Say Psych: Feature: Top 5 Albums of 2020

5. Sei Still – S/T

Though their taut, driving motoric music might scream of 70’s West Germany, Sei Still are, in from Mexico City. Their machine-like sonic experimentations emerging not out acid-fuelled jam sessions in some underground communal space tucked away in this or that German city but, instead, three friends taking a random trip to desolate Mexican woodland to work on a couple of songs that would end up leading them to start a fully-fledged band. They create a sound deceptively complex and hauntingly beautiful, as soon as the record finishes you want to go straight back in and listen again to hear the bits you missed first time round. It has the same effect after ten listens, a sure sign of the highest quality offering.


4. The Janitors – Noisolation Sessions Vol. 1

Noisolation Sessions Vol.1 is a testament of three months in disturbing times. In March 2020 The Janitors had their new Album written and studio time booked ready to unleash their latest shamanic fuzz meltdowns, then COVID-19 hit and everything changed. They figured they would go down into their own studio to work on those tunes some more until things passed over. While working there they recorded what they felt was a most apt tune for that moment back in Spring 2020, a cover of Joy Division’s ‘Isolation’, it felt epic and the reaction they got confirmed it. It re-energised The Janitors and in doing so the creative juices flowed and a though kicked in – that the next week they just start writing new songs, but with the same dogmatic rules, one night of recording, one week of mixing and then it’s done; a challenge of just letting the creativity flow and then leaving the song as a testament to that moment. As a testament to the times, Noisolation Sessions Vol.1 makes a stand. With music, particularly underground music, sinking to the bottom of the pile for many in power, this is a poignant message that fights to be heard. To create is to resist. To resist is to create.


3. Servo – Alien

Alien deals in the kind of dark, psychedelic noise-rock that storms with ease between gloomy, hypnotic moments and bouts of powerful, motorik noise. The seven-track LP finds an unstable home between heavy, droning psych-rock and gothic post-punk; forlorn, jangling guitars and deep, austere vocals breaking down into piercing blasts of feedback and distortion. Servo have spent the last few years bringing their intense live-show – an assault of hypnotic noise and blinding flashes of light – to growing audiences around mainland Europe and the UK. After watching them live I couldn’t believe that they could capture the energy on record, yet Alien surpasses all expectations.


2. The Vacant Lots – Interzone

Interzone is the third full-length album by New York’s electro post-punk duo The Vacant Lots, a genre-blending synthesis of dance and psych made for secluded listeners and all-night partygoers, meant for headphones and the club. Created with aid from Alan Vega’s Arp synthesier and mixed by Maurizio Baggio (Boy Harsher), it continues the bands mission of “minimal means maximum effect”to create an industrial amalgam of icy electronics and cold beats with detached vocals and hard hitting guitars, delving into escapism, isolation, relationship conflicts, and decay with nods to William S. Burroughs and a Joy Division song along the way. This is the perfect summer record; strong grooves that traverse genre taking all the best elements of psychedelia, post-punk, electronica and even a bit of disco to create a record so familiar, so refreshing, yet somehow so unique.


  1. Kill Your Boyfriend – Killadelica

A two-piece psych tinged, post-punk outfit formed in 2011 in Venice. In Killadelica, the focus of the songs shifts from the person being killed, to the killer. It is the band’s first album that features female names as track titles, which are taken from real female serial killers. There are no two tracks alike, just as is the case with the people whose stories are being told. There is no doubt that Killadelica is dark, and yet whilst exploring a topic that most would consider macabre, Killadelica‘s sound explodes into kaleidoscopic and luminous reflections of light, creating a weighty juxtaposition that makes the album a must listen to for anyone of a psychedelic, post-punk or even industrial persuasion. This is the kind of music, that if I was talented enough to make it myself, it would sound exactly like this – simply put, perfect.

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