12. The Sword - Apocryphon The Sword takes the stoned out buzz of early Black Sabbath and splatters it on an Iron Maiden-sized canvas. This is both their most confident and tripped-out record at the same time.
11. Lee Ranaldo - Between the Times and the Tides Sonic Youth's future may remain in doubt, but it's clear that the members can dish out pretty fine albums on their own. Ranaldo only has a track or two on most Sonic Youth albums, and they're usually highlights. So it's nice to get ten in a row.
9. Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber With Tame Impala's Kevin Parker handling production duties and a lot of the instruments, this is like a very solid stealth album from his day job. But without Melody Prochet's stellar songwriting and vocals, which also touches on Stereolab and oddball psych influences like the Stone Poneys, this album wouldn't be what it is.
8. The Orb and Lee "Scratch" Perry - The Orbserver in the Star House Easily one of the Orb's better latter day efforts, this set often comes across as a more rustic take on their great early records. Perry's fine present doesn't come in so much with a Black Ark sound, but with his trippy rambling. I see Perry pontificating through the park forest as Alex Patterson and Thomas Fehlmann train him with knowing, deranged smiles.
7. The Gateless Gate - Xinjiang An obscure first release that really captures the fire of the transcendent. I reviewed this one on the blog, but I must reiterate that this meditative music is a sublime fusion of the best of 70's Mike Oldfield and the tripper vibes of the highland Asian spiritual planes.
6. Grizzly Bear - Shields I must admit that I didn't catch the critical fire that this band's previous releases ignited. This one, however, is definitely a keeper - extolling the sound of the Band hopped up on an ipod-ready multidimensional tapestry.
5. Wild Nothing - Nocturne Striking directly into the vein of late 80's dream pop, Wild Nothing conjures a mind expanding vision of echoic sonic landscapes. The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen weren't quite the same when utilizing this kind of production, but 'Nocturne' shows us what it should have sounded like.
3. Neil Young - Psychedelic Pill "Americana" suggested that the man might finally fade away, but Neil Young always bounces back with a masterpiece. This one yolks Crazy Horse back on board for the ride and blasts away will genius garage skronk for some epic-length tracks. 28 minutes seems too long for "Drifting Back," but not when Young's guitar successfully ensnares the psychedelic snake.
2. Tame Impala - Lonerism Ten years ago, I considered the Flaming Lips to be at the vanguard of modern psychedelic rock, and Animal Collective threatened to claim that title a few years back, but I think this group from the strange outpost of Perth has run away with the mantle. This sophomore effort ups both the trippiness and the catchiness, with mastermind Kevin Parker basically going it alone as the album title suggests.
I've got a little a sampler for your ear. In my bid for shameless self promomotion, I've included a couple tracks from my own endeavours, Glaze of Cathexis and Damaged Tape. Here's the tracklist:
1. Off the Wall- Lee Ranaldo
2. Sky Trials - Torche
3. Lazuli - Beach House
4. Psychedelic Pill - Neil Young
5. Golden Clouds - The Orb and Lee "Scratch" Perry
6. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards - Tame Impala
7. Out of Your Mind - Glaze of Cathexis
8. Dunhuang - The Gateless Gate
9. Yet Again - Grizzly Bear
10. Cloak of Feathers - The Sword
11. Varuo - Sigur Ros
12. Some Time Alone, Alone - Melody's Echo Chamber
13. Only Heather - Wild Nothing
14. Spectrum of Realities - Damaged Tape