craft a beautiful psych-blues-soul with pure clean sound.
As you must have seen, I spent most of this year between the clouds and the stars, I’m sure you’ll find in this list your way to come and join me 😉