So it’s almost July and the Great Year Snake has almost swallowed half of itself. Time to pull ourselves up from our couches and whiff away the bong clouds because we might have missed some excellent psychedelic tunes dudes!
Personally I have been trying to keep up through my 2018 stoner/psych/noise Spotify list which already includes over 80 different bands…
Yep my psychologist tells me I should open up about my OCD, so there!
Anyways…about time to weed out the weak, right? Let’s separate the hairy ass men from the rosy cheeked choir boys, let’s dive into some of the best new psychedelic rock music 2018 has to offer.
In case you miss Weedpecker, King Buffalo, Somali Yacht Club, and Black Salvation, you’re right! They totally belong on here as well, but I already gave them some time in the limelight on this fancy establishment and my aim was to try and open up your third eyes to some obscure sounds to tickle your respective psychedelic fancies…so without any further ado, here is your 2018 Half-Year Haze top eleven!
1. Anthroprophh – Omegaville (Rocket Recordings)
This is Paul Allen of The Heads’s side project and man, this is some trip! Omegaville hits the ground running with a couple of chaotic scorching fuzz-heavy roadburners only to land a couple of miles later in bat shit crazy country doing all kinds of drugs with Hunter S. Thompson. If you really dive into this record, especially the later parts, there is a serious risk of never getting out again. You might find yourself trapped in your Las Vegas hotel room with a big green lizard’s tail sticking out of your pants…don’t say you weren’t warned!
2. Mountain Dust – Seven Storms (Self-Released)
Mountain Dust from Montreal, Canada is one of those bands that I kept coming back to when their debut album Nine Years popped up on SMOD’s YoutTube channel in 2016. Since then it has been streamed over 100,000 times, and with good reason! This is a band that takes the cool stuff from bands like Deep Purple and Uriah Heep and warps that shit into relevancy by adding tons of heaviness.
Seven Storms is their sophomore album and it is much darker and heavier than their debut without losing any of its catchiness. I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with these dudes at Germany’s Freak Valley Festival this year, which was their first German gig ever. Without saying, they ruled and the crowd went bezerk. If there is any justice in the world there will be a lot more and bigger shows after this record has properly landed. Don’t miss out!
3. Dead Man’s Eyes – Words Of Prey (Tonzonen Records)
Dead Man’s Eyes from Cologne, Germany have been good friends of mine since quite a few years. I have shared the stage with them on several occasions and they have yet to disappoint. They have kept the world waiting for any recording material though, so I am super stoked that they will finally release their EP Words Of Prey on the prestigious underground label Tonzonen. Dead Man’s Eyes sound like someone opened a portal to the sixties but forgot to close it so the modern world and sixties garage-chic intermixed and your new favorite psychedelic garage band was born. You can dance to it, you can smoke some hash to it, but you will probably do both at the same time after this record is through with you. Just some really good swinging psychedelic sounds for your hairy hippie ears people!
4. Blackwater Holylight – Blackwater Holylight (Riding Easy Records)
You can count on Riding Easy Records to find a gem like this. Blackwater Holylight is on of those bands that summon up the sweet vintage sound of The Shangri-Las and just adds tons of smoke to slowly transform into one of your favorite contemporary bands. I have listened to this album on repeat for so many times I’ve lost count. The term easy listening doesn’t quite cut it, but it sure is a nice and smooth ride every time. Just put on that Afghan carpet and swing it side to side on tracks like “Wave Of Conscience,” you’ll be time travelling into the twilight zone before you can count to California.
5. Calliope – Chapel Perilous (Self-Released)
Dude, don’t you sometimes just wish you could have been there when Syd Barret was still in Floyd and jamming your brains out with songs like “Astronomy Domine” and “Interstellar Overdrive”? ‘Consider it done!’ say Calliope from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and they started buiding their Chapel Perilous. Their sound is so freaking spot on Pink Floyd -with added rambling noise- it’s almost creepy. Well, creepy-good of course.
You know I’ve actually heard some rumors this group of teenagers started this cult chapel in Milwaukee where they conjure up the spirit of Syd Barret and record jams with his ghost…come to think of it, this could be it! Try to wrap your head around the evidence folks!
6. Dark Buddha Rising- II (Neurot Recordings)
I went to Roadburn for a day this year and saw the Waste Of Space Orchestra, a one-off live collaboration between Finnish black/psych shamans Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising. After that I was done. The hour-long sermon was executed to goddamn perfection and it literally blew my mind into pieces. I couldn’t have watched more bands that day if I had wanted to. Which I didn’t.
I took the WoS experience directly home and started exploring its source. I knew about the awesomeness of Oranssi Pazuzu of course, but Dark Buddha Rising somehow remained less known. This album was made to right that wrong. Consisting of two tracks, both well over ten minutes, this record will wrap its nasty tentacles around your dome, and drag you down into the vast blackness of its lair. It’s a bad trip you don’t want to miss.
7. Here Lies Man – You Will Know (Riding Easy Records)
Here Lies Man are the Quentin Tarantino of psychrock. They’re flawless molding of recycled seventies tunes into modern mutant songs is so uncannily well done, it is almost out of this world. You will probably have heard all the different parts of this record before in some form, but you have never heard it bend and broken and reassembled into catchy fuzzrock tunes like this. It’s weird man…but lovable. Like those two albino kids on the cover. Riding Easy Records messing with our collective minds once again.
8. JJUUJJUU – Zionic Mud (Dine Alone Records)
These days there are tons of laid back shoegazy psych rock bands around. I personally blame Tame Impala for the hype. A lot of these bands are completely interchangeable too. Like all hypes they are turning something intrinsically awesome into a twisted Mc Donald’s caricature. JJUUJJUU are a real balancing act in this respect, but they pull it off by being so genuinely weird that you can’t fault them. No wonder they’ve toured with All Them Witches and Primus and managed to stay alive. Zionic Mud is just a wonderful trip into oblivion you want to take over and over again, so dive in folks!
9. Maidavale – Madness Is Too Pure (The Sign Records)
Out of all the female-fronted retro rock bands that are flooding the scene at the moment (think Blues Pills, Lucifer, Old Blood, Spiders, etc.) Sweden’s Maidavale are a breath of fresh air. There is something quite genuinely uplifting about their approach to songwriting, a certain youthful positivity that I usually despise but in Maidavale find irresistible. Take the primal rhythm in song like “Oh Hysteria,” or the way singer Matilda Roth cuts into her verses in “Gold Mind.” Who knew retro rock could still be so contagious? Thanks for restoring the faith Maidavale!.
10. Psychic Lemon – Frequency Rhythm (Tonzonen Records)
Sometimes it is time to sing about the world’s problems, and other times it is just important to shut the hell up and jam. Psychic Lemon know exactly what time it is, and on Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay they have recorded some of their most ambitious instrumental space jams up to date. The trick is to be memorable and to let the pedals do the talking, and Psychic Lemon are masters at this game. I fact, I don’t think I know any other band in the world doing the instru-jam thing better than them at this moment. Buckle up and surf the fuzz waves people!
11. Drive By Wire – Spellbound (Argonauta Records)
Drive By Wire are a Dutch fuzz rock band with a strong female leader in the vocal department and a truckload of experience forging catchy psychedelic rock songs that never overstay their welcome. Spellbound is a super comfortable ride on a Harley Davidson in a desert that consists of reverb instead of sand. The nice thing is that you can hum along the songs while you drive, wind in your hair, clear blue sky above. There should be a law that makes music like this obligatory while driving, this and smoking pot. The world would be a better place, people would flow fluidly from one place to another,and their would be no more wars. Build amplifiers, not walls, people.
Also awesome this year:
Crypt Trip, Ouzo Bazooka, Mythic Sunship, The Great Machine, Dead Vibrations, Bardo Pond, Phobophobes, Love Machine, Jirm, Holy Mushroom, Besvaerjelsen, Mouth, Bruce Lamont, Triptides, YOB, Craang…
Check out out my Spotify playlist for the full list:
Dutchman, cheese fanatic, underground music enthusiast, teacher of English, father of two, singer in a band, ex- Lord Of Metal.
“Life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves”.