First Quarter Review 2018

I’m not doing a end of year ‘best of’ list again this year because there is just too much good music around, so my aim is to do a series of ‘quarterly reviews’ bringing my favourite releases (an maybe a couple that I’ve caught up on during that time). I know that a lot of people just can’t keep up with everything that’s going on so I hope that this will help point you in the right direction to explore further for yourself (hint: all the labels featured here are well worth checking out for their other releases).

Click here for the Second Quarter Review.


Familia Des Lobos by Familia Des Lobos (Riot Season)

I feel as if I’ve run out of good things to say about this album, because every time I listen to it it just seems to dig a little deeper into my psyche and render it’s effect more ineffable each time. What I can say is that it just come from nowhere and had very quickly won itself a special place in my brain, and has already told me that 2018 is going to be a good place to be… musically at least.

For the full review click here.

Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay by Psychic Lemon (Tonzonen)

This, for me, is an absolutely brilliant piece of work that presents variations around the themes that are boldly set out in the album’s title and somehow nails then in a variety of different ways. This, for me, is part of the appeal of ‘Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay’, that it reflects some of this different areas of heavy psychedelic music currently being explored and provides the band’s own take on them. I said at the end of my review of Psychic Lemon’s first album that the band could go off in any direction next… for me that still is the case but from any one of the five starting points that the band have laid down here.

For the full review click here.

Droneverse by TBWNIAS (Cardinal Fuzz/ Birdman Sound)

The reason for my repeat visits to the scene of the TBWNIAS crimes lies in the fact that everything that they put out has a real spontaneity to it that makes their music both refreshing and vibrant. There’s always a new angle here, because the music has so many different aspects to it… and there’s usually a story behind it too.

For the full review click here.

The Final Age by The Final Age (Cardinal Fuzz)

…this is a truly stunning piece of work devised by Webb and performed by a group of musicians who all make their own distinctive contributions in a way that just fits so well together. Only by hearing the full album can you appreciate it for what is, a journey through Webb’s mind with each scene being set out in its own idiosyncratic manner. Collectively it makes a powerful statement that somehow reflects the semi-dystopian world in which we find ourselves.

For the full review click here.

Death Pedals by Death Pedals (Hominid Sounds)

This is an album that I just want to keep on playing. It makes me happy in a very cathartic way. It helps me shed aggression and it also somehow feeds me with it’s intelligent arrangements. It reminds me that noise does not equal stupid, but quite the opposite. Most of all, though, it will remind me that Death Pedals were a bloody good band and the visceral feel of this release will both mitigate and intensify my disappointment of never getting round to seeing them live.

For the full review click here.

Mind Minerals by Carlton Melton (Agitated Records)

Mind Materials’ has pretty much all I want from a double album. There’s a certain progression, although this is no concept album, and there is the sort of variety that will take you through different moods and different states of mind. It’s an album that announces itself with a bang, and leaves with a flourish; yet in between there’s plenty there to sit and just be… to zone out and refuel. It is very much an album that has to be played in full to be properly appreciated, and for me that’s very welcome in a culture that wants its gratifications far too quickly. Here Carlton Melton release the musical pheromones slowly and allow you time to react accordingly. In fact I hadn’t really though about the title of the album until I just wrote it, this album really does live up to its name providing materials for the mind.

For the full review click here.

Omegaville by Anthroprophh (Rocket Recordings)

For me this double album is an absolute triumph not only because of the radically different points at either end of the set… but because of the journey it takes you on in between… every track has a different atmosphere to it and is excecuted with a real authenticity. For better or ill it feels like you are being taken through Allen’s mind, a journey that has massive ups and cavernous downs… a trip that you might not want to take lightly… but one that you most definitely want to take. It may be a masterpiece, only time will tell if that is the case.

For the full review click here.

UEF by Oscillation (Fuzz Club)

What emerges is a complex melange of sounds that takes its time to gel in you mind. When listening to it closely it felt a bit like hacking my way through some sonic undergrowth in order to clear a aural pathway through the music. In this sense ‘U.E.F.’ is the more challenging of the two pieces, yet ultimately more rewarding. There’s so much here to work your way through… and that in my book is the mark of a good listen.

For the full review click here.

Solo 2 by Nicklas Sorensen (El Paraiso)

There’s a quiet confidence here that just takes you away from where you are physically and subtly convinces you of its soporific effectiveness… a beautiful moment.

For the full review click here.

Yet Again by Switching Yard (Cardinal Fuzz/ Pre Rock Records)

Which brings us to ‘Class Act’. Rarely has a track been so well named. This is the absolute personification of zoned out rock music. Seriously I could listen to this on repeat for days and never…NEVER… get tired of it. Like the rest of the album there’s something very easy about it, but this kinda belies what’s going on here because this is so well played and angles just right to install itself under your skin… while being just heavy enough to keep your attention.

For the full review click here.

1143 by Kaos Karma (Bam Balam)

This is an album that seems to be getting attention by word of mouth, so I’m more than happy to add to this process. For me it’s one of those records that you get now and again that are utterly peerless, the combination of ideas and musicians just taking the whole thing to a different place… one that is new and hugely welcome. It has certainly found a place on my record rotation list, in fact it seems to be in the habit of jumping to the top on a regular basis and, in the final analysis, you can’t really say more than that.

This was released in 2017 but is too good to miss. For the full review click here.

Bajas Fresh by Bitchin Bajas (Drag City)

This was released in 2017 as well. I did not review it at the time and only bought it a few weeks ago (March 2018) but it is absolutely magnificent. Here’s a quote from the label instead:

Keep on flowing Bajas, so chill and pretty. Next-man expansions of the walls and bridges of our sonics universe, synthesizing amidst a separate but also growing ecosystem. Not enough ‘sh’s in Freshto convey what we’re trying to say

CPA I-III by Mildred Maude (The Weird Beard)

‘CPA I-III’ is not really the stuff of nightmares, but it does represent a snapshot… a moment in time… that the band have captured really well. This is an album that does have a dark dystopian element to it, and will get your brain moving in a certain direction. Most of all though, if you like well-played exciting improvised psych music then this is for you.

For the full review click here.

Why Not Every Night by Acid Cannibals (At War With False Noise)

Driving home from a gig, late night, autobahn-esque mesmerism as the lights and lines are put behind me… searching on the iPod.. wheeling round… yeah one of those old ones that only does music… old school twenty first century vibe. Loaded new stuff before I left to help the miles go by… nothing quite fitting… increasing tiredness only serving to dull the edges of the fuzz. Then I happened on the new EP from Acid Cannibals… downloaded because that bloke off of Cosmic Dead was in it… worth a punt.

For the full review click here.

Chapel Perilous by GNOD (Rocket Recordings)

This is not an exploration of mindfulness, neither is it one of mindlessness. Rather it takes you into a nihilistic realm and rather brutally leaves you there… kicking the props of reality from under you… forcing you to confront your own truth… your own reality… enter at your peril!

For the full review click here.

SOL by Dreamweapon (Fuzz Club)

In ‘SOL’ dreamweapon have made an album that for me is really beguiling. The first three tracks take you increasingly inside yourself, on an inner journey that at first feels detached and cold; something which you feel yourself transcending by the time you get to the ‘Qram’. It is left to ‘Monte da Virgem’ at the end to bring you back with the result that you feel that the band have taken you on a sonic trip but, importantly, not left you there. This is done through tracks that seem to be highly structured, yet are one-take improvisations; something that to a non-musician like myself is quite breathtaking.

For the full review click here.

Melody Fields by Melody Fields (Kommun2)

I often see an album in a new light when I listen to it while writing about it, and this one is no different. I knew that there was more to it than a 60’s tribute album, but I now see it as an album for the summer; but one that takes us through the whole gamut of feelings that summer brings. So while I’m sitting here at the start of spring looking forward to the better weather ahead, I can also see that there will be good and bad times… which is why I think this will be my true soundtrack for the season to come. What I also want to say about this album is that it feels very much like a set of songs for the outdoors… there is a real sense of communing with nature here, and that in itself is a great thing for me. Bring on the summer!

For the full review click here.

Bohdi Cheetah’s Choice by Prana Crafter (Beyond Beyond is Beyond)

There’s no denying that ‘Bodhi Cheetah’s Choice’ was the right album at the right time for me. It is an album that you can immerse yourself it. It feels totally non-prescriptive in the way it presents itself, and rather invites the listener to put their own interpretation on it. This does not mean that this music is passive… rather it is facilitative. It is spiritual rather than religious, and feels channeled rather than written. Listening to it makes you feel that you are part of an oral transmission of feelings and ideas, and that, dear reader, is just what I needed.

For the full review click here.

Electric Dream Demon by Gnob (Drone Rock Records)

‘Electric Demon Dream’ is like dropping a sonic psychedelic as the music gradually slips out of its cultural moorings and into areas that feel less familiar and more fluid. The move from fuzz-laden stoner to free-flowing soma is a subtle but evident one if you compare the beginning of the album to the end. Yet throughout is this solid power that drives you through the set keeping you just about on the rails and stopping you from flying into the hazy ether.

For the full review click here.

Recondite by Dead Sea Apes (Cardinal Fuzz/ Sunrise Ocean Bender)


‘Recondite’, the album I’m putatively reviewing here, is a collection of tracks and alternative mixes previously released on compilations and such like, and listening to these tracks has caused me to write what you have just read. What this tells me that this is a collection of tracks that are by no means throw away, but a great reflection of the band’s ‘development’ over the previous five or so years.

Rainbow Grave/ Orthodox Split 7″ (God Unknown Singles Club Vol 3)

Rainbow Grave, the sort of heavy band that I imagine when you stand in the middle of their native Birmingham on a dirty night you completely get (that’s how I first understood Black Sabbath by the way). Rainbow Grave are the sort of band that are just relentless, pummelling away until you just have to give in. On the evidence of this track, ‘Death Pyramid’, I’ll be looking into them more thoroughly because this is a really top bit of nihilistic noise that makes Napalm Death seem almost utopian. On the other side is Orthodox, a Spanish band that sounds like anything but. This is brilliant stuff, a strangely fucked-up melange of instruments that just fit together in a weird way… this is on the edge of my accessibility and, you know what, that’s just how I like it. This Orthodox track, ‘Spain is the Place’ is stretching me, daring me to like it. Well I do dare…

For the full review of God Unknown Singles Club Vol. 3 click here.

Click here for the Second Quarter Review.



Thanks very much for reading my blog, I really appreciate this. I write it as a labour of love to help me enjoy music, and to give something back to the many talented people who put out these incredible sounds.

To make it as enjoyable as possible for others I do pay extra so there are, for instance, no ads on these pages; but it would be great if the blog could pay for itself.

So, if you’ve really enjoyed your visit here and have found some music that you think is amazing, why not buy me a coffee (I write in independent cafés a lot) by clicking the “make a donation” button on the sidebar or footer depending on your device.


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