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.