The Best of 2020

One of the bright spots of this year of quarantine was that a lot of great music was released. I started the Turn Me On, Dead Man podcast just about this time last year, though I certainly had no idea what was in store for the coming year. Putting together the podcasts turned out to be a great way to use the time I had at home. At first I only contacted a couple of bands but by the time everything was shutting down I was emailing the artists as a matter of course. I was surprised how many bands offered thoughtful responses to my questions.

About my choices for the best of 2020, I actually made four lists. The first a Mixcloud compilation of some of the best tracks of 2020, followed by a list (in no particular order) of some of the best albums of 2020. After that is a list of reissues, compilations and live albums, and finally some singles and EPs–again, in no particular order.

Before I get to that, I’d just like to get one complaint off my chest. My biggest musical disappointment of the year was the delay of the Beatles Let It Be box set. In each of the last three years, Santa has brought me a wonderful Beatles box set (2017: Sgt. Pepper, 2018: The White Album, and 2019: Abbey Road). I was all set for Let It Be this year, complete with the new documentary by Peter Jackson. But like a lot of things in this past year, that didn’t happen. Instead, Apple Music issued this inexplicable little EP on Christmas day. At Home with the Beatles? WTF?

OK, with that out of the way, on with the lists. First up is my best-of-2020 compilation on Mixcloud. Most of these tracks were included on a podcast earlier in the year, but not all.

00:00 Herbcraft – Eon Rd
06:10 Firefriend – Ongoing Crash
10:18 Strange Motel – Dissonance
13:32 Tambourinen – Wollensak
16:39 The Cosmic Rabbit Holes – The Echo Trees
20:00 The Electric Myrrs – Castles in the Sand (The Adventures of Canvas Outtake)
23:23 Dark Fog – In the Background of Your Mind
25:18 Tia Carrera – Layback
32:29 Helicon – In The End
35:56 Alien Mustangs – Waiting The Dawn
40:54 Long Slow Dissolve – Into Darkness
52:44 Yuri Gagarin – The Outskirts of Reality
60:56 Spiral Wave Nomads – Ten Color Ritual
68:15 Satorinaut – Exclusive All Inclusive
82:45 Liquidacid – Karma Driving
95:05 Pilot Voyager – Tremulous

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Podcast 2020.19 Bogey Dope

What a strange year this has been. I’m sure we could all list several things that have been terrible, but the psychedelia released during this year continues to dazzle. Most of the tracks in this episode have been released in the final quarter of 2020, with a couple of re-releases thrown in, as well. The playlist concludes with “End of Forever” by Samsara Blues Experiment, a fitting sendoff.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
01:35 The Cosmic Rabbit Holes – The Echo Trees
05:10 Firefriend – Three-Dimensional Sound Glitch
09:25 Tambourinen – Wollensak
12:44 Self-Immolation Music – Heaven Is Real
16:52 a/lpaca – 24h a day
18:13 Hypnodrone Ensemble – Biglove
24:27 Joseph of Kirenzi – Acid Wave
30:30 The Gjlioteens – The Summer Was Gone
33:56 Upupayāma – Green Cabana
39:45 Grr Boo – This Summer’s About To Bring Me To My End (Single Version)
42:40 Experimental Psychedelic Club – Golden Teacher
52:01 Samsara Blues Experiment – End Of Forever

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Podcast 2020.18 The Truth, Unity and Love Show: Psychedelic Source Records

One of the best discoveries of the year for me has been Psychedelic Source Records. Over the course of the year, I’ve featured tracks by Satorinaut, Lemurian Folk Songs, Pilot Voyager and Liquidacid, all affiliated with Psychedelic Source Records, a music collective of bands that share members and jam together. Located primarily in Páty, Hungary, Psychedelic Source Records has been prolific of late, with each of the artists releasing multiple albums in recent months. Psychedelic Source Records have made all of these recordings available at name your price on Bandcamp. Below you will find a linked word cloud with several of the artists and albums from Psychedelic Source Records, as well as an interview I did by email recently with Bence Ambrus.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
01:32 psychedelic source records – Only the Song II
10:23 Satorinaut – Medieval Gran Tourismo
22:00 Bence Ambrus – We Are All Around
27:38 Liquidacid – Dimeshift
37:25 Pilot Voyager – Melted Lights
43:17 Rawna – Third Eye of the Sun
51:00 Lemurian Folk Songs – La Caleta

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Podcast 2020.17 Already Dead

These days it does seem like we’re teetering on the brink of some sort of catastrophe, but every day the world lurches on. Maybe, though, we’ve already gone over the edge and we’re just watching this shitshow play out. In any case the great music just keeps coming out. This episode of the Turn Me On, Dead Man podcast features great tracks from across the industrialized world. From the US are Herbcraft (Portland, Maine), Dark Fog (Chicago) Carlton Melton (San Francisco) and a farewell track from the Suzies (Grand Rapids, Michigan). Elsewhere in the Americas are The Suuns (Montreal) and Yajaira (Santiago, Chile), and from Australia comes Los Skallywags (New South Wales). From Europe are Causa Sui (Denmark), Flying Moon in Space (Leipzig, Germany), and coming from further east are Skuma (Chelyabinsk, Russia) and Pree Tone (Kyiv, Ukraine). Closing out the set is a collaboration primarily between Mike Vest (Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK) and Suzuki Junzo (Tokyo) called Mienakunaru.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
01:28 Dark Fog – In The Background Of Your Mind
03:23 Skuma (Скума) – Иза
09:46 Carlton Melton – Waylay
17:46 The Suzies – Bubble Driver
20:32 The Suuns – Death
23:24 Causa Sui – Sole Elettrico
29:00 Los Scallywags – Scattered
32:46 Yajaira – Se va la tómbola
38:00 Flying Moon In Space – The Observer (Radio Edit)
42:18 Herbcraft – III (pt. 2)
47:10 Pree Tone – Fifth O
52:21 Mienakunaru – (I) [excerpt]

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Podcast 2020.16 This Is This

This episode of Turn Me On, Dead Man features a good deal improvisational psych, with powerful tracks from Frozen Planet….1969, Population II and High Arctic, as well as atmospheric tracks from Herbcraft, Magic Cobra and Melody Fields, a little stoner/doom from Outer Head, and lo-fi guitar pop from Honey Radar. It opens with one of my all-time favorite bands, Magic Shoppe.

The title and breaks come from the 1978 Vietnam War epic The Deer Hunter. The cast of The Deer Hunter elevates what is otherwise a shallow, poorly thought out film. As Studs Turkel pointed out, “not since The Birth of a Nation has a non-Caucasian people been portrayed in so barbaric a fashion.” Still, De Niro. And even when he doesn’t make sense (“This is this”) the viewer is swept along by his intensity. “Is this what you want? Is this what you want? I love you. *click*”

00:00 TMODM – Intro
00:50 Magic Shoppe – On High Street (Live)
03:55 Herbcraft – Eon Rd
10:29 Magic Cobra – Golden Child
14:15 Frozen Planet….1969 – Rollback (Green Version)
19:15 Melody Fields – Broken Horse
22:47 Population II – Ce n’est Rêve
30:03 Honey Radar – Lilac Pharmacy
32:21 Outer Head – Left Hand Cult
38:32 High Arctic – First Trip

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Podcast 2020.15 The New Number 2

I recently watched In My Mind, a documentary about an interview with Patrick McGoohan conducted in 1983. The interview was for a documentary that was released the following year about the The Prisoner, which first aired on television in 1967. McGoohan was as enigmatic in the interview as the show itself and interviewer Chris Rodley wanted to revisit the interview more then 30 years later to give it a somewhat less enigmatic presentation. In My Mind had a lot of great footage and given that I revisit The Prisoner every few years (because I want information… information… information…), it was interesting to see.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
00:50 EarthOmen – Black Cloud Part I
05:42 Thee U.F.O. – Floating Eye
08:37 Spiral Wave Nomads – Ten Color Ritual
16:15 The Electric Myrrs – Witchy
20:21 black (w)hole – Psilosy
24:33 C.B. Kidd – Wishful Thinking
28:25 Sun of Man – Heavy Burn
32:45 Druggy Pizza – Radium Canyon
35:30 Burnt Hills – untitled (b3)
41:38 Minimal Bliss – Sunburst Eyes
46:50 Flying Anomaly Theorized – Fire in the Sky
54:40 EarthOmen – Black Cloud Part III
57:35 TMODM – Number 6 resigns

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Podcast 2020.14 Mark IV

As the summer winds down, I’ve been listening to a lot of psychedelia. This summer has been strange but good in a lot of ways. At the top of the list is that we celebrated my son’s first birthday. He seems to enjoy it when I sing Beatles songs (even if no one else does!). But there is something I want him to know:

A lot of people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidents and things. They don’t realize that there’s this, like, lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
00:44 Gloom Merchants – Kids and Their Children
05:50 Hyper Tensions – Solar Stare
07:55 TMODM – Plate o’ Shrimp
08:20 fuguers cove – Tanks/Flanks–>Bar Stool
11:01 Castle Club – Anybody Else
15:25 Excellent Skeleton – Stop Waking The Sun
25:00 TMODM – Time Machines
26:31 Prana Crafter – Chalice of the Fungal Sage
34:04 CCR Headcleaner – High Def
37:50 Martin Rude & Jakob Skøtt Duo – The Short Sun
40:22 TMODM – The More You Drive
40:42 Liquidacid – Scurry Release
46:36 White Manna – ARC
54:44 Lamp of the Universe – Beams of Ra
60:56 TMODM – One in every car

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Podcast 2020.12 Gort Run Amok

With this episode of the Turn Me On, Dead Man podcast I’m back to recent garage/psych releases. Opening this set is “Earth on the Verge of Destruction” by The Uplifting Bell Ends, which put me in mind of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
00:53 The Uplifting Bell Ends – Earth on the Verge of Destruction
04:36 TMODM – Such Power Exists?
04:57 Ringo Deathstarr – Tambourine Girl
09:34 White Hills – A Picture Unto the World
18:39 TMODM – KL93
19:01 Clavicule – Asshole
23:18 Satorinaut – Atropine II
32:54 Caroline Reza – Heart Healing
34:16 TMODM – The Robot’s on the Loose
34:46 Trip Hill – Improvisation 1
38:35 Shroom Eater – Intro/The Illusion
45:34 TMODM – Get That Message to Gort
45:59 The Writhing Squares – Sonic Control
51:57 Dope Smoker – Severn
58:12 TMODM – Gort Run Amok

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Podcast 2020.11 These Go To 11

This show is a departure from the usual recent garage rock and paychedelic releases because this episode is entirely made up of parodies done in character. The title of this episode is “These Go To 11” and that, of course, comes from the mock documentary This Is Spinal Tap, a parody heavy metal band. Some of the parodies in this episode are genre parodies, but most are parodies of artists doing unexpected covers.

Podcast 2020.10 Bad Apples

While the music of this episode of Turn Me On, Dead Man is recent garage rock and psychedelic releases, 2020.10 Bad Apples is also a tribute to the demonstrations that have been going on the last several days in response to the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police. While it would be easy to assume that this event will not change anything, the public outcry has gone well beyond the usual response to events like this. Only time will tell if this represents any sort of turning point.

2020 continues to be a great year for garage rock and psychedelia. I did short interviews with most of the artists featured in this episode. I wanted to know how they were getting along in these strange times. Their responses are below.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
02:19 The Reverberations – Palm Reader
05:30 Lanes – 俳優 [Actor]
08:45 Dayshifters – Greg’s Song
12:51 Turtle Skull – Rabbit
16:50 Psychic Idols – Sheel of the Wizen
21:07 ToneTeeth – Liquid Lady
24:04 Holy Monitor – This Desert Land
27:57 Heavy Trip – Mind Leaf
35:57 Los Pebbles – One of These Days
39:45 The Silk RailRoad – 8 Sided Pyramid
48:44 Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska – ทะเลทราย [Desert]
64:45 TMODM – Outro

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