January 4, 2018
If you hadn't noticed already, 2017 was an absolutley incredible year for hard rock, stoner, psych, doom and sludge. Especially psych! Every week brought new releases from astonishing acts, both new and established. Fans of the genre should feel goddammn blessed for living in a time of such abundance - it truly is the golden age of the riff.
To that end, tonight's show has been about counting down each of our top 5 releases of the year, as well as a runner-up for good measure. Keeping it to five (okay six) tracks each was a struggle, given the incredibly high quality AND quantity of this year's releases... but we got there in the end.
Zong - Cosmic Embryo (Zong, 2017)
From the east coast of Queensland Zong have created an incredibly rich, mellow yet confronting sound. Zac, Michael & Henry - who are actually some of the nicest people we've ever met in a carpark - bring together a psychedelic, doomy vintage stoner vibe that you can just groove on. An incredibly deep album with great artwork by the drummer Henry Bennett. Thanks for my little boomerang you guys are legends. I've chosen the first track Cosmic Embryo as my favourite on the self titled album released early November for it's kind of space odyssey vibe.
Puta Volcano - Bird (Harmony of Spheres, 2017)
Apparently it's an unwritten rule that we have to have a Greek band in our top 5 - or maybe just a happy accident. Either way, this is just pure stoner joy, with a melodic flourish that just makes me smile every time I hear it.
Samsara Blues Experiment - Glorious Daze (One with the Universe, 2017)
Coming in at number for in Samsara Blues Experiment with the album One With The Universe. Released in April 2017 it has been played a lot in our house since then so I had to have it in my top 5. The German band have a really intriguing stoner/space rock thing going on withe some nice heavy groove. I've chosen Glorious Daze as my favourite on the album because it was really interesting vocals in line with spoken word poetry so it's right up my alley. You can't go wrong with any Samsara Blues Experiment album in my opinion but this new one sees how far the guys have grown over the past few years. Here is is - Glorious Daze of the One With The Universe album.
Cloud Catcher - Celestial Empress (Trails of Kozmic Dust, 2017)
This album is like trying to walk across the road on a 42 degree day - scorching and blistering. It's Hendrix on meth, frantically trying to squeeze more notes into every bar. Leave some skill for the rest of us, Christ!
Ruby The Hatchet - Killer (Planetary Space Child, 2017)
My number three album comes from New Jersey legends Ruby The Hatchet who have dropped yet another stunning album. Relying heavily on a heavy psych sound with classic stonerrock, heavy blues riffs, soaring vocals and electronica doom vibes the album is an adventure. Building on the success of the last album Valley of the Snake, Ruby the Hatchet have yet again created a sonic journey, it's fun, it's upbeat, it's groovy as hell. The song I've gone with is Killer and if you're anything like me you'll be screaming it at the top of your lungs in no time. Do recommend spending time with the whole album and indeed all their other ones because they are all phenomenal. So check it out my number 3 of the year, Ruby The Hatchet with Killer.
Howling Giant - Earth Wizard (Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2 EP, 2017)
A real mix of an EP, with 6 songs covering 32 minutes from all corners of heavy - there's doom, sludge, meandering psychedelic space rock, stoner grooves and it all wraps up nicely in some progressive melodic vibes, with a serious nod to early Elder and Weedpecker.
All Them Witches - Don't Bring Me Coffee (Sleeping Through The War, 2017)
Released in February of 2017 it's one of those albums that you can't get bored listening to. Each track is unique and could belong to a different band. The band are from Nashville, Tennessee, they are insanely eclectic not only within this album but each album they release has a totally different thing going on with it. I don't think you could ever say you're not a fan of them because they are constantly evolving, so you're bound to like something. My favourite track on this album is Don't Bring Me No Coffee, it's bluesy, rocky stoner desert jam all wrapped in one with a Brant Bjork style of vocals that you can't help but sing along to. It is my go-to-song when I'm feeling run down, tired and a bit pushed around. Get into it - this is All Them Witches with Don't Bring Me No Coffee.
Sasquatch - Just Couldn't Stand the Weather (Maneuvers, 2017)
Picking one track off this album was not an easy task. So many superb songs, from the balls-out opener Rational Woman to the power-ballad Window Pain, it's just hooks and badassery.
Green Yeti - Black Planets Part 1 (Desert Show, 2017)
Green Yeti for sure take out my number one album of the year this year. Black Planets is an exceptionally well crafted doom, stoner, space rock psych anthem with catchy as hell riffs and a bridge that will get you singing and moving. This is the first song I play at the gym to get me going, it's the album I put on at work when there's deadlines and you just need to get shit done. Green Yeti are Greek Musical Gods whose song reveal themselves to you, every time I listen to this album I find something new to fall in love with. Number one album for 2017 Green Yeti - Desert Show, the track is Black Planets Part 1. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Orango - Train Keeps Rolling On (The Mules of Nana, 2017)
Just like the last few years, my top album was a real slow burner. I went from thinking it was novel but uninteresting, to getting completely hooked and being unable to enjoy anything else for a week or two. Here it's vocal harmonies and the rock n' rolling sensibilities. It's got Creedence, it's got Fleetwood, it's got Zeppelin - hell, it even ventures into Eagles territory, for better and for worse. It just feels very, very real and soulful, and I've been enamored with it all year.
Laurie's honourable mention: The Picturebooks - Bad Habits Die Hard (Home is a Heartache, 2017)
Nico's honourable mention: The Sonic Dawn - Numbers Blue (Into the Long Night, 2017)