Psychedelic Waves Top 30 Albums of 2020
In so many ways, 2020 has really sucked as far as years go, but not in terms of music released. I had a shortlist of about 80 albums released this past year that I really enjoyed. Chopping it down to a Top 30 wasn't easy. As always, I'm just one person, so there may be albums that I just haven't heard yet, or albums that I loved, but fell just outside of the Top 30, so if your album doesn't appear on this list, it doesn't mean I didn't like it or would have liked it had I heard it. Also, there may be some albums released close to the end of the year that I just haven't had time to fully digest yet. This list is purely subjective, covering my personal favourites of the year. Let's hope 2021, in general, is better for all of us and that the great music keeps on coming! And here we go, my Top 30 of 2020...
30. Fuudge - Fruit-Dieu
If The Beatles had been from Montreal, Quebec and had done stoner rock, this is what it might have sounded like.
29. Emperor Chungiz - The Birth Of Chunga (Live)
A half hour of head-pummeling space rock with touches of Krautrock and tasty cowbell from these California guys.
28. Lazertüth - Galaxies
These New Bedford, Massachusetts prog rockers take a side journey into outer space with some beautiful synth-laden, improvised, space rock explorations.
27. Ozric Tentacles - Space For the Earth
The grand masters of modern psychedelic space rock are back after a five year absence. The album sees the return of Jumpin' Jon Egan on one of the seven excellent tracks.
26. Terrapin - Zero Repercussions
From Athens, Greece, this is a new project from No Man's Land's Vassilis Bas Athanassiadis with more of a focus on strong songwriting with some delicious, melodic, psychedelic folk.
25. The Heliocentrics - Infinity Of Now
One of two albums out this year from these London, UK psychsters. Weird, experimental pop tunes with a jazzy touch to it all.
24. Psychedelic Suns - Hide From The Sun
Perhaps a little less trippy, but much more well produced than previous Psychedelic Suns albums, the shorter tunes give a chance for the artist to focus on more song based material, rather than lengthy jams.
23. Taras Bulba - Soul Weaver
Former Earthling Society front man Fred Laird takes his new project on an offramp away from the ethnic rhythms and dub sounds into a more song oriented realm, but one that is infused with deep layers of drones and feedback. Reminiscent at times of Flying Saucer Attack.
22. Mammatus - The Ear Food
Some unreleased tracks recorded between Heady Mental and Sparkling Waters, a number of them pure, sweet ambience, but there's also a few rockers including the epic Brain Storm (no relation to the Hawkwind piece Brainstorm).
21. Baast - Trident
70's style jazz fusion collides with modern experimental electronic soundscapes for a fresh and original sound.
20. Hawkestrel - Pioneers of Space
Alan Davey and a multitude of friends get together for some inspired Hawkwind-style space rock.
19. Moon Goose - The Wax Monster Lives Behind the First Row of Trees
Some excellent space rock from this UK band. It's kind of crazy, inventive, surreal at times, but always fun to listen to.
18. Future Wizards feat. OPEL - The Complete Wicker Hymns
A collection of four EP's released during 2019-2020 of acoustic and electric psychedelic folk music inspired by the 1973 film 'The Wicker Man'. Dark and dreamy.
17. Six Days End - In Between Two Nothings
Superb prog and space rock built on a solid base of electronica. A great debut from this Tehran, Iran duo.
16. Pancakes - Moklele Goes to Town
The latest from this Neuhausen, Germany band is raw psych; visceral, edgy and endlessly creative stuff.
15. Cary Grace - Lady of Turquoise
Whether it's her soaring voice on dreamy, spaced out pop tunes or her keyboard and guitar musings on lengthy psychedelic jams, Cary Grace always delivers. And she does doubly so on this top notch double album.
14. Moongazer - Exit Babylon
The sophomore effort from this Miami, Florida band finds them stretching out with much longer, more complicated compositions, adding in some strong progressive elements to their psychedelic adventures.
13. Sky Cries Mary - Secrets of a Red Planet
This Seattle based group makes a stunning comeback after 13 years with possibly one of their strongest albums ever...space rock meets art rock in a beautiful way.
12. Son of Ohm - Deeper Ground
Son of Ohm does an experiment that works out quite nicely. The same deep and atmospheric electronics as his other albums, but this time brought together into shorter, song based pieces, complete with the dreamy vocals more common to his Astral Son albums. Really lovely stuff.
11. The Pilgrim - ...From The Earth To The Sky And Back
This sophomore release finds Gabriele Fiore taking the spacey folk of his first album in a more upbeat, folk rock direction. Some great tunes and some truly sublime moments.
10. Nektar - The Other Side
With a line up featuring three founding members of the band as well as two other Nektar veterans and a new keyboardist, the group mixes new material with vintage but unrecorded material from their classic days for a surprisingly strong album.
9. Soleil Macabre - Queen of Wands
Moody and reflective progressive music strong on atmosphere and organic textures from this Heidelberg, Germany artist. Reminiscent of Mike Oldfield at times.
8. Astrokot - Astrokot i Przyjaciele z Odległych Galaktyk
Deep space ambient music from Poland with Krautrock and free jazz elements to it.
7. Spiral Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy
Spacey drones, dreamy flute, distant chants, ancient throbbing drum machines...four extended jams from these Chicago based explorers that fall somewhere betwixt Sergius Golowin, Cluster and Yatha Sidhra. Trippy.
6. Anjo Gabriel - Anjo Gabriel
An explosive, psychedelic freakout from this Brazilian band. Their first album in seven years.
5. Memnon Sa - World Serpent
Deep, dark, mysterious and majestic, World Serpent finds a place between ambient music and progressive psych.
4. Wax Machine - Earthsong of Silence
Jazzy, mystical, hippie folk rock that hits all the right psychedelic notes.
3. Melodic Energy Commission - Electreum
Reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream...and yet, not. That's just the closest as I can come to describing these electric, rich & organic, Theremin drenched alien soundscapes from this long running Canadian group. Potent stuff that really takes you somewhere else.
2. Moths & Locusts - Exoplanets
From punk infused space rock to the epic, atmospheric space jam of the title track, Canada's Moths & Locusts are back with possibly their best album yet.
1. Magic Brother & Mystic Sister - Magick Brother & Mystic Sister
Imagine, if you will, the jazzy, prog rock styles of the Canterbury scene running into the bizarre psychedelic soundtracks of 60's and 70's Euro-cinema, somewhere in the middle of an occult dream, and you may get a sense for this fantastic debut album from this Italian band. Excellent from start to finish.