Grails – Burning Off Impurities

Style: Psychedelic Rock, Post-Rock

Influences: Arabic Folk, Horror Soundtracks, Kosmisch, Library Music, Spaghetti Westerns, Prog, Stoner Rock, American Primitive Guitar, Raga

Vibe: Adventure, Driving, Cinematic, Exploratory, Epic, Ominous, Nocturnal

Musical Qualities: Instrumental, Dynamic, Fuzzy, Riffs, Progressive, Atmospheric

Elkhorn – Elk Jam

Style: Folk Rock, Psych, Jam Band

Vibe: Scorched, Summer, Desert, Stoned, Pastoral Peaceful, Sunny, Traveling, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Instrumental, Improvisation, Fuzzy, Mellow, Riffs, Loose

King Crimson – Lark’s Tongue in Aspic [Steven Wilson Mix]

Style: Prog, Chamber Rock

Vibe: Mercurial, Menacing, Bombastic, Cryptic, Muscular, Cerebral, Epic, Medieval, Aggressive, Bipolar, Heavy, Headphone Album

Musical Qualities: Dynamic, Complex, Progressive Structures, Uncommon Time Signatures, Percussive, Riffs,

Instrumentation: Electric Guitar, Violin, Mellotron, Electric Bass, Electric Keyboards, Percussion, Drums, Vocals

Steve Hillage – Aura

Style: Progressive Pop, Space Rock, Synth-Funk, Canterbury Scene

Vibe: Playful, Spacey, Colorful, Anthemic, Groovy

Musical Qualities: Catchy, Progressive, Polished, Riffs, Rhythmic, Technical, Shred

Omar Rodriguez Lopez Quintet – The Apocalypse Inside of an Orange

Style: Psychedelic Jazz Fusion, Prog, Jazz-Rock

Vibe: Psychedelic, Chaotic, Bombastic, Energetic, Groovy, Heavy, Manic

Musical Attributes: Polyphonic, Polyrhythmic, Dense, Instrumental, Odd Time Signatures, Complex, Progressive, Technical, Riffs, Improvisation, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: Electric Guitar, Drums, Percussion, Electric Bass, Saxophone, Keyboards

Six Organs of Admittance – The Veiled Sea

Style: Neo-Psychedelia, Post-Minimalism, Kosmische, Ambient, Progressive Electronic

Vibe: Cosmic, Hypnotic, Eclectic, Psychedelic, Focused

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Shredding, Droney, Improvisation, Minimalistic, Repetitive, Riffs

Media Jeweler – The Sublime Sculpture of Being Alive

Style: Post-Punk, Math Rock, Art Rock

Vibes/Moods: Alienation, Overstimulated, Anxious, Urban, Eccentric, Anthemic, Satirical, Dystopian, Angular, Chaotic, Colorful, Urban, Philosophical, Playful

Musical Qualities: Catchy, Dissonant, Riffs, Dynamic, Dense, Melodic, Rhythmic

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I

Style: Drone Rock, Post-Rock

Vibe: Meditative, Desert, Hypnotic, Soothing, Spiritual, Western, Lethargic, Determined, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities: Slow, Riffs, Repetition, Improvisation, Minimalistic, Instrumental

Bardo Pond – Vol. II

Style: Drone Rock, Free-Psych, Space Rock

Vibe: Hazy, Exploratory, Lethargic, Meandering, Cathartic, Dreamy, Loose, Hypnotic, Murky, Communal

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Noisy, Dynamic, Lo-fi, Climactic, Riffs, Jams

Hawkwind – Warrior on the Edge of Time

Style: Space Rock, Heavy Psych, Prog

Vibes: Epic, Triumphant, Apocalyptic, Driving, Fuzzy, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Psychedelic, Riffs, Spacey

Josef Van Wissem / SQÜRL – Only Lovers Left Alive

Style: Film Score (LP1 – Stoner Rock, Noise Rock; LP2 – Psych Folk, Arabic Folk, Gnawa)

Vibe: Nocturnal, Murky, Melancholy, Hypnotic, Raw, Loose, Dark, Loner, Stoned, Droney, Alienation

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Noisy, Fuzzy, Riffs

Steve Hillage – Fish Rising

Style: Prog-Pop, Canterbury Scene, Space Rock, Jazz-Rock

Vibe: Playful, Aquatic, Mystical, Adventure, Spacey, Hypnotic, Sunny, Energetic, Triumphant, Colorful, Conceptual

Musical Qualities: Progressive, Groovy, Technical, Polyphonic, Suite, Melodic, Riffs, Atmospheric, Jams

Ryley Walker – Course in Fable

Style: Progressive Songwriter, Jazz-Rock, Prog-Folk, Post-Rock

Vibe: Spring, Introspective, Warm, Intertwoven, Bright, Colorful, Carefree, Reflective, Personal

Musical Qualities: Lush, Progressive, Odd Time Signatures, Intricate, Dynamic, Polished, Improvisation, Lyrical, Riffs, Orchestral Arrangements

Bardo Pond – Volume 8

Style: Free Psych, Space Rock, Jam Band, Shoegaze

Vibe: Adventurous, Communal, Cathartic, Murky, Epic, Psychedelic, Exploratory, Monolithic, Stoned

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Dynamic, Droney, Atmospheric, Fuzzy, Loose, Riffs

Hawkwind – Hall of the Mountain Grill

Style: Space Rock, Stoner-Prog, Heavy Psych

Vibe: Rebellious, Heavy, Driving, Spacey, Sci-Fi, Triumphant, Confident, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities: Fuzzy, Riffs, Progressive

Klyfta – Cosmic Pilgrimage: The Klyfta Tapes (1972-1975)

This lost slab of mythical prog doesn’t shy away from indulging in the retro pleasures of instrumental psych-jammage and triumphant jazz-rock. The atmospheric guitar, spacey Moog, and Hammond organ playing are both epic and economical, nary a note wasted. Philip Grondahl’s violin playing on the opening track is especially heroic, recalling the flights of Jean-Luc Ponty or Mahavishnu’s Jerry Goodman. Despite their collective starward gaze, Klyfta remains firmly grounded by the tightness of the rhythm section. Aside from the explosive entropy of the first track (beginning with Anders Strand’s expansive upright bass solo), the grooves focus on repetitive momentum with unwavering determination.

Omar Rodriguez Lopez – Old Money

Style: Psych / Prog / Experimental Rock

Vibe: Bombastic, Hallucinogenic, Chaotic, Energetic, Psychedelic

Musical Attributes: Progressive, Dense, Complex, Rhythmic, Riffs, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Technical, Odd Time Signatures

The Mars Volta – The Bedlam in Goliath

Style: Progressive Rock, Psych, Experimental Rock
Vibe: Bombastic, Mystical, Cerebral, Chaotic, Cryptic, Desert, Energetic, Epic, Hallucinogenic, intense, manic, Psychedelic, Complex
Musical Attributes: Dense, Odd Time Signatures, Progressive Structures, Polyrhythmic, Riffs, Technical

Grails – Deep Politics

Darkly cinematic rock instrumentals with some creeping, Dostoevskian vibes. This is probably the most meticulous and progressive album I’ve heard from these guys, who are always finding new ways of funneling their omnivorous library of influences into their dramatic and atmospheric psych rock stylings.

Six Organs of Admittance – Ascent

Taking a detour from his usual loner-droner psych folk style, Ben Chasney enlists former Comets on Fire bandmates to jam some heavy rock burners with a a cosmic amount of electric guitar shredding, evoking Neil Young & Crazy Horse blasting off on a rocket. The new electric energy brought to this album is balanced out by an equal amount of the fingerpicking prog-folk and meditative acoustic ballads that have been developing in his music since the 90’s. While I will always love his more melancholy, nocturnal records that sound like he’s lost in a forest somewhere, I welcome the fiery energy of Ascent.