I have to say I heard a hell of a lot of great records this year so this is a really tough choice for me. There are many great records that did not make the list. Maybe I did not give them enough time, they just arrived or I bought them at the wrong time, one never really knows. Anyway, here is what I really dug a lot.
Dirty Money (USA)
Antibalas (used to be the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra) are from NYC and on this new record, their first in like 4 years, they go back to simple 8 track analog recording and nearly all live and delivery an totally killer Fela inspired records with cool lyrics. I love this record.
- DZENGHIS KHAN- PREHISTORIC ROCK-LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO CASSETTE (US 2012)
Pretty surprising to have a limited cassette only release from 2006 as a top release but this band just blows me away. They have that raw energy of Blue Cheer but their own cool psychedelic vibe. This stuff is just the pure essence of rock and roll in it’s rawest most emotional form. Stripped down and LOUD.
- Mantric Muse- Mantric Muse (Denmark)
This record has been 10 years in the making but is finally out. I have been friends with the band since 1998 and followed the complete journey of this record and it is for sure the best space rock record that came out this year. Heavily inspired by Ozric Tenacles but with its own very unique and psychedelic flavour. Each song is an amazing journey in itself.
- Astra- The Black Chord (USA)
This was a highly anticipated record and it did not disappoint at all. Very powerful, intense, dramatic music and not as laid back as the first record and more solos. Just amazing tracks. True Heavy Progressive Rock!
Smoke- Whippoolrwheel (USA)
This is an American southern rock band with a slight country twang at times. I have to say they write some of the best damn southern rock songs since the 70s.. Simply a great band. If they would turn into one that does some jamming like the Allman Brothers, they could turn into a favourite of mine but they seem happy playing nearly the same songs every night and just like on the records and their fan base is growing all the time, so they see no reason to do anything else. They are not going to turn into a jamming band to please me, that is for sure.
- HIDRIA SPACEFOLK- ASTRONAUTICA (FINLAND 2012)
It has been 4-5 years since the last Hidria Spacefolk record and they have had some changes in the band and moved into a more progressive rock area with more complex songs and layers but still maintaining that killer groove and psychedelic nature and unique sound. A totally amazing musical space rock trip.
- Saint Vitus- Lillie F-65 (USA)
Saint Vitus have not made a record in a long time and Wino is in absolute top form. I really like the songs on this record a lot and I spun this one a bunch but I am really disappointed with the sound production. It is just to open, drums are too loud and the guitar just not in your face. It takes away from the power of these great songs. If this had the production of the early record it would have been at the top of my list but the drums being the loudest instrument really ruins it for me.
- Oresund Space Collective- West, Space and Love (Denmark/Sweden)
I know, this is my own band but this release really has a special place in my heart and it is totally different from all my bands other releases. I love the other two we made this year but this one, which is just laid back eastern psych with the guys from Siena Root just takes me to a different place.
9. 9. DARXTAR- AGED TO PERFECTION CD-R (SWEDEN 2012)
Darxtar are Sweden’s longest running Space rock band and they have evolved quite a lot over the years but this is certainly their best album since the early Hawkwind inspired days. Just a fantastic record with really potent ecopolitcal lyrics as well. Great job…
- MAY BLITZ- ESSEN 1970 LP (GERMANY 2012)
This is a true archive release but one that really represents a special time and place when bands would just set up and loosely play their songs but expand, jam and space out just based on how they felt at the moment and this was a damn heavy rock band from the UK and here you get to hear what they were like live and they killed. Great amazing record..
- ARC OF ASCENT- THE HIGHER KEY LP (NEW ZEALAND 2012)
This is the 2nd Arc of Ascent record and while I quite liked the first one, this one sees the band heading into a more jamming spirit while still maintaining that hyponotic spacey stoner rock sound. You can really get sucked into these songs. Very inspired by the early Datura material. Check out that rerelease of their first with the live album. The live album is a killer..
- LORD VICAR- SIGNS OF OSIRIS 2LP (SWEDEN/FINLAND 2012)
I have really become a great fan of this band and was lucky to see them live twice last year and they were excellent both times. This album is even more diverse than the first full length release and has really grown on me. I wish they had more guitar solos but they write excellent songs.
This is not new material but very few people heard this music before it was released on vinyl there year. The band is really able to evoke that early 1970-1971 Hawkwind feel and this is spacey, emotional and powerful stuff.
- ADMIRAL SIR CLOUDSLEY SHOVELL- HEAR IT, FEAR IT LP (UK 2012)
The Admiral blew me away at Roadburn so when I popped this record on the turntable I was prepared for the raw nasty rock and roll that blasted from the speakers. This record just kicks ass from start to finish.
- SEID- MAGIC HANDSHAKE 2LP (NORWAY 2012)
I did not expect the SEID would ever return from the depths of Trondheim but they did and have released an amazing double LP and the most powerful intense music they have ever created. The Balkan themes are gone but the intense space rock has been turned up a notch. A great selection of songs.
15½. Glitter Wizard- Hunting Gatherers (US 2012)
I have to mention this one as I have been spinning it constantly and it still surprises me. I can play the Wizard Wagon track over 100 times. It is so damn catchy… If you dig psychedelic rock with some space rock influence thrown in, this is a record for you..
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