Aural Innovations Staff Picks for Best of 2014

Happy New Year!!!

Jerry Kranitz (in NO particular order)

Ax Genrich & Band – In A World Of Dinosaurs
The Guru Guru, Krautrock pioneering guitar master is still at large and still the master. For me, this was THE guitar album of 2014.

Chrome – Feel It Like A Scientist
Helios Creed is back with a new Chrome lineup! It Rocks, it’s awesome, I want a U.S. tour!!

Oresund Space Collective – Damo Suzuki moder OSC / Music for Pogonologists
I’ve got two of their releases from the past year in my Best of list. OSC continue to go in at least a little different direction with each new performance. For all improvised, instrumental Space Rock, these guys are among the best on the contemporary scene.

The Timelords – Convergence
Kick ass Hawkwind inspired Space Rock. Nuff said…

Xoo – Tales From A Red Planet
Xoo do a great job of blending Hawkwind styled Space Rock with Progressive Rock influences and good old rock ‘n’ roll with catchy melodies. And it’s a CONCEPT album about a colonized Mars in the year 2073.

Polska Radio One – Cosmos Inside
Outstanding and varied set of music from this Russian band who are Psychedelic but can be completely spaced out, and they liberally apply 60s influences without in any way being retro.

Omenopus – The Archives
This concept album is an epic in every sense of the word, continually shifting between music, song, spoken word sections, and loads of effects, making for a genuine sci-fi space rock tale. Hawkwind meets Goth-Metal and more!

Electric Moon – Mind Explosion / Electric Moon – Innside Outside
Another band that I had to include two of their 2014 releases in my Best of list. For long freeform magic carpet ride Space-Psych jams, these guys are the masters.

Census of Hallucinations – The Nine / Imagine John Lennon
And ANOTHER band that I included both their 2014 releases. Piloted by musicians that have been at it for over 40 years, Census of Hallucinations have been evolving their unique brand of Space/Psych/Prog since their debut in 2000.

Tor-Peders – Brev Fran Ederstorp
This Swedish band recorded what for me is as glorious a retro experience as any early 70s Prog-Psych junkie could hope for. Space Rock, Prog-Psych/Krautrock explorations, twin guitar and organ, Surf-Psych… I love it.

Astralasia – Wind On Water
Astralasia are really indulging their inner Space/Kraut rockers on this outing. Not the Trance/Dub/Techno you might expect.

The Diaphanoids – LSME
This Italian duo play a craftily constructed and absolutely brain frying blend of Trance, Acid-Psych, 70s Krautrock and Space Rock.

EYE – Second Sight
Absolutely freakin’ MONSTROUS early 70s inspired Space/Psych/Prog/Hard Rock from this Columbus, Ohio band. This is THE retro experience of the year!

Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart – Make Believe It Real
Don Falcone’s on-going multiple collaboration Spirits Burning project never disappoints and is always fun for the roster of contributors. Bridget Wishart is a regular but this is the third outing in which she is co-credited. A killer cauldron of Space/Psych/Prog.

Earthling Society – England Have My Bones
For their tenth anniversary release, Earthling Society continue to draw inspiration from the pioneering German Krautrock bands, 60s Psychedelia, Jazz, the blanga of Hawkwind, and more, without ever sounding retro and, yes, still sounding like Earthling Society. These guys are keeping Space Rock interesting, stimulating and fresh.

Civilian Zen – Tell Lie Vision
The best from these guys yet. Influences run the gamut from Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree circa Sky Moves Sideways, Space Prog, Space Blues, and more.

Spaceseed – The Fraternal Order Of
The Georgia based good ‘ol boys of Space Rock pull a stunner with this set of heavy driving Hawkwind inspired Space Rock, Space Metal, Punk Industrial Rock n Roll, Space Folk, and a stellar cast of guests including Bridget Wishart, Cyndee Lee Rule, Alisa Coral, Steve Hayes, and Astro Al.

3rd Ear Experience – Incredible Good Fortune
Killer instrumental Space Rock that’s like Hawkwind, The Spacious Mind and Ozric Tentacles all rolled into one and given a solid 70s Hard Rock backbone and a healthy dose of Prog Rock.

ST 37 – I’m Not Good
These Space-Psych-Punk veterans from Austin are still going strong and still cranking out killer albums. A smoker from start to finish.

Mooch – Mrs Silbury’s Delicious Mushroom Flavoured Biscuits
Mrs Silbury features Mooch at their space rocking best, as ship commander Steve Palmer employs a monster cast, including Bridget Wishart, Gary “Moonboot” Masters, Cyndee Lee Rule, Jez Creek, and Alex Pym.

Christian Mumford

2014 saw many great albums released by new and old artists, echoes of future past as we journey into 2015…. so here is my Top 20 so far… gotta say the biggest disappointment was Mayhem’s “Esoteric Warfare” CD… yucky old whispering Attilla and his industrial sounding cohorts do not match the old band with Dead or Maniac on vocals… so forget all that krap and krank up the spacerock… in no particular order:

Pink Floyd – The Endless River
Mainly being a Syd era fan up to about Meddle and DSOTM era, aside from all the people decrying Guilmore as jerking off all over, i found it rather accessible and laid back, melodic, being culled from demo material 20 years ago, it harkens to the early 70s for me… likey (with reservations!!!).

Krankschaft – Three
Steve Pond carries the ICU/Calvert band on with robotic corporate intergalactic warfare and EMI era Hawkwind sound. Its a great album to get in galactic fist fights with as a kranky and rusty old droid warrior, the CD is a lavish affair with lots of goodies.

IQ – The Road Of Bones
Better neo prog than most bands of this style still around, i am traditionally more Fish era Marillion and Twelfth Night fandom as regards the genre, IQ being abit “pretty” back in the 80s for me. But the new album is pretty damn great.

The Legendary Pink Dots – 10 To The Power Of 9
Dots return with a very strong effort, the epic krautrock industrial noise affair this album is, with some great lyrical content unheard since the 90s era to me, anyway. Buy or die!

Edward Ka-Spel – The Victoria Dimension
Steampunk darkwave dystopia about mining towns and dark towers harkens back to 80s LPDs era like “Asylum” and “The Tower” and Edward’s “China Doll” albums. Very strange and Barrettesque lo key beatnik ramblings with a nod to darker times.

Edward Ka-Spel & Philippe Petit – Planet Earth, Are You Recieving Us!?
Very sleek synth thrashing in the analogue galaxies of deep space and beyond, Edward delivering some exotic space poetry and whatnot in the best Tangerine Dream and Hawkwind skool of space rock, lovely effort.

Gong – I See You
Allen’s latest and final Gong album brims with rebellion and hippie protest anarcho philosophy for the modern age – buy and say good bye to this band of merry Pothead Pixies!

Monster Magnet – Milking The Stars
A sort of re boot / re mix of “Last Patrol” from last year i really enjoyed with its nod to 60s garage rock and Stooges and Hawkwind as usual.

Orange Goblin – Back From The Abyss
New era of new galaxies – these drinking trippers deserve a mention for a solid yet slightly obscure album!

Fu Manchu – Gigantoid
Scott Hill and his crew of stoners map out new territory of Foo Fightin inhalations and hallucinations – not their best but still pretty decent.

Pendragon – Men Who Climb Mountains
This band has been pretty good in the new millenium, especially 2005’s “Believe” struck a chord in me. This latest CD is more neo prog goodness with deeper going lyrics than most of their ilk.

ST 37 – I’m Not Good
This Texas band of space rawk noisemakers have been around forever it seems, and this Cleo label effort seems to be their strongest in a looong time. Plus I had some artwork in the CD booklet so root for that as well!

Peter Hammill – …all that might have been…
I got the 3CD box just upon its release and it is prime Hammill for all VdGG liking souls still starving for ethereal art music and the sounds of a shrill screaming vocalist from England’s finer schools of prog.

Oresund Space Collective – OSC moder Damo Suzuki
3-LP set with the danish improv space rockers and Can’s Damo Suzuki. Its urban krautrock and pretty damn edgy, makes the jazz interest in me either succumb to metal or punk side of things. All improvised goodness!

Hawklords – Censored
The merry band of ex-Hawks just get better and better and the 3rd effort is the best yet. Ron Tree shines, Jerry Richards and Harvey Bainbridge being other shiny Hawks!

Steve Rothery – The Ghosts Of Pripryat
With guests like Steven Wilson and Steve Hackett, the Marillion guitarist weaves some work unheard since his days in Marillion ca. “Misplaced Childhood”. It is a likeable guitar album overall.

Secret Saucer – Nachvollziehens
A remix and live album of sorts, the spacerock supergroup have another go at the older reportoire with renewed energy, including Steve Bemand (TOSH, Timelords, Hawkwind)’s stellar guitarwork!

The Legendary Pink Dots – Chemical Playschool 16+18
A lavish double CD-R chock full of psychedelic dots, overall file under “mystical shit”. And Edward traverses aural experiments in a low key dreampop fashion.

Marillion – Live At The Forum 11/12/14
A nice double christmas treat recorded in London 11. December, its a wondrous mix of new and old Marillion for the holidays. The best of the past few years Racket releases.

Dr. Hasbeen – Infinite Paradox
More Hawkwind inspired spacerock from this crew. Know what to expect! Comes in a great digipack its a lovely litte album, though nothing groundbreaking.

Seeing Hawkwind TWICE in Norway, in Drammen in January and Oslo in September. I met Tim Blake in Drammen, outside, and that was the best of the two shows. JOY!

Musical discoveries for me in 2014
Vibravoid, Shiny Gnomes, Napalm Death, & King Diamond / Mercyful Fate

Jeff Fitzgerald

3rd Ear Experience – Incredible Good Fortune

Annot Rhul – Leviathan

E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr – Spiralo

Juke – The Chimera’s Tale

La Piramide di Sangue – Sette

Lumerians – Transmissions from Telos Vol. III

Margin – Psychedelic Teatime

Plank – Aphidelity

Polska Radio One – Cosmos Inside

Radar Men from the Moon – Strange Wave Galore

The Green Tambourine Band -Let Yourself Be – Aum

Secret Saucer – Nachvollziehens

Solar Project – Aquarmada

Spacebandits – Anti Matters

The Diaphanoids – LSME

The Grand Astoria – La Belle Epoque

The Lay Llamas – Ostro

The Main Sequence – The Main Sequence

Wax Fang – The Astronaut

White Manna – Come Down Safari

Keith Henderson

Out of 114 (!) candidates I heard this year in the space-/psych-/stoner-/kraut-/post-rock realm, my Top 30 (original, full-length) releases of 2014 are as follows:

1. 3rd Ear Experience (US) – Incredible Good Fortune

2. Space Invaders (Germany) & Nik Turner (UK) – Sonic Noise Opera

3. Camera (Germany) – Remember I Was Carbon Dioxide

4. The Spacelords (Germany) – Synapse

5. Sleepin Pillow (Greece) – The World Is Over…

6. Barrows (US) – Red Giant

7. Eye (US) – Live At Relay (B-side new material), plus Second Sight (end 2013)

8. Yuri Gagarin (Sweden) – Yuri Gagarin

9. ST 37 (US) – I’m Not Good

10. Gong (Australia) – I See You

11. Deep Space Destructors (Finland) – III

12. sleepmakeswaves (Australia) – Love Of Cartography

13. Polska Radio One (Russia) – Kholodnoe Solntse (Cold Sun), plus Volga & Severnaya Yagoda singles

14. Annot Rhül (Norway) – Leviathan

15. Papir (Denmark) – IIII

16. Eloy (Germany) – Reincarnation On Stage (Live)

17. La Hell Gang (Chile) – Thru’ Me Again

18. White Manna (US) – Live Frequencies

19. Black Moon Circle (formerly Perandg) (Norway) – Andromeda

20. My Brother The Wind (Sweden) – Once There Was A Time When Time And Space Were One

21. Oresund Space Collective (Denmark) – Music For Pogonologists

22. Vespero (Russia) – Cello Liventures

23. This Is Nowhere (Greece) – Turn On, Tune Down, Drop D

24. Ziguri (Germany) – Kölsch/Schickert/Erdenreich

25. Cobracalia (US) – Cobracalia

26. Spiralmaze (Greece) – Back To The Center

27. Radar Men From The Moon (Netherlands) – Strange Wave Galore

28. Keepers Brew (UK) – Astrolabe

29. Fever Dog (US) – Second Wind

30. La Piramide di Sangue (Italy) – Sette

Archival Reissue Of The Year
Cave (US) – Release (collection of singles & rarities from ’08-’12)

Unreleased Recordings Of The Year
Thunderbolt Pagoda (ex-Skye Klad/Salamander) (US) – potential third album material (click on various purple squares from May-October 2014)

Album Cover Of The Year
Virgen Sideral (Peru) – Virgen Sideral

Recent Return From Long Hiatus
SIANspheric (Canada)

Tribute Album Of The Year
V/A – A Momentary Lapse Of Vinyl (Fruits de Mer 2xCD, to Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd)

Special note of those bands releasing worthy albums in 2013 that I did not hear until 2014, including Deep Space (selected material reissued nicely in 2014 by Sulatron), the aforementioned Eye’s second studio, Black Rainbows, Causa Sui, Fairuz Derin Bulut, Anjo Gabriel, Föllakzoid, New Keepers Of The Water Towers, the first Polska Radio One, etc.

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