Kyuss - “
” Sky Valley
Perhaps it's because this was literally the first real stoner rock record I heard, to me it is THE stoner rock record; strange and heavy sounding with a psychedelic twinge and immensely strong riffage. I still remember my first listen of it; being one of my first forays into non-commercial music, I wasn't even sure what to do with it but it was the most unique thing I'd heard and has been hugely influential since. I continue to blast it regularly while cruising in the van, clenching my fist and shaking it with every syllable as I rasp out my best Garcia impression.
Sleep - “Dopesmoker”
I first heard “Dopesmoker” in the "
format, divided up into separate tracks. It blew my fucking mind
anyway, but once I learned of the struggle involved and intent to get an
uncompromised version of the real single track full-length album released, I
respected this weedian saga even more. Every aspect of this from analog album
production of a track of this length to executing this song live demands
respect. Any true riff worshipper should consider it heresy to not hail to this
album and its creators. Jerusalem
Fu Manchu - “King of the Road”
The sunken mid range sound of the entire album marks it as a staple of stoner recording mentality, as well as the obvious driving force of fuzzed-out pentatonic riffs and a metronomic mountain of drums. For the gear head this particular album speaks volumes… defining the very clear association between enthusiasm for vintage machines and stoner rock. It has also become the undisputed theme music for a small sect of automobile enthusiasts: vanners. From the cover artwork to our anthem "Boogie Van", this is van jam number one.
The Melvins – “A Senile Animal”
They're difficult to pinpoint as solely stoner rock since the Melvins catalogue contains elements that range from totally bad ass chunky riffs and strong vocal harmonizing to drone noise and deranged octave shifts. This album made my list because it tends far towards the first two aspects like 1994's “Stoner Witch” but is especially mind warping being their first with the backing of Big Business members, adding a second drummer to increase the mad rhythm dynamics of their already incredible and unconventional Dale Crover.
Red Fang – “Murder the Mountains”
The single "Wires" was my first listen, and while that track is a great straightahead highway rocker (and the video is highly amusing), every tune on this album is a kick in the nuts. Haunting lyrics and high contrast duelling vocalists are only the beginning; the drums are so dynamic I remember them like lyrics and the music is incredibly sludgy and brutish considering it is (the only album on this list) in standard tuning. Their deceptively simple approach to constructing ripping, writhing songs is the musical equivalent of Walter Sobchak's kidnapping resolution plan to "grab one of 'em and beat it out of him."
“Launch Sequence” is available buy here