[ Flightless Records, 2017 ]
Flying Microtonal Banana is the first installment in the Australian band’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard ambitious plan to release 5 full length albums in 2017. And if they keep it as fresh with the four remaining albums as they do with this one, the year of 2017 might be theirs. Their electrifying mixture of microtonal music, psychedelic rock and krautrock is like a bomb being dropped on the musical year 2017: an energetic take on psychedelic music with an ear for great melody and intriguing compositional ideas, especially the microtones, which provide a great, off-kilter quality to the already trippy rock amassed on the album. Flying Microtonal Banana is one hell of a trans-African trip that’s sure to take you to the Great Beyond and back. Highly recommended!
[ Self-released, 2017 ]
I’ve been in luck when it comes to jammy, instrumental Polish bands. After Królestwo and Produkty Rolne comes time for a band named Jocelyn Packard. Little is known about them, apart form the fact they named themselves after an influential Twin Peaks character and they play the kind of neurotic, angry post-rock that was big before it went all GY!BE-like and lost most of its balls. However, this self titled debut album doesn’t give a fuck about being sentimental and goes instead for being angry, alienated, even tortured at times, when taking a sludgy, doomy turn. The slightly lo-fi production only enhances the smoggy mood. Recommended debut!
[ Self-released, 2016 ]
Last year’s album by the Polish noise rock unit Artykuły Rolne (which could be translated as “Agricultural Commodities”) is a shackled beast, which is struggling to free itself and sometimes spews scorching fire. The amount of energy and layers contained on this LP could be given to a few albums by a few bands, and the sheer, cosmic lysergic energy is conjured by heavily effect-laden walls of guitar noise and heavy, doomy drumming. When you name one of your tracks “Kosmos”, you gotta go huge. And goddamn, they do. This amount of heady, wide-eyed psychedelia is rarely to be seen. It’s almost like an anomaly. There should be more anomalies like this. Highly fucking recommended.
[ Rocket Recordings, 2017 ]
When it comes to clearly state your views, few (or even no) artists this year might come close to the UK psychonauts Gnod. It looks like the tumultous events of 2016 and early 2017 shook the members to their foundations, causing them to get radical and political. Just Say No is a rebellious album, eschewing their open-form drone-psych improvisations for a more coherent effort, fusing fuzzy noise rock with protest lyrics, which sometimes makes Gnod sound like Skullflower covering XTC (at least when the vocals aren’t extremely distorted). The dirty riffs fly like the riot police bullets while the heavy, pummeling drums set the rhythm for one last death march. Resistance music for the interesting times. Recommended!
[ Sky Lantern, 2017, originally released in 2009 ]
Here’s an album I totally love coming back to: the self-titled debut LP by the Swedish based psych experts Hills, reissued on vinyl by the American label Sky Lantern (unfortunately not available anymore, sorry for being a slowpoke). Taking cues from their country’s rich tradition of head music and a lot of krautrock rhythms Hills have created a fully captivating and organic album that fits perfectly both for those beginning their adventure in psychedelic rock and the seasoned trippers who went on countless trips into the Great Beyond. Now sit back, light one up and let the Scandinavian psychedelic sensation take over your brain and body. Highly recommended!
[ New Atlantis Records, 2011 ]
The free rock tradition is being kept alive and well with the Washington, DC based duo Matta Gawa consisting of the six string demon Ed Ricart and the drum demon Sam Lohman who manage to create dynamic, explosive composition with the use of just these two instruments. Tambora has a much cleaner production than Ba, which allows the duo to fully show their relentless action when it comes to their free flowing tracks which masterfully shift from the moments of silence to the fully articulated blasts of anger. Imagine psych rock, but much more basic and with less stylistic boundaries and less effects and you get Matta Gawa. Recommended!
[ Self-released, 2016 ]
A praise of very ordinary living: the newest album by Joe Knight a.k.a. Rangers makes you check all the info on the Bandcamp page twice while thinking: “Wait, is this the same guy who made Suburban Tours and Panama Stories, which shaped hypnagogic pop with its hazy, druggy aesthetics!?”. Yes, it is. At first, it might seem almost dull by comparison – the songs here sound a bit like something a small town rock band might record to be played on a local radio, but with each repeated listening the intriguing stylistic shifts and occasional breaks in almost pop rock song structures become more and more prominent. Turns out, there’s quite a lot of Meat Puppets love under the soft melodies and easy rhythms. It’s a kind of sly, secretive psychedelia that only emerges after a few listens or when one completely blends into the music. A bit underwhelming at first, but very rewarding after a while. Recommended!