2017 Readers Poll - The Results

Once again it's time to thank everyone for their participation in the Brainwashed Annual Readers Poll. As always, the Readers Poll doesn't particularly represent what the staff and writers feel are the best and worst of the year, but we happily once again provide commentary. All the best for 2018!

Album of the Year


  1. Slowdive, "Slowdive" (Dead Oceans)

    "This was more of a solid comeback than an Album of the Year candidate for me, but I cannot think of any other band that I wanted to see return more than Slowdive." -Anthony D'Amico

    "I like the album a _lot_, however there are some fantastic albums over the last year or two by Monster Movie, Simon Scott, Minor Victories, and Black Hearted Brother that have largely gone unnoticed. At least Monster Movie's album should have placed in the top 100 this year because it was as least as strong as this record." - Jon Whitney

  2. Gas, "Narkopop" (Kompakt)
  3. Drew McDowall, "Unnatural Channel" (Dais)

    "McDowall’s first album sounded like the raw material for a great lost Coil album.  This one sounds like a good noise tape from the ‘80s.  I certainly liked it, but I am surprised that it placed this high." –Anthony D'Amico

  4. The Caretaker, "Everywhere at the end of time - Stage 3" (History Always Favours the Winners)
  5. Swans, "Deliquescence" (Young God)

    "Swans are dead, again. And again, Michael Gira marks the occasion with a live album that underscores the power of the band and highlights how, even though the studio albums are great, Swans are at heart an entity to be experienced live." - John Kealy

  6. The Caretaker, "Everywhere at the end of time - Stage 2" (History Always Favours the Winners)
  7. Emptyset, "Borders" (Thrill Jockey)

    "This is the album where Emptyset stopped sounding like cerebral, architecture-inspired sound art and started sounding like they were instead trying to reduce all of the architecture around them to rubble." –Anthony D'Amico

  8. Lawrence English, "Cruel Optimism" (Room40) 

    "English is consistently excellent and his live performance is mesmerizing and cathartic, too." - Duncan Edwards

  9. Gnod, "Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine" (Rocket)

    "I like several albums by this shape-shifting collective, but the thuggish, bludgeoning vitriol of this bombshell suits them especially well.  Just Say No sounds like Crass and early Swans mashed together into a gloriously pummeling outpouring of righteous rage." -Anthony D'Amico

  10. Godflesh, "Post Self" (Avalanche)

    "G.C. Green plus a drum machine is still one of the most crushingly heavy rhythm sections in music." -Anthony D'Amico

    "Since the last two were more old school metal-sounding Godflesh, I was expecting more of the same (not that that would be a bad thing).  However, this went in an entirely different direction, and it works extremely well."  - Creaig Dunton

  11. William Basinski, "A Shadow In Time" (Temporary Residence)

    "I was not wild about the title piece, but Basinski’s elegy for David Bowie is an achingly beautiful and dreamlike feast of simmering emotion, mesmerizing repetition, and slow-burning intensity." –Anthony D'Amico

  12. Alessandro Cortini, "Avanti" (The Point of Departure Recording Company)
  13. Wire, "Silver / Lead" (Pink Flag)

    "I am glad that Wire is remaining active and putting out new material, but I find it increasingly harder to tell one album apart from another." - Creaig Dunton

    "This one gets better for me with each listen and has such a strong finish with some of my favorite songs of the year." - Jon Whitney

  14. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, "Luciferian Towers" (Constellation)

    "On one hand, you could argue that this is Godspeed by numbers but on the other, it is a satisfying album that ticks a lot of boxes for me - it has majesty, it has power, and it moves me on multiple levels." - John Kealy

  15. The Bug vs Earth, "Concrete Desert" (Ninja Tune)

    "I really wanted to love this but I couldn't quite connect with it, despite being a big fan of both artists. I don't know what I expected but it was a touch underwhelming. Maybe I just need to play it louder?" - John Kealy

  16. Diamanda Galás, "All The Way" (Intravenal Sound Operations)

    "Nothing commands attention more on this list than this record." - Jon Whitney

  17. The Necks, "Unfold" (Ideologic Organ)
  18. Colin Stetson, "All This I Do For Glory" (52 Hz)
  19. Leyland Kirby, "We, So Tired Of All The Darkness In Our Lives" (History Always Favours the Winners)
  20. Colleen, "A flame my love, a frequency" (Thrill Jockey)

    "The best music coming out of synths are from people who can make the best music without the use of synths. It doesn't matter what instrumentation Cecile Schott chooses, it's always an excellent listen." - Jon Whitney

  21. Richard Skelton, "Towards a Frontier" (Corbel Stone Press)
  22. UUUU, "UUUU" (Editions Mego)
  23. Sarah Davachi, "All My Circles Run" (Students of Decay)

    "An absolutely mesmerizing album. I am completely hooked start to finish." - Jon Whitney

    ""For Voice" finds that elusive place where angelic beauty and darkness blur seamlessly together.  It's like a Siren is luring me into the fog to kill me with drone music that is too heavenly for human ears." -Anthony D'Amico 

  24. Aaron Dilloway, "The Gag File" (Dais)

    "Dilloway takes noise into a wonderfully charismatic, broken, and blackly funny place.  The Gag File makes me feel like a lonely phantom damned to endlessly wander through a disjointed fantasia of deserted carnivals, bad parties, and sad hotel rooms." -Anthony D'Amico

  25. Anjou, "Epithymía" (Kranky)
  26. A Winged Victory for the Sullen, "Iris" (Erased Tapes)

    "This soundtrack has some lovely passages on it that are easily equal to the "proper" Winged Victory albums but for some reason it hasn't made it to my turntable quite as often as it should have. My new year's resolution is to love my records more." - John Kealy

  27. Bill Orcutt, "Bill Orcutt" (Palilalia)

    "Bill Orcutt has long been a guitar visionary, but this album presented his art in a more accessible, melodic way without sacrificing much bite.  He unrecognizably snaps and scrabbles his way through standards like "When You Wish Upon A Star" like it is his last night on earth and he is battling for his soul: sometimes tender, sometimes visceral, always soulful, occasionally verging on the ecstatic." -Anthony D'Amico

  28. Richard H. Kirk, "Daesin" (Intone)

    "A great surprise in that Kirk channeled some of the early CV noisy guitar vibes into his solo work, an excellent added layer of depth." - Creaig Dunton

  29. Windy & Carl, "Blues for a UFO" (Blue Flea)
  30. The Tear Garden, "The Brown Acid Caveat" (Metropolis)

    "This probably was not the album that anyone was expecting Key and Ka-Spel to make, but it is quite a wonderfully eclectic, absorbing, and adventurous whole.  The disco-tinged "Strange Land" was an especially delightful left-field treat." -Anthony D'Amico    

  31. Amanda Palmer & Edward Ka-Spel, "I Can Spin A Rainbow" (8ft Records)
  32. Elodie, "Vieux Silence" (Ideologic Organ)

    "The gently rippling and shivering drone nirvana of the title piece is one of the most achingly beautiful things that I heard all year." -Anthony D'Amico  

  33. Félicia Atkinson, "Hand In Hand" (Shelter Press)

    "The best moments of this album resemble a strange dream in which a mysterious woman whispers an elusively cryptic confession in my ear.  Atkinson's recent focus on more intimate, voice-based work has taken her art in quite a striking, unnerving, and unique direction." -Anthony D'Amico

  34. Ben Frost, "The Centre Cannot Hold" (Mute)
  35. Rafael Anton Irisarri, "The Shameless Years" (Umor Rex)
  36. Ben Frost, "Threshold of Faith" (Mute)
  37. Six Organs of Admittance, "Burning The Threshold" (Drag City)
  38. Mount Eerie, "A Crow Looked At Me" (P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd.)

    "Phil Elverum's tribute to his late wife is a raw, beautiful, and deeply intimate gut-punch of an album." -Anthony D'Amico

  39. Benoît Pioulard, "Lignin Poise" (Beacon Sound)

    "Both this and Slow Spark were absolutely gorgeous.  Thomas Meluch's wobbly, hiss-drenched drone reveries are pure bliss." -Anthony D'Amico

  40. Chelsea Wolfe, "Hiss Spun" (Sargent House)
  41. Porter Ricks, "Anguilla Electrica" (Tresor)
  42. *AR, "Earth By Means of the Currents" (Corbel Stone Press)

    "Richard Skelton and Autumn Richardson's inspirations seem to get more arcane and hermetic with each release, but the warm, langourous drone heaven of "The Primary Menstruum" shows that they are still at the peak of their powers." -Anthony D'Amico 

  43. Abul Mogard, "Nervous Hydra / All This Has Passed Forever" (Ecstatic)

    "Abul Mogard quietly released some of his most rapturous and essential work this year, as "All This Has Passed Forever" is sublimely gorgeous.  His largely unheard remix tucked away on the bonus disc of Fovea Hex's Salt Garden II was great too." -Anthony D'Amico

  44. Cон, "Cон Plays Everall" (Hallow Ground)
  45. Circuit Des Yeux, "Reaching for Indigo" (Drag City)
  46. Ryuichi Sakamoto, "async" (Milan)
  47. The Inward Circles, "And Right Lines Limit And Close All Bodies" (Corbel Stone Press)

    "I think I prefer the simpler and more melodic Scaleby EP, but Right Lines occasionally recaptures the crushing elemental power that made Nimrod is Lost such a stunner." -Anthony D'Amico

  48. Wolf Eyes, "Undertow" (Lower Floor)

    "Undertow is pointlessly padded by filler, but the more substantial moments take rock music to a compellingly broken and sickly place that only Wolf Eyes can find." -Anthony D'Amico

  49. Bardo Pond, "Under The Pines" (Fire)
  50. Ex Eye, "Ex Eye" (Relapse)
  51. Benoit Pioulard, "Slow Spark, Soft Spoke" (Dauw)
  52. Andrea Belfi, "Ore" (Float)
  53. Aidan Baker / Simon Goff / Thor Harris, "Noplace" (Gizeh)
  54. Alan Vega, "IT" (Fader)
  55. Second Woman, "S/W" (Spectrum Spools)
  56. Caterina Barbieri, "Patterns of Consciousness" (Important)

    "Inspired by baroque lute music and a desire to fracture consciousness through subtle shifts in trancelike pattern repetition, Patterns of Consciousness is an overwhelming, disorienting, and subtly psychotropic tour de force." -Anthony D'Amico 

  57. Elodie, "Balayes de la Main du Hasard" (Faraway Press)
  58. Grails, "Chalice Hymnals" (Temporary Residence)
  59. Noveller, "A Pink Sunset For No One" (Fire)

    ""Deep Shelter" was the most swooningly gorgeous song of the year." -Anthony D'Amico

  60. Pan Daijing, "Lack ‎" (Pan)
  61. Earthen Sea, "An Act of Love" (kranky)
  62. The Caretaker, "Take Care, It's A Desert Out There..." (History Always Favours the Winners)
  63. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, "The Kid" (Western Vinyl)

    "This album is seemingly on every Best of 2017 list that I have seen this year and I could not get into it at all.  I am now completely paranoid that something might be wrong with me." -Anthony D'Amico

  64. Do Make Say Think, "Stubborn Persistent Illusions" (Constellation)
  65. The Inward Circles, "Scaleby" (Corbel Stone Press)
  66. Oxbow, "Thin Black Duke" (Hydra Head)
  67. TALsounds, "Love Sick" (Ba Da Bing!)

    "Natalie Chami achieved the seemingly impossible with her her debut full-length: she made synth improvisations seem sultry, sensuous, and emotionally resonant."  -Anthony D'Amico

  68. Zola Jesus, "Okovi" (Sacred Bones)

    "Very painful and personal, it's a fantastic record which has demonstrated how much she continues to evolve and mature as a singer and songwriter." - Jon Whitney

  69. Zu, "Jhator" (House Of Mythology)
  70. Ulaan Passerine, "The Landscape of Memory" (Worstward)
  71. F ingers, "Awkwardly Blissing Out" (Blackest Ever Black)
  72. The New Year, "Snow" (Undertow)
  73. Drab Majesty, "The Demonstration" (Dais)
  74. Boris, "Dear" (Sargent House)
  75. Gregg Kowalsky, "L'Orange L'Orange" (Mexican Summer)
  76. Ellen Arkbro, "For Organ and Brass" (Subtext)
  77. UnicaZürn, "Transpandorem" (Touch)
  78. Mika Vainio, "Reat" (Elektro Music Department)
  79. Demen, "Nektyr" (Kranky)
  80. Eleh, "Home Age" (Important)
  81. Ian William Craig, "Live in Durbē" (self-released)

    "I hope I get a chance to see him live some day." - Jon Whitney

  82. Big Brave, "Ardor" (Southern Lord)
  83. Simon Fisher Turner, "Giraffe" (Editions Mego)
  84. Norman Westberg, "Jasper Sits Out" (Room40)

    "Every single one of Westberg's unearthed solo releases has been a quiet gem of hypnotic, understated minimalism.  Jasper Sits Out is no different and "Homeset Trunc" might be his most gorgeously perfect piece yet." -Anthony D'Amico

  85. Actress, "AZD" (Ninja Tune)
  86. Marissa Nadler, "Leave the Light On: Bedroom Recordings" (Sacred Bones)
  87. Xiu Xiu, "Forget" (Polyvinyl)

    "It is nice to see Jamie Stewart back on another hot streak, as his album of Twin Peaks covers was stellar and Forget's "Wondering" is easily one of the most perfect "pop" songs of his career." –Anthony D’Amico 

  88. Mary Lattimore, "Collected Pieces" (Ghostly International)

    "Such a beautiful collection." - Jon Whitney

    "This modest collection of odds and ends sneakily contained some of Lattimore's finest work.  The bittersweetly lovely "Wawa By The Ocean" still kills me absolutely every time I hear it." –Anthony D'Amico  

  89. Edward Ka-Spel, "High on Station Yellow Moon" (Soleilmoon)
  90. Laurel Halo, "Dust" (Hyperdub)
  91. Thurston Moore, "Rock’n’Roll Consciousness" (Caroline)
  92. Forest Swords, "Compassion" (Ninja Tune)
  93. Astrïd & Rachel Grimes, "Through the Sparkle" (Gizeh)
  94. Ian William Craig, "Slow Vessels" (130701)

    "I absolutely melt with vocal songs like "A Single Hope." Even though this album features reinterpretations of songs on last year's Centres, it's possibly even a stronger record." - Jon Whitney

  95. Drøne, "A Perfect Blind" (Pomperipossa)
  96. ADULT., "Detroit House Guests" (Mute)
  97. thisquietarmy, "Democracy of Dust" (Midira)
  98. Claire M. Singer, "Fairge" (Touch)
  99. Vatican Shadow, "Luxor Necropolitics" (Hospital)

    "As one of the VS apologists, I found this the weaker of this year's two solo releases.  But it has a nice throwback sound to the early tapes I guess." - Creaig Dunton

  100. Xordox, "Neospection" (Editions Mego)


Single of the Year

  1. https://brainwashed.com/brain/images/carla_dal_forno-the_garden.jpgCarla dal Forno, "The Garden" (Blackest Ever Black)

    "Four great songs in a row.  An absolutely perfect EP."  -Anthony D'Amico

    "This was a real surprise for me, a beautiful release in every respect. "We Shouldn't Have to Wait" is one of my songs of the year, and the reimagining of Einstürzende Neubauten's "The Garden" is wonderful." - John Kealy

    "I love this EP more and more with each listen. I can't wait for the next full-length and to hopefully finally see her live." - Jon Whitney

  2. Emptyset, "Skin" (Thrill Jockey)

    "Trying to make an entirely acoustic EP was certainly a challenging and adventurous move, but I hope the experiment is now over.  Emptyset is infinitely better without such constraints." –Anthony D’Amico

  3. Coil, "Another Brown World/Baby Food" (Sub Rosa)

    "It's very nice to see this available on vinyl, two great dips into the weird world of Coil. I'm not entirely sold on the artwork though but it sounds terrific." - John Kealy

  4. Fovea Hex, "The Salt Garden II" (Headphone Dust)

    "While I think Carla dal Forno deserves the top spot, this stunning EP should be at least at second place. I've harped on about how astounding Fovea Hex are since the very beginning and I continue to be amazed by what Clodagh Simonds and her group of elves unveil to the world." - John Kealy

  5. Coil, "Cold Cell in Bangkok" (Optimo)

    "Well, this exists." - John Kealy

    "Exciting to see someone finally overtake Muslimgauze in posthumous productivity.  2017 was truly a year of surprises." -Anthony D'Amico

  6. Kara-Lis Coverdale, "Grafts" (Boomkat Editions)

    "This EP completely floored me.  Grafts sounds sounds like a languorous and heavenly bit of chamber pop filtered through a dream where time fluidly blurs, stretches, and undulates." –Anthony D'Amico

  7. Slowdive, "Sugar for the Pill" (Dead Oceans)
  8. Second Woman, "E/P" (Spectrum Spools)
  9. Cон, "Cонgs" (Editions Mego)
  10. Pye Corner Audio, "Island of Ghosts" (Analogical Force)
  11. Biosphere, "Black Mesa" (Biophon)
  12. Windy & Carl, "Godzilla of Snow/Witch & A Cauldron" (Blue Flea)
  13. Biosphere, "The Petrified Forest" (Biophon)
  14. Wolf Eyes, "Strange Days II" (Lower Floor)
  15. Deepchord, "Northern Shores" (Soma)
  16. Soft Kill, "Five Point" (Weyrd Son)
  17. Soft Kill, "Insider" (Self-released)
  18. The Residents, "Santa Dog '17" (Cryptic Corp)
  19. Grouper, "Children" (Self-released)
  20. Nurse With Wound, "Franz Kafka - Rapport À Une Académie" (Lenka Lente)

    "These little EPs and books are wonderfully odd and offer a nice, low key way for Steve Stapleton to tease us with new pieces of music - a surrogate for appearing on loads of compilations like in the olden days. The 3" CD format is a bit annoying though in this age of slot CD drives." - John Kealy

  21. Ian William Craig / Olivier Alary, "Remixes" (130701)
  22. Saint Etienne, "Dive" (Heavenly)
  23. Factory Floor, "2525+5" (DFA)
  24. Ulrich Schnauss, "For Nothing" (Scripted Realities)
  25. Four Tet, "Two Thousand And Seventeen" (Text)
  26. Jac Berrocal, David Fenech, Vincent Epplay, "Why ‎" (Blackest Ever Black)
  27. Vatican Shadow, "Rubbish of the Floodwaters" (Ostgut Ton)

    "I did find myself enjoying the lengthy final song on this one, pretty much just straight up minimal techno in a good way." - Creaig Dunton

  28. Yelle, "Ici & Maintenant" (Recreation Center)
  29. Cate Le Bon, "Rock Pool" (Drag City)
  30. Raime, "Notion 2 Notion ‎" (Blackest Ever Black)
  31. Cold Cave, "Glory" (Heartworm Press)
  32. Equiknoxx and Mark Ernestus, "Mark Ernestus Remixes" (DDS)

    "Ernestus's remix of "Flagged Up" is simmering, undulating dub techno heaven." –Anthony D'Amico 

  33. Soft Kill, "Texas Killing Fields" (Self-released)
  34. Daphni, "Hey Drum" (Jiaolong)
  35. Oren Ambarchi, "Stacte Karaoke II" (Black Truffle)
  36. Amanda Palmer, "Drowning In The Sound" (Self-released)
  37. Amanda Palmer & Edward Ka-Spel, "The Hands" (8ft Records)
  38. Deepchord, "Campfire" (Soma)
  39. Delia Gonzalez, "Hidden Song" (DFA)
  40. Saint Etienne, "Magpie Eyes" (Heavenly)
  41. JK Flesh, "Exit Stance" (Downwards)
  42. John T. Gast, "wygdn ‎" (Blackest Ever Black)
  43. Sophie, "It's Okay To Cry" (Transgressive)
  44. Acteurs, "Corridor" (MILD VILNC)
  45. Pessimist, "Through The Fog / Peter Hitchens ‎" (Blackest Ever Black)
  46. Suzanne Ciani, "Fish Music" (Finders Keepers)
  47. CCFX, "CCFX" (DFA)
  48. Loren Connors, "Angels That Fall" (Family Vineyard)
  49. The The, "We Can't Stop What's Coming" (Lazarus)

    "While the physical release of this seems to have evaporated almost immediately, I have been streaming the hell out of this. I'm lukewarm on The The after Dusk but this is up there with classic The The for me." - John Kealy

  50. Goat, "Goatfuzz" (Rocket Recordings)


Vault/Reissue of the Year

  1. Cosey Fanni Tutti, Cosey Fanni Tutti, "Time To Tell" (Industrial)

    "This looks stunning, sounds great, and comes at a perfect time when Cosey Fanni Tutti is getting the attention and praise she has always deserved. Listening to this after reading her book, it is impressive to note how consistent and measured her work in every medium has been since the first Throbbing Gristle releases to now." - John Kealy

    "I had never heard this album before this year and it totally blindsided me.  I think I actually like this more than Throbbing Gristle." -Anthony D'Amico

    "It's a fantastic record to begin with and a beautifully done package and remaster." - Jon Whitney

  2. Current 93, "Thunder Perfect Mind" (The Spheres)

    "Not sure how I feel about the updated back cover, but it's still nice to have this on a record without paying ridiculous prices." - Jon Whitney

    "This is not quite my favorite Current 93 album, but it is one of the first ones that I ever heard, so it totally blew my mind and will always hold a special place in my heart.  And now it will finally hold a special place in my vinyl shelf as well.  Current 93's golden age started here and "All The Stars are Dead Now" remains one of David Tibet's most transcendent and timeless flashes of brilliance." –Anthony D'Amico

  3. Nurse With Wound, "Spiral insana" (Rotorelief)
  4. Can, "Singles" (Mute)

    "Nice to have for archival purposes but this didn't do a whole lot for me." - John Kealy

    "Such a weird release considering Can were never a singles band.  Nice for the few single-only releases ("Turtles Have Short Legs" is perfect), but the albums are by far the better choice." - Creaig Dunton

  5. Akira Rabelais, "Spellewauerynsherde" (Boomkat)

    "Rabelais' haunting and vaporous processing of some forgotten Icelandic folk choir tapes sounds like a field recording from the spirit world.  If there is a heaven, it probably sounds exactly like this." –Anthony D'Amico

  6. Psychic TV, "Allegory and Self" (Dais/Sacred Bones)

    "Psychic TV's would-be pop breakthrough turned out to be kind of a half-baked, band-destroying mess, but "Just Like Arcadia" is certainly a wonderful glimpse into what may have been if things had not gone so dreadfully wrong." -Anthony D'Amico

  7. Bark Psychosis, "Hex" (Fire)
  8. Coil, "Time Machines" (Dais)

    "PERSISTENCE IS ALL." - John Kealy

    "Why yes, this is indeed my favorite Coil album.  Thanks for asking." -Anthony D'Amico

  9. Keiji Haino, "Watashi Dake?" (Black Editions)

    "Given how hard even the CD reissue from the '90s is to find now, this is a gift to fans of experimental and improvisational music. Even in Haino's vast and varied back catalogue, this is a seriously unusual piece of work and well deserving of the fancy reissue treatment." - John Kealy

    "An especially bizarre and cathartic album by an artist who has made an entire career out of being bizarre and cathartic." -Anthony D'Amico

  10. Leyland Kirby, "Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was (Part Three: Memories Live Longer Than Dreams)" (History Always Favours the Winners)
  11. Diamanda Galás, "At Saint Thomas the Apostle Harlem" (Intravenal Sound Operations)
  12. Psychic TV, "Pagan Day" (Dais/Sacred Bones)

    "Despite being a modest and uneven collection of 4-track sketches that was initially only available for a single day, Pagan Day features some of the most enduring and charismatic moments of Alex Fergusson-era PTV.  "Farewell" and "New Sexuality" are both legitimate classics." -Anthony D'Amico   

  13. Leyland Kirby, "Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was (Part Two: Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was)" (History Always Favours the Winners)
  14. Midori Takada, "Through The Looking Glass" (We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want)
  15. Curve, "Doppelgänger" (3 Loop)
  16. Charlemagne Palestine, "Strumming Music" (Aguirre)

    "Do I really need to say how vital this is? It's really fucking vital." - John Kealy

  17. Spacemen 3, "Playing With Fire" (Space Age)
  18. Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda, "The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda" (Luaka Bop)

    "This collection of Coltrane's largely unheard private-press cassettes of ashram music was one of the year's most revelatory surprises, resembling an almost psychedelic blurring together of gospel and Eastern devotional music." -Anthony D'Amico

  19. Terry Riley, "Persian Surgery Dervishes" (Aguirre)
  20. Nazoranai, "Beginning To Fall In Line Before Me, So Decorously, The Nature Of All That Must Be Transformed" (W. 25th)

    "Haino's trios with Oren Ambarchi are as good as Fushitsusha, if not better in places. Nazoranai (with Stephen O'Malley) so far lack the range and scope of the Haino/Ambarchi/O'Rourke trio but they certainly bring the crushing void of nihilism straight into your living room." - John Kealy

  21. Spacemen 3, "For All the Fucked Up Children" (Space Age)
  22. Biosphere, "Cirque" (Biophon)
  23. Tony Conrad, "Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain" (Superior Viaduct)

    "It's always nice to hear more Tony Conrad, especially now that he has left us for another infinite plain. This is a brilliant document of the New York avant garde scene, hopefully it is just a taste of more to come." - John Kealy

  24. Bohren & Der Club of Gore, "Geisterfaust" (PIAS)
  25. Flying Saucer Attack, "In Search of Spaces" (VHF)
  26. Spacemen 3, "Recurring" (Space Age)

    "As I recall this was their final release. A memorable mix of "Just To See You Smile" to which I am still addicted." - Duncan Edwards 

  27. Elodie, "La Porte Ouverte" (Faraway Press)
  28. Nurse With Wound, "The Swinging Reflective II" (Dirter)
  29. Annie Anxiety, "Soul Possession" (Dais)
  30. Dub Syndicate, "The Pounding System" (On-U Sound)

    "The best thing about this album is that it made me go back and listen to some of the classic Creation Rebel records that Adrian Sherwood produced.  This has some cool moments, but nothing compared Starship Africa or Psychedelic Jonkanoo." -Anthony D'Amico

  31. The Tear Garden, "Eye Spy vol. 2" (Subconscious)
  32. Curve, "Cuckoo" (3 Loop)
  33. Laraaji, "Ambient 3: Day of Radiance" (Glitterbeat)
  34. Suicide, "First Rehearsal Tapes" (Superior Viaduct)
  35. Jon Hassell, "Dream Theory in Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two" (Glitterbeat)

    "Cosmic, pulsing, head-cleansing travel - without the mosquitos. " - Duncan Edwards 

  36. Dub Syndicate, "Displaced Masters" (On-U Sound)
  37. Dub Syndicate, "North of the River Thames" (On-U Sound)

    "Less exciting than first-generation dub, but this release is a bit more than just a great pun on the Augustus Pablo classic." - Duncan Edwards

  38. Svarte Greiner, "Knive" (Miasmah)

    "A dark and mesmerizing scrape of an album. Fierce, dazzling, brutal, even hilarious, but not for the faint of heart." - Duncan Edwards

  39. Spiritualized, "Fucked Up Inside" (Glass Redux)
  40. Dub Syndicate, "Tunes from the Missing Channel" (On-U Sound)
  41. Biosphere, "Compilation 1991-2004" (Biophon)
  42. Dub Syndicate, "One Way System" (On-U Sound)
  43. Belbury Poly, "The Owl's Map" (Ghost Box)
  44. Grails, "Take Refuge in Clean Living" (Temporary Residence)
  45. Nocturnal Emissions, "Nocturnal Emissions" (Mannequin)
  46. Harry Partch, "And On The Seventh Day Petals Fell In Petaluma" (New World)
  47. Glenn Jones, "Against Which The Sea Continually Beats" (Thrill Jockey)
  48. The Melvins, "Eggnog/Lice All" (Boner)
  49. Glenn Jones, "This Is the Wind That Blows It Out" (Thrill Jockey)
  50. Luc Ferrari, "Hétérozygote / Petite Symphonie" (Recollection GRM)


Various Artist Compilation of the Year


  1. "Mono No Aware" (Pan)
  2. "Tokyo Flashback" (Black Editions)

    "This was the big bang for modern psychedelicism. Black Editions have turned it into a bigger bang. Scorching music given a loving and beautiful vinyl reissue. It cost me a small fortune to get it in Europe but it was worth it. That said, Black Editions, if you're reading, please sort out something to make getting these releases available outside the US at a price that doesn't require a mortgage!" - John Kealy

    "I was actually somewhat underwhelmed by Tokyo Flashback when I first heard it, as I was expecting the Holy Grail of Japanese psychedelia.  I am sure that it seemed like exactly that when it first appeared, but some of that albums that followed in its wake (Mainliner, Musica Transonic, etc.) make this collection feel comparatively tame now." -Anthony D'Amico

  3. "The Folklore of Plants Vol.I" (Folklore Tapes)

    "A mesmerizing tapestry of strange, eclectic, and mysterious vignettes inspired by the plant world." -Anthony D'Amico

  4. "Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973" (Light In The Attic)
  5. "Sammlung: Elektronische Kassettenmusik, Dusseldorf 1982-1989" (Bureau B)
  6. "Girls In The Garage Volume 10 - Groovy Gallic Gals!" (Past & Present)
  7. "Girls In The Garage Volume 9 - Oriental Special" (Past & Present)
  8. "Bingo! French Punk Exploitation 1978-1981" (Born Bad)
  9. "Studio One Rocksteady Volume 2 (Rocksteady, Soul And Early Reggae At Studio One: The Soul Of Young Jamaica)" (Soul Jazz)
  10. "Studio One Supreme (Maximum 70s & 80s Early Dancehall Sounds)" (Soul Jazz)
  11. "Pop Makossa: The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon 1976-1984" (Analog Africa)

    "Another characteristically great collection from Analog Africa.  The dance beat of Cameroon is welcome to invade my apartment whenever it wants." -Anthony D'Amico

  12. "Magnetband - Experimenteller Elektronik-Underground DDR 1984-1989" (Bureau B)
  13. "Total 17" (Kompakt)
  14. "The Gamelan Of The Walking Warriors: Gamelan Beleganjur And The Music Of The Ngaben Funerary Ritual In Bali" (Akuphone)
  15. "Lessons" (Front and Follow)
  16. "Warfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares" (Numero Group)
  17. "A Can of Worms" (The Tapeworm)
  18. "Monika Werkstatt" (Monika Enterprise)
  19. "Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s" (Mayway)
  20. "Inner Peace: Rare Spiritual Funk And Jazz Gems - The Supreme Sound Of Producer Bob Shad" (We Want Sounds)
  21. "Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes From The Horn Of Africa" (Ostinato)

    "This was quite a delightful surprise indeed.  It is heartening to see another label turn up with such an unerring ear for unearthing international treasures, especially since Soundway and Sublime Frequencies have been so comparatively quiet lately." -Anthony D'Amico

  22. "Pop Ambient 2018" (Kompakt)
  23. "Speicher 100" (Kompakt)
  24. "Ancient Lights and the Black Core" (Sub Rosa)
  25. "Seafaring Strangers: Private Yacht" (Numero Group)


Boxed Set of the Year

  1. The Caretaker, The Caretaker, "Everywhere At the End of Time Stages 1-3" (History Always Favours the Winners)

    "To use a darts analogy, The Caretaker's arrows hit the target. His Stairway To The Stars blue vinyl set was the equivalent of a nine dart finish. Stage 1 of this box set is another bullseye. I take my time with his releases and am always rewarded."
    - Duncan Edwards  

  2. Nurse With Wound, "Dark Fat" (Dirtier)
  3. Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, "Das Ist DAF" (Grönland)
  4. The Residents, "80 Aching Orphans" (Cherry Red)
  5. Pere Ubu, "Drive, He Said" (Fire)
  6. Dub Syndicate, "Ambience In Dub" (On-U Sound)
  7. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Lovely Creatures" (Mute)
  8. Prurient, "Rainbow Mirror" (Hospital)
  9. Hüsker Dü, "Savage Young Dü" (Numero Group)
  10. Moon Duo, "Occult Architechture Vol. 1 & 2" (Sacred Bones)
  11. The Sun Ra Arkestra, "Singles Volume 2: The Definitive 45s Collection 1962-1991" (Strut)

    "With several brilliant exceptions even as far back as 1959, Sun Ra albums are a risk, since they can be patchy or poorly recorded. One of the joys of my life was seeing him perform, even in his declining health, but the most exciting thing about the first collection was the hilarious shock of the title. Sun Ra? Singles? I shall not be shelling out to discover if Vol 2 is any better." - Duncan Edwards 

  12. Coil/Black Sun Productions, "Plastic Spider Thing" (Rustblade)

    "Yes because out of all the out-of-print Coil releases, this was the one that needed a box set. This is an awful album and really isn't a Coil release at all." - John Kealy

  13. Shelleyan Orphan, "Shelleyan Orphan" (One Little Indian)
  14. Big Star, "Complete Third: Vol. 3: Final Masters" (Omnivore)

    "The deconstructed and agonizing pop-soul of Alex Chilton - who naturally ended up in New Orleans listening to gospel music and local neo-garage groups." - Duncan Edwards

  15. Blancmange, "The Blanc Tapes" (Edsel)
  16. Merzbow, "Pornoise 1 KG" (ZSF)

    "Mid 1980s Merzbow is the best Merzbow, so this is a solid six hours of that." - Creaig Dunton

  17. Death, "Human" (Relapse)
  18. The Durutti Column, "Domo Arigato" (Factory Benelux)

    "Intricate crystalline guitar compositions. At times absolute genius, crushingly sad, joyous, slightly pointless, but always better than the few accompanying and jarringly bland saxophone outbursts which are not nearly infrequent enough for my liking." - Duncan Edwards

  19. Zos Kia, "23" (Infinite Fog)
  20. Roland Kayn, "A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound" (Frozen Reeds)
  21. The The, "Radio Cineola Trilogy" (Lazarus)

    "Aside from the new single, this was a big load of mediocrity. Very disappointing." - John Kealy

  22. The New Blockaders, "Epater Les Bourgeois" (Obskyr)
  23. Rudolf Eb.er, "How to Die" (Dead Mind)
  24. Jandek, "London Residency" (Corwood)
  25. [V/A], "Nigeria Soul Power 70" (Soul Jazz)


Artist of the Year

Leyland James Kirby
Leyland James Kirby/The Caretaker

Label of the Year

  1. History Always Favours the Winners
  2. Thrill Jockey
  3. Mute
  4. Editions Mego
  5. Dais
  6. Fire
  7. Blackest Ever Black
  8. Room40
  9. Corbel Stone Press
  10. Kranky


New Artist of the Year




Lifetime Achievement Recognition

Diamanda Galas

Diamanda Galás

"It is hard to put into words how important Diamanda Galás is to me. From the moment I first heard her version of "I Put a Spell on You" and my conceptions about vocals came crashing down, I knew she was a force of nature that deserved to be placed in the upper echelons of musical performers. Somewhere between a hurricane and Nina Simone, an earthquake and Leonard Cohen, a tidal wave and the Coltranes, she is a supreme example of artistic power and personal integrity." - John Kealy

"As an impressionable, socially awkward, synth-pop loving teenager in the 1980s, I discovered her when exploring more Mute releases. To me, her recordings then were both terrifying and exhilarating, genre-defying, aurally challenging, and rich with, for lack of better words, substance and meaning. Her music introduced me to new worlds of music, art, and culture that was nowhere in rural America and it likely had a part in influencing my desire to move to bigger cities to discover more for myself. I was fortunate enough to watch her boundary-breaking Plague Mass live in NYC before a new era was born with The Singer, which elevated her from cult hero to iconic status.  While that album reintroduced the world to Diamanda as a pianist, she continued to record and perform in other styles over the years since. Her piano and vocal music continues to strengthen immeasurably, the levels of emotion and precision are unmatched by anyone alive. She remains peerless and powerful, and 2017 was another banner year with two brilliant albums and multiple performances. If you're reading this, Diamanda, thank you for the years of giving your heart, soul, and everything else to us." - Jon Whitney

"Diamanda Galás is simply one of those artists without any point of comparison.  Her natural vocal talent is of course what she is most known for, but I cannot think of another artist who can so easily transition from beautifully performed standards to music more frightening and sinister than any black metal/power electronics/death industrial/whatever could dream of creating.  Add that to a nearly 40 year career that shows no signs of slowing down and her dedication to bringing light to important social issues, and the final result is an artist who has rightfully attained legendary status, but one who continues to create amazing works of art.  I cannot think of anyone else more appropriate for this recognition." - Creaig Dunton

"Always iconic, uncompromising, deeply sincere, and almost supernaturally intense.  There is no one else on earth quite like Diamanda Galás, nor is there anything quite like a Diamanda Galás concert.  I am delighted to be alive at the same time that she is." -Anthony D'Amico

Worst Album of the Year

  1. Circle, Circle, "Terminal" (Ektro)

    "Wait, what? This was great!" - John Kealy

  2. Royal Trux, "Platinum Tips and Ice Cream" (Drag City)

    "I definitely wish they wrote better songs, but Royal Trux are way too cool and brilliantly ridiculous to dislike." -Anthony D'Amico

  3. Diet Cig, "Swear I'm Good" (Frenchkiss)
  4. Cuchillo de Fuego, "Megavedra" (Humo)
  5. Errorsmith, "Superlative Fatigue ‎" (Pan)
  6. Destroyer, "Ken" (Merge)

    "No.  Dan Bejar is one of the most consistently delightful and charismatic songwriters around." -Anthony D'Amico

  7. Jabu, "Sleep Heavy ‎" (Blackest Ever Black)
  8. Saicobab, "Sab Se Purani Bab" (Thrill Jockey)
  9. Simone Trabucchi, "I ‎" (Pan)
  10. HackedePicciotto, "Menetekel" (Potomak)