Frig You Friday Presents: Frig You Fuzz – The Best Psych, Stoner, Prog, And Heavy Rock Of The Year (So Far)

As is tradition, every Fuck You Friday begins with: “Fuck me, there is a LOT of music out in the world.” But as the keenest and kleverest of you eagle-eyed shit-shellackers out there have surely noticed, today is not Friday and this is not a regular Fuck You.

Here at Fuck You Friday (But Also Occasionally On Other Days) Cayenne Enema Emporium, we have spent a bit more time than usual this year exploring the wild, wooly, woofer-wetting world of stoner, psych, prog, fuzz, heavy everything bagel rock, and for no other reason than the fact that despite the persistent bluster and cussing (…clusstering?) we genuinely enjoy digging in the dirt to find rocks that you other similar-minded lunkheads might like to carry with you, here is a woefully incomplete list of some of 2023’s best heavy psych and whatever albums. Ten of them, in fact, and presented alphabetically.

Turns out we got to the same place in the end: “Fuck you, why not go listen to some of THIS music?”

Acid King – Beyond Vision

Who be it: Scene legend and linchpin Lori S. brings San Francisco’s Acid King back from an eight-year break with the band’s first album recorded with two guitarists.
It be what: You can still hear the distant rumble of motorcycles and smell the long-haul exhaust of the band’s past, but Beyond Vision is a deeper, subaqueous trip of space and suspended time. Lori S.’s guitar tone still flattens mountains, but the album feels like a through-written suite, a pushing out and a burrowing in. Get with this if you dig the righteous groove of walking a faultline as it trembles in slow motion.
You it why: Listen, chucklehead, I don’t know what tingles your shingle, but a big ol’ fuck you from the ramparts of an extremely arrogant castle if you can’t get with the King.
Get with:Electro Magnetic

Agusa – Prima Materia

Who be it: Swedish five-piece is conspicuously thrilled to be living like it’s 1973 on their superb fifth full-length.
It be what: Agusa’s music is classic-styled instrumental progressive rock in the mode of Jethro Tull, Yes, and early Genesis, full of Hammond organ swells, breathy and overblown flute, nimble and often dancing instrumental interplay, and heady, multi-part songwriting. Much like some of their fellow travelers in contemporary bands like Wobbler, Anekdoten, and Tusmørke, Agusa adds a lot of Scandinavian folk influence to the sound. Beyond any those particulars, though, is the fact that Agusa is simply fantastic at nailing everything from the songwriting to the production to the performance. Each song is wrapped around indelible melodies and taut, playful instrumentation, and if you can listen to these sunnyside-up tunes without cracking a smile, then please close the door behind you because we are trying to have a good time.
You it why: Listen, chucklehead, I don’t know what steams your cream, but a big ol’ “fuck you” from the elegantly jostling back of a couple heavy horses if you can’t get with the ‘Gus.
Get with:Under bar himmel

Buddha Sentenza – High Tech Low Life

Who be it: Instrumental heavy psych five-piece from Heidelberg, Germany.
It be what: High Tech Low Life is a beautifully immersive trip of cinematic, narrative instrumental rock that moves easily between chunky walloping and cosmic stretch. The tight, punchy “Ricochet” is the most straightforward piece, but even then it smears and wobbles like light through an unsteady prism, and on the album’s final two songs, Buddha Sentenza push even further into psychedelic wandering, swapping guitar-and-keys licks for twangy acoustic digressions, drone-laced doom, and spacey fusion.
You it why: Listen, chucklehead, I don’t know what hoists your joist, but a fastidiously t-squared “fuck you” from the foundation of a middle finger-shaped skyscraper if you can’t get with the Budd.
Get with:Afterglow

Cleõphüzz – Mystic Vulture

Who be it: This gorgeous album is, sadly, the swansong from this psychedelic stoner doom band from western Québec.
It be what: Mystic Vulture has, quite frankly, dominated the “albums with cowboy hat-wearing birds of prey” space this year. More importantly, though, Cleõphüzz’s cello-drenched, psychedelic desert rock is engrossing, wide-ranging, and tremendously tactile. The guitar twang evokes vast, desolate plains, the vocals are both gritty dust storms and alluring trade winds, and the bass plumps and gallops like a Pacific-bound train. If you put your goddamn ears to it, you might hear sympathetic vibrations with SubRosa, Across Tundras, Grayceon, Solstafir, or Witch Mountain, but you know what? You might not, because your life is your own. Cleõphüzz rides out every furrow and glorious groove in the knowledge of that same precious truth.
You it why: Listen, chucklehead, I don’t know what puts a doubloon in your pantaloon, but a roadkill-scented “fuck you” from the politely untrammeled Canadian wilderness if you can’t get with the ‘Phüzz.
Get with:Desperado

Edena Gardens – Agar

Who be it: A recent blossoming from Denmark’s El Paraiso family, Agar is the second album from Edena Gardens, featuring members of Causa Sui and Papir.
It be what: The three-piece (two guitars and drums) dives headlong into meditative, loose, improvised psych-rock grooves that are often closer to proggy post-rock than anything else. There’s a bit of Constellation Records-type abstraction mixed in with Causa Sui’s fuzz-jazz psych, but it’s also not hard to see Agar through a pre-dawn mist where Earth’s late-period clean twang and Dirty Three’s Ocean Songs walk along the beach with Mark Knopfler in a Pink Floyd t-shirt. Short version: it’s deep, it’s rich, it’s now.
You it why: Listen, chucklehead, I don’t know what chubs your nub, but a ten-times reverbed “fuck you” from the neck of a distressingly amplified violin if you can’t get with the ‘Den.
Get with:Veil

I, Captain – Kemisk V​ä​lf​ä​rd

Who be it: Friends, please observe that two (2) members of the four (4) Finns in I, Captain are wearing Sleep t-shirts in their Bandcamp profile picture.
It be what: Big, ball-swinging stoner riffs are the order of the day here, which means that a song like the lurching swagger of “Adekvat” might be one of the heaviest things you’ll find on this entire list. I, Captain know how to smartly play up contrast, though, so their verses often pull back into spacey sparseness or, as on most of “Bastuknuten,” a veritable space rock symphony of pulsating drone. At its most psychedelically intense, Kemisk V​ä​lf​ä​rd borders on the same level of crippling, resinous weight as prime Ufomammut.
You it why: Listen, chucklehead, I don’t know what wrenches your bench, but a squirrelly “fuck you” from a damn dirty ape and a half if you can’t get with You, Captain.
Get with:Aska

Ignu – Unity III

Who be it: Polish trio takes an interstellar journey… and you can too!
It be what: Ignu spends a lot of time in lilting, folk-tinged prog territory, but Unity III is also a spaced-out concept album with computerized voiceover, fake radio station interstitials, and synth excursions. The heaviest that Ignu gets still remains in a territory of knotty, acoustic density, so even though these 54 minutes travel across great stylistic distance, the experience is consistently soulful, playful, and gently trippy. Is it like Kraftwerk visiting Canterbury? Is it like getting high and watching 2001 after listening to Prince’s Gold Experience? Yes, no, always, never, space.
You it why: Listen, chucklehead, I don’t know what swerves your curves, but a HAL-sized “fuck you” from the bridge of a thoroughly bonged-out spaceship if you can’t get with the ‘Gnu.
Get with:Through a Black Hole

Mammatus – Expanding Majesty

Who be it: California trio returns in triumph after eight years with an astonishing album of instrumental dexterity and cosmic weightlessness.
It be what: Though their music is every bit as densely virtuosic as peer groups like Earthless or Elder, Mammatus’s latest album is patient, mellow, and supremely confident, happy to take its time exploring each angle of whatever particular sunbeam it finds itself in from moment to moment. Synths and guitar arpeggios scatter off each other, the bass builds and rebuilds a house against the ocean’s sun-shattered mirror. Mammatus’s instinct feels searching, restless, spiritual, like a psychedelic rock analog to John Coltrane’s Meditations. Expanding Majesty can’t do the work for you, but it wants you to be healed.
You it why: Listen, chucklehead, I don’t know what wides your stride, but a persuasively optimistic “fuck you” from the other side of a dragon-shaped hole in your roof if you can’t get with the Mamm’.
Get with:Foreveriff

Meteor Vortex – Ignition Sector

Who be it: Instrumental power trio from Finland lays down a bed of hypnotic space rock on full-length number two.
It be what: Of all the albums on this list, Ignition Sector lands closest to those power-grandaddies of space rock, Hawkwind. While also clearly indebted to the scene that has sprouted from such fiery psych Hawkwind disciples as Earthless, Meteor Vortex runs a tighter, more hypnotic ship across these four pieces, so that even though the 23 minutes of album opener “Orbital Impulses” sprawl out in a number of psychedelic tangents, the song is tethered to insistent, hypnotic, propulsive grooves in the drums and bass, ratcheting the tension and jettisoning your consciousness across head-flattening horizons.
You it why: Listen, chucklehead, I don’t know what rockets your sprocket, but a Godzilla-sized “fuck you” from an amphibiously bad acid trip at a pet store if you can’t get with the Mete’.
Get with:Orbital Impulses

Polymoon – Chyrsalis

Who be it: Hyperactive modern space-prog from this Finnish five-piece.
It be what: Polymoon’s second album is a stream overrunning its banks, a chiming, volatile, wildly primal yet still somehow delicate kinetic current. Pushing the psychedelia through both wall-to-wall synthesizers and fast, sweeping repetition, Chrysalis at times feels like the modern, emotional prog of Anathema or Airbag played by a few dozen hummingbirds, while at other times it feels like something far more alien. The second half of this beautiful, electric churn of an album really ramps up the intensity, with the climax of album closer “Viper at the Gates of Dawn” (an 11/10 song title if ever there was) approaching a full-on space-psych shredfest. If thinking about fellow Finns Kairon; IRSE! isn’t enough of a reference point, you might imagine Jupiter-era Cave In and current prog Opeth by way of Ancestors. Or you might not! The world is wide and full of wonder.
You it why: Listen, chucklehead, I don’t know what tugs your jug, but a metamorphic “fuck you” from the inside of an exclusively obtuse cocoon if you can’t get with the ‘Moon.
Get with:Instar

Posted by Dan Obstkrieg

Happily committed to the foolish pursuit of words about sounds. Not actually a dinosaur.

  1. That Mammatus is the something else, the album I needed this year. Shades of Popol Vuh’s grandeur to the summit of Foreveriff… I don’t know higher praise than that


    1. Right? The Mammatus is truly something special, and every time “Foreveriff” comes on, even though it goes for 20+ minutes I want it to keep going on and on.


  2. Holy smokes! What a collection of acid-spiked gems. I hadn’t heard of Ignition Sector before now, and they’re an absolute Hawkwindian blast. Fuck you very much for the heads-up, brother. Mammatus and Acid King – wowzers and a half, huh.


    1. Well, chum, you’ve turned me on to so much disgusting crusty noise that it only seems fair play to turn something back on you. Glad you’ve found something new to dig the ol’ teeth into. (Not on this list because I’ve only started listening the last couple days, but I’m also getting a bit obsessed with Kanaan’s new album Downpour…)


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