Best psychedelic music of 2022

Hi all, it’s time to wrap up the year with some of our music picks of 2022. Thanks to all our readers and subscribers, have a great new year! //Mertsi & Leo
Article Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana

Mertsi’s picks

The Black Angels – Wilderness of Mirrors

With yet another fantastic album, the legendary Texan group The Black Angels cement their place among the very best of neo-psychedelic bands. In Wilderness of Mirrors, their riffs are rough and lyrics sharp as ever. This is a well-balanced album with a number of powerful psych tracks.

Abraxas – Monte Carlo

Abraxas is a new project by former Los Bitchos member Carolina Faruolo and Danny Lee Blackwell of Night Beats. 
Monte Carlo is the duo’s enchanting debut, with influences of smoky latin rhytms, R&B, and dub. As Blackwell puts it: “Planet Abraxas is a world filled with jungles, mist-covered rivers, panthers lurking in the night, desolate shopping malls, Neolithic citadels and sand-worn walls.” I can’t wait to spin these songs on next year’s dj gigs.

[By the way, Blackwell was a gift that kept on giving this year; I could have easily added Night Beats’ wonderful Levitation Session to this list as well.]

La Femme: Levitation Sessions

In their Levitation live session, Parisian psych institution La Femme unleash a discography spanning set dripping in LSD and casual chic, transmitted from a smoky room in Normandy, France. The band chats a tad too much to my taste inbetween some tracks, but neverthless they absolutely nail the session with some mesmerising tunes and sparkling outfits. Try, for instance, the exotic-sounding ”Sphynx” or the wonderfully trippy ”Je Plane”.

Wild Rocket – Formless Abyss

Speaking of trippy, the Irish Wild Rocket takes you somewhere on the outskirts of cosmos. Formless Abyss, a swirling 41-minute repetitive groove consisting of three tracks, can be recommended for friends of Oranssi Pazuzu, Dark Buddha Rising, Circle, 10 000 Russos, or Lumerians.

And finally, some music video singles of the highest quality: improvised dance fiesta from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, some seriously fuzzy stuff from Goat, and some oceanic, super-smooth scenery by Baby Cool.

Leo’s picks

Kikagaku Moyo – Kumoyo Island

The Japanese psych rock band decided that past year will be their last. It’s a shame, but it can also be a blessing if their creativity is waning. The last album contains one of the bangers of the year, Dancing Blue, but as a whole it has not reached its predecessors Masana Temples (2018) and House in the Tall Grass (2016). But definitely enjoyable LP and worth checking out. The album also surprised with the amount of ambient soundscapes. It will be interesting to see what the band members come up with next. One thing to follow is label Guru Guru Brain founded by members Go and Tomo. They have released interesting stuff from bands like Dhidalah, Minami Deutsch and Mong Tong.

A live performance from their last show.

Tombstoned – Dangers Of The Fading High

As much a pick-up from last year as an expectation for this year. Finnish doom/stoner band Tombstoned released a new song after a long time on Weedian’s Finland compilation. The riff from the beginning is just so damn quivering. Hopefully more stuff coming soon.

Mildlife Live from South Channel Island

The pandemic eased this year and the gigs started to roll again. One band that was familiar before, but took things to a new level live, was Australian Mildlife. They are a sovereign live performer of psychedelic, danceable jazz-funk without any major gimmicks. The band has also toured with King Gizzard. This year Mildlife released a live album recorded on fort island instead of new studio material.

Kari Kosmos – Mielen aika (kirja)

Kiinnostava suomenkielinen kirja, joka on saattanut mennä monilta ohi. Vuonna 2021 syöpään kuolleen Kari Kosmoksen postuumisti julkaistu Mielen aika: psykedeelisen kulttuurin historia ja visio kertoo tajunnan laajentamisesta ja ihmisistä sen takana. Huom: Emme ole itsekään vielä päässeet kirjaa lukemaan, joten tämä suositus perustuu siihen, miltä kirja vaikuttaa. Lisää kirjasta Ylen jutussa. (A book recommendation, only in Finnish!)

Angelo Badalamenti (1937—2022)

This year, at least Hawkwind legend Nic Turner and kraut pioneer Manuel Göttsching have moved on to other frequencies. One of those who also touched me was Angelo Badalamenti, composer of David Lynch’s dreamy soundtracks. Here’s a video in his memory that always cheers the mood.

To enjoy psychedelic treats as fresh as they come, do subscribe to our four Spotify Playlists.


Best psych albums of 2019

As Leo is focused on our next Spotify theme playlist, Mertsi chose his top psychedelic albums, gigs and curiosities of the fine year 2019. Thanks to all great bands, psych festivals (especially Manse Psych Fest and Helsinki Psych Fest) and fellow bloggers from this year!

Mertsi’s best psychedelic albums – top 10 (in random order)

10 000 Russos – Kompromat
Incredibly powerful, machine-like yet vivid display of cold war kraut, as I took the liberty to call it in my review and interview of this brilliant Portugese trio.

Vanishing Twin – The Age of Immunology
This masterpiece takes you afar, mesmerizing with a spectrum of music styles all the way from French avant-garde to groovy soul psych and fairy tale -like spoken word, each mastered by this skillful group. I got to see Vanishing Twin in my home town Turku’s Ilmiö Fest, but the 40-degree heat at the venue seemed to take some toll on them. Still, one of my favourite records. Read my album review here.

Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
I don’t care how psychedelic this is or isn’t (it isn’t), but this rich, beautiful, strong album with progressive and classic pop elements deserves to be on every list I could make about 2019. Lead vocalist Natalie Laura Mering is out of this world.

Various – Reverb Conspiracy Vol Six
This compilation introduced me to so many bands around the world I wasn’t familiar with (including Frankie and the Witch Fingers, Nice Biscuit and Julia Robert), while celebrating currently strong names like Nest Egg and Psychic Lemon.

Various – Self Discovery for Social Survival
This summery and colourful soundtrack was created as a collaboration of psych musicians, film-makers and surfers. Dungen warms up the beach folk and Peaking Lights leads the evening party, to name some bands involved. Read my article about the record here.

Psychic Bloom – Mysterious Temple
I found this band recently and instantly felled in love with its classical neo-psych [sic] sounds. This band gives it touch to international psychedelia from Tehran, Iran, but the songs stand brilliantly on their feet even without this empowering fact.

Ghost Funk Orchestra – A Song for Paul
Groovy, dancing psychedelic funk with fuzzy and mysterious, retro-ish sounds – gotta love it. Walk like a Mother Fucker for me is one of the tracks of the year.

YĪN YĪN – The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers
Speaking of dance music, this psychedelic funk band from Switzerland nailed it as well. Oriental influences such as Thai guitar work sweetly in the band’s cosmic groove.

K-X-P – IV
The Finnish kraut-psych-electronic-ambient group returned with a bang – and a beat, for the orchestra include a drummer contrary to the album’s predecessor. IV only consist of three songs, two mega-long ones and a shorter piece, and they are all powerfully hypnotic.

Centrum – För Meditation
This is a calming, intensively psychedelic record, skillfully controlled and meditating from the first sound to last. As we very well know in Finland, Swedes are great in everything and psych rock is not an exception.

Bonus Categories

Best Gig: Kingston Wall by JJylli, Kuoppis & VHB at Logomo
Seeing Kingston Wall, for me the greatest psychedelic band in Finland of all times, with it’s two living members combined with Von Hertzen Brothers, was a dream come true. I was just a kid when the band was in prime and its front man Petri Walli still around.

Best psychedelic single: All Them Witches – 1×1
As you read the list to the very end, you’ll find some adrenaline useful.

Best psych albums of 2018

Leo and Mertsi chose their top psychedelic albums, gigs and curiosities of the fine year 2018.

Mertsi’s Best psychedelic albums – TOP 10 (in random order)

Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples (Guruguru Brain)
A dominating performance once again from the Japanese group. The band’s sound is truly unique and enchanting, their latest LP as coherent and otherworldly as their two previous ones, yet more laid-back.

RF Shannon – Trickster Blues (Cosmic Dreamer)
One of my favourite findings this year. RF Shannon is not a very well-known name in the “psych” scene, but thanks to Fuzz Club who distributed his new album in Europe, I got to know the Texan’s music and instantly fell in love. Trickster Blues is a great album filled with strong desert blues melodies.

Our Solar System – Origins (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond)
The Swedish band for me is one of the best psych studio bands in Scandinavia. With a gigantic 21-minute one-sider and four shorter tracks, Origins takes over the listener with a relentless psych-pagan element-bending power.
Read my full album review in Finnish here.

Black Helium – Primitive Fuck (Riot Season)
The LP was sold out before I had time to buy it, which still hurts my guts! Black Helium’s album is a mixture of sturdy rock’n’roll sounds, garage psych, kosmische and groovy stoner. The songs are full of such power that I was not surprised to read the band was formed in 2016 for a special one-off Halloween gig at a heady Londonese cub.

L’Eclair – Polymood (Beyond Beyond is Beyond)
Instrumental disco-funk-kosmische smoothness and groovy synths hailing from Switzerland. I like to play this record when I’m hosting a dinner or an evening with my friends. Coke Mountain is one of the psychedelic tracks of the year – so beautiful yet powerfully growing that it gives me goosebumps.

Black Lizard – Celebration Of A New Dawn (Fuzz Club)
Celebration Of A New Dawn by the Finnish group is a colorful and balanced psych/garagerock album that flows warmly and rocks smoothly.
Read my full album review in Finnish here.

Jacco Gardner – Somnium (Full Time Hobby)
I’ve been a fan of Jacco since I saw him for first time live at his home country Netherlands in 2013. He’s a fantastic musician and an likable artist. For Somnium he used old synths and other imaginative solutions to create timeless sounds. It’s a great album, though I expected a tiny bit more.

Kiki Pau – Hiisi (Beyond Beyond is Beyond)
Take a path to the forest and don’t turn back until you reach the verdant end. Skillful and imaginative album full of folky kraut rock and epic Pink Floydish jams from the Finnish band.
Read my full album review in Finnish here.

Hookworms – Microshift (Domino)
While the Leeds band’s new album wasn’t as psychedelic as their previous ones, it was a brilliant mixture of indie rock and up-beat kraut influenced electronic pop that provided some of the strongest songs of the year, like Negative Space.
Read my full album review in Finnish and English here.

Throw Down Bones – Two (Fuzz Club)
Combinations of techno and psych rock have clearly been on the rise, and I’ve been curious about it from the start. Two by Throw Down Bones may be the best mixture of acid house and krautrock so far.

Bonus categories

Best Live Gig: 10 000 Russos at Fuzz Club Eindhoven
Out of dozens of powerful live sets in Eindhoven, this one from the Portugal trio was perhaps the most astonishing. The rhythm of their haunting dark psych masterpiece Policia Preventiva (aka Germinal) is so powerful, yet the band plays it chillingly calmly.

Most Promising Psychedelic Band: Love’n’Joy
If their future LP (hope that happens soon) holds more of jewels like Come About, we’ll be seeing this Ukrainian band in the next year’s list as well.

Leo’s favourites

Yussef Dayes and Alfa Mist – Love Is The Message (Cashmere Thoughts)
London jazz duo Yussef Kamaal split up unfortunately after their magnificent debut in 2016. This year they both came back on their own and especially Yussef Dayes’ return with Alfa Mist hit the spot with it’s soulfulness and warmness. Its live version (below) recorded in Abbey Road is my most listened song of the year.

Jacco Gardner – Somnium (Full Time Hobby)
Overall mesmerizing instrumental LP is a great record that don’t need skipping. Leaving vocals out feels like a good choice, they might have broken the dreamy atmosphere. Less baroque, more synth sounds in the spirit of Vangelis and Mort Garson.

Jesse – Fluids (Höga Nord Rekords)
Even though, my expectations for Finnish band Jesse’s Höga Nord release were super high, Fluids didn’t let a long-time Jesse fan and a friend of Höga’s catalogue down. A side pure bangers, B side goes under the water and needs more time to dive to appreciate. Love to hear how Jesse’s music evolves with every record.

Spencer Zahn – People of the Dawn (Double Denim)
I found Zahn’s album on September, but its magic becomes stronger now: it is a perfect soundtrack for dark and snowy winter landscape. Zahn conjures beautiful and scary world with his double bass and synthesisers. Not for dancing.

Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples (Guruguru Brain)
Japanese guys can handle different styles from prog to psych to space rock. The strongest tunes for me are their ballads, Nazo Nazo in this album especially. Its video is also easily my most loved and watched music video this year.

Träden – Träden (Subliminal Sounds)
New group by members of classic 60s Swedish psychedelic rock group Träd, Gräs Och Stenar. Over-an-hour length monster has such an engaging moments from the beginning it should not be missed.

Nu Guinea – Nuova Napoli (NG Records)
Disco record from Italy (2018) that could be from Italy (1983). Favourite tracks Stann Fore and ’A Voce ‘E Napule.

Psychic Lemon – Frequency.Rhythm.Distortion.Delay (Tonzonen Records)
Fuzzy and catchy uptempo loops make it easy to fall into the music. The awakening from trance comes in the last track which is more laid-back than the other four in the album.

Steven Julien – Bloodline EP (Apron Records)
Maybe my most listened record of the year. Ode to Roland synths and drum machines. Long and groovy machine drum beats sometimes topped with gently melodies. Start from Queens of Ungilsan.

Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs (Tan Cressida, Columbia)
Only 20-minute long album is a manic stew. Short songs neither fade in or out and the beats are digitally constructed sample-based drafts. More shades in Earl’s world than in the previous dark/slow album.

Bonus Categories

Best Live Gig: The Mauskovic Dance Band at Shacklewell Arms, London
I have been a fan of the band since I saw their hilarious music video Analog Fruit last year. Free gig on Sunday evening was packed and sweaty experience in a small venue. Mauskovics looked like a group of crooks who were set free from the prison to play the gig. They played in a cheerful, hungry and sovereign way.

Keep an eye on: Spill Gold
Kraut/psych trio from the Netherlands released a promising EP in 2018 and is convincing on stage too. Hopefully in 2019 we will hear their debut LP.

Kolmas Korva: Vuoden levyt ja muut poiminnat 2017


Vuosi 2017 on paketissa. Kolmas Korva listasi vuoden mieleenjäävimpiä levyjä, keikkoja ja biisejä.


Mertsin poiminnat

Parhaat psykedelia-levyt:

Circle – Terminal

Omaehtoisesta ja riemastuttavasta rock-levystä tuli heti klassikko.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard & Mild High Club – Sketches of Brunswick East

“Hissimusaa”, totesi yksi Kolmas Korvan seuraaja. Toinen tulkinta on “King Gizzardin vuoden paras”, riippuen siitä, tykkääkö liskokingeistä jameissa vai pameissa. (King Gizzard julkaisi vuoden viidennen levynsä tätä juttua kirjoittaessa, eli bändi piti uskomattoman kuuloisen lupauksensa viiden levyn julkaisutahdista.)

Jane Weaver – Modern Cosmology

Ei yhtä vahva kuin konseptilevy The Silver Globe (2015), mutta hyvä psykedeelinen popalbumi yhtä kaikki.

Siinai – Sykli

Suomalaisia psykedeliajulkaisuissa ei korostu määrä vain laatu. Siinain hypnoottisen ja aiempia kypsemmän täyspitkän kruunasi komea levyjulkkarikeikka.

Mt. Mountain – Dust

Australiasta tulee paljon hyvää psykerockia. Mt. Mountainin pitkät psykedeeliset kappaleet ovat kuin aavikon kangastuksia.

Julie’s Haircut – Invocation And Ritual Dance Of My Demon Twin

Kokenut italialaisbändi löi shamanistisella, vivahteikkaalla levyllä itsensä läpi ns. laajennettuun tietoisuuteen.

Paras klubikeikka: Tinariwen, Tavastia 27.11.

Tuaregipoppoolla on aivan uskomaton karisma. Bändin tekninen ja hypnoottinen aavikkoblues pääsi akustisesti oikeuksiinsa Tavastialla. (Kuva: Vilma Timonen)


Paras festarikeikka: Ylva, Ilmiö-festari 29.7.

Elektronista musiikkia, rapia ja teknoa joikulauluun yhdistävä Ylva-kokoonpano soitti lumoavan keikan Turun illassa. Saamelaisen kommandopipon takaa laulava Niillas Holmberg vaivutti transsiin. (Kuva: Paadar Images)


Sukellus psykedeeliseen metatasoon -kappale: Mikko Joensuu: House of Fire

Mikko Joensuun Amen-levytrilogia ansaitsisi kaikkea suitsutustaankin enemmän krediittiä. Kolmas levy sukeltaa uskon ja ihmiselon ydinkysymyksiin.

Leon poiminnat

Vuoden debyytti: Soft Power – In A Brown Study

Tyylit levyllä vaihtelevat sulavasti Pekka Strengiä muistuttavasta jazzista suorasukaisempaan säröiseen rokkiin. Soft Power toimii vielä paremmin livenä, ja esimerkiksi 2. helmikuuta on mahdollisuus nähdä bändi Korjaamolla.

Vuoden kesälevy: Lemurian Folk Songs – Maro

Ensi kesän toiveena on nähdä tämä budapestilainen stoneria ja bluesia soittava bändi vihreä lasipullo-olut kädessä paahteisena kesäpäivänä puistokonsertissa. Erityispomintana levyltä Temple of Moonin kuuma kitarariffi.

Vuoden livetaltiointi: Mauskovic Disco Band – Analog Fruit

Yksi vuoden ilahduttavimmista biiseistä eikä vähiten sen musavideon takia. Kuusihenkinen hollantilaisbändi on ahtautunut maalle tyypilliseen kanavalaivaan, The Mauskovic Disco Shipiin, ja rykäisee livenä psykedeelisen diskobiisin. Kaikki toimii laulajan riekaleista hattua ja banaaniperkussiota myöten.

Vuoden kilkattelulevy: BANANA – LIVE

Riippuen omasta mielentilasta, levyn musiikki voi joko ärsyttää tai vaivuttaa hypnoottiseen tilaan. Marimbat ja vibrafonit nakuttavat rytmiä tarkasti ja välillä musiikista tuleekin mieleen säveltäjä Steve Reich. Toisaalta vastapainoksi levyn päättää maalaileva pianon ja klarinetin yhdistelmä – ilman kilkuttelua.

Vuoden louhinta: Cybe – Tropisch Verlangen

Joka vuosi kovimmat musadiggarit kaivelevat maan alle hautautuneita julkaisuja ja artisteja menneisyydestä. Rodriguez, William Onyeabor jne. Tämän vuoden yksi kiinnostavimmista uudelleenjulkaisusta on hollantilaisen Cyben kokoelmalevy. Cybe eli Siebe Baarda matkusti 80-luvun alussa Kaakkois-Aasiaan, vaikuttui sikäläisestä menosta ja julkaisi kolme kasettia vuosina 1981-85. Tälle kokoelmalle on poimittu noilta kaseteilta kymmenen trooppisen elektronista biisiä, joista osa menevämpää rumpukonerytmiä, osa enemmän new age/ambient- osastoa.