Phantasmo’s Top 16 of 2017

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – High Visceral (Part Two): Luckily, this absolutely horrendous band name is vastly overshadowed by the frentic, kaleidoscopic, fuzz-soaked psych rock that dominates this album from start to finish. The Pink Floyd influence is unmistakable, but that is certainly not a bad thing.

Blonde Tongues – Safe Like Silk In Polyester Sheets: Gentle, sleepy shoegaze from Australia covered in reverb and echo, straight out of Brisbane. A lovely, lazy album that suits the mood of an afternoon doing nothing or everything.

Buried Feather – Mind of the Swarm: Aussies taking this list by storm! An excellent experimental psych rock album with just enough retro swagger to it. The vocals are hypnotic, the phasers are dripping and the drums are mesmerizing. A real gem unearthed this year.

Afghan Whigs – In Spades: Dulli delivered. Nothing else needs to be said here.

Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile to the Surface: A breathtaking, beautiful, and brilliant album that takes their sound to a whole new level, and is easily the richest-sounding album of the year – the production is impeccable.

Biblical – The City That Always Sleeps: Biblical’s sophomore effort is a schizophrenic album, blending elements of psych, shoegaze, stoner metal, and space rock. It’s both crushingly heavy and intricately delicate at the same time. ‘Spiral Staircase’ is a swirling, instrumental masterpiece.

Devil’s Witches – Velvet Magic: Stoner metal definitely dominated my year, and the debut album by Devil’s Witches was at the top of the list. Velvet Magic was the soundtrack of many evenings working in the garage and yard, beer in hand. The throwback sound is unmatched and the graphic design of their artwork and advertising is some of my favorite.

Brand New – Science Fiction: Recent unfortunate events aside, Jesse Lacey and Brand New delivered the best surprise album of the year. The mystery shrouding this band is incredible and it’s a shame this may be their last album.

Beastmaker – Inside the Skull: Yet another excellent stoner metal release, the sophomore album from Beastmaker draws heavily on the sound of classic bands such as Black Sabbath, Samhain/Danzig, and Pentagram, but adds Beastmaker’s own touch of dark, heavy, evil. Classic horror movie samples, nasty, sludge riffs, and raw drums fill this album from a band often compared to Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats.

Desertshore – Arc of an Arrow Blind: A gorgeous instrumental album of ringing, lush, electric guitars and a pleasant accompaniment of piano and keyboards give this album an almost (showing my age and music store history here) Narada-esque new age sound, but it works quite well. Easily my favorite Desertshore album thus far.

Death From Above – Outrage Is Now!: Another crushing dance-punk album that certainly does not stray from their signature sound, but somehow stuck with me much more so than their previous works. My steering wheel has taken a beating because of this one.

Story of the Year – Wolves: One of my favorite bands returns from a too-long hiatus with a PledgeMusic-funded album that does not disappoint. Huge hooks, catchy, scream-along choruses, and soaring songs fill this album from start to finish.

Torso – Limbs: Austrian (not Australian this time!) alternative psych rock reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I’ve played the hell out of this album this year. Another excellent random Bandcamp score that I stumbled upon.

Slowdive – Slowdive: The shoegaze forefathers return after an unfathomable 22-year split with an album that was certainly worth the wait.

Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1: My most surprising pick on this list, for sure. Chock-full of rappers and artists that I would normally never listen to, something about this album drew me in and sunk its gold-plated grill into me. I still don’t know what a Migos is, though.

Youngblood Supercult – The Great American Death Rattle: The final stoner metal album on my list, and another excellent one to boot. The straightforward heavy blues/metal guitar and their creepy seventies sludge vibe fill a record that I played over and over this year.

Descending Babe

Recently revisited Catherine Wheel’s b-sides and have got to say, this song is one of their finest. This band is long overdue for a rarities box set release…

The Hazytones – Kill To Survive

If I were ever speeding down a desert highway in a stolen ’73 Dodge Challenger, on the run from a fleet of police cars following close behind after I committed a heinous, blood-soaked cross-country crime spree, this would most certainly be the soundtrack of said chase.


Norway’s answer to Pink Floyd. Crazy that these guys have been around since 1989 and I’m just now discovering them. The entire ‘Here Be Monsters’ album is fantastic, blending delicate psychedelic guitars with grooving bass and drums, capped off with dreamy vocals. I’m now on a quest to check out the rest of their back catalog to see if it’s as good as this one.


Already gonna say that this album will definitely be on my Top 11 of 2017. Every song on the album is solid and the layers are just incredible. I really hope they make a return trip to Anchorage – their last show was dynamite.

White Light Cemetery

Been really digging this album this week. Another excellent release from Ripple Music, who seem to know great stoner rock when they see it and this one is no exception, with evident influences from Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pantera, and Corrosion of Conformity. Plus, bonus bad ass artwork that reminds me of the horror comics I read as a kid!

Phantasmo’s Top 11 of 2016


The Midnight – Endless Summer: Hands down, my favorite and most-played album of 2016. A beautifully crafted retro-synth nostalgic nod to California summer nights in the 1980s. Cannot wait to see where these guys go from here.

DIIV – Is The Is Are: A chaotic, nearly 3-year, drug-fueled process finally produced DIIV’s second album, a fantastic record that harkens back to the Goo/Dirty-era of Sonic Youth.

Minor Victories – Minor Victories: Rachel Goswell (Slowdive) teamed up with members of Mogwai and Editors to craft an amazing, haunting, shoegaze-esque album. The only downside to this record is the Mark Kozelek track ‘For You Always’ featuring some of his most cringe-worthy spoken word banter bullshit.

Memoryhouse – Soft Hate: Really great  Sub Pop dream pop band, reminiscent of Beach House, discovered completely by accident.

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool: How does this band continue to amaze with every album? I could listen to ‘Decks Dark’ on repeat for hours on end.

Pinkshinyultrablast – Grandfeathered: Distortion-drenched onslaught of self-described “thunder pop/kung-fu gaze” straight out of Russia.

Busted – Night Driver: Current Fightstar frontman and Gunship collaborator Charlie Simpson’s original band return after 14 years with a great album quite unlike their previous work. Amazingly, most of the album was recorded without demos and on the first takes.

Sulk – No Illusions: Sophomore effort by a little-known favorite. These guys continue to craft the best music the Stone Roses aren’t making.

Thrice – To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere: Best record these guys have ever made. Every song is fantastic. I’m not saying it’s the album of the year, but it very well might be the album of the year.

Deftones – Gore: These guys can do no wrong.

Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct: Seriously rekindling my love for Metallica with this album. The perfect blend of Load, Death Magnetic, and the Black Album, and they finally got the production right. Glad to see these guys back on top.