Best Albums of 2014
as selected by Viktor Palák

Flash the Readies <BR>“Submarine Sky”

Flash the Readies
“Submarine Sky”

An inconspicuously looking postrock band with a potential to make it big, Flash the Readies have come a long way since their previous album – a Pink Floyd-sounding “In Belvedere”.

Not afraid of abandoning their old sound, they have created a captivating forty minute sonic journey where calm passages precede emotional eruptions in the spirit of the genre’s best.

♪♫ Listen: “You Are the Food” + album stream

Flash the Readies on www, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud.

Kalle <BR>“Live from the Room”

“Live from the Room”

Originally released on less than a hundred tapes, Kalle’s fragile debut truly rocked the Czech scene. The duo’s lo-fi sincerity has created an atmosphere of both very intimate and most universal feelings and will soon be released on a limited number of vinyls.

If we had to name one band whose name appears on virtually all best of lists for the Czech scene of 2014, Kalle would be the one.

♪♫ Listen: “Fat Wizard” + album stream

Kalle on Bandcamp, Facebook and beehype.

Lightning Glove <BR>“Radical Zoo (Nothing)”

Lightning Glove
“Radical Zoo (Nothing)”

Not many Czech bands succeed to publish their music on a foreign label. In 2014 Dva’s exceptional “Nipomo” got released by the US label Nothern Sky, while Lightning Glove published their first vinyl on Ono Tesla – a label connected to the numerous enterprises by Birmingham’s unique act Gnod (themselves releasing on Rocket Recordings).

“Radical Zoo (Nothing)” is a physical, almost bruising piece of industrial techno evocative of the works by William Gibson. And not to forget, the band’s youngest member also released a solo debut “A.L.” under his pseudonym Dizzcock in 2014.

♪♫ Listen: “Brave New World” + album stream

Lightning Glove on Bandcamp, Facebook.

Master’s Hammer <BR>“Vagus vetus”

Master’s Hammer
“Vagus vetus”

The Czech band probably most often quoted in foreign press and literature are the venerable black metal legends Master’s Hammer. Their latest album is already an eight entry (including EPs or a release of their demos) to their admirable discography after an unexpected comeback in 2009.

Lacking the self-indulgence of numerous genre compatriots, the act fronted by font designer František Štorm is locally applauded for its exceptional lyrics, but Master’s Hammer excel in the complexity of their unmistakable style. And to mention one more solitaire heavy Czech band – if jazz grind does not put you off, try Massola.

♪♫ Listen: “Panuška

Master’s Hammer on www.

Monikino kino <BR>“Prázdniny”

Monikino kino

2014 has oft been accentuated as a year of duos in the Czech republic: Kalle, Leto, Kieslowski or Monikino kino were amongst the most praised ones with the latter consisting of Slovak singer Monika Midriaková and Czech musician and film director Petr Marek of Midi Lidi fame.

Their debut album, “Prázdniny”, has been a playful and deep conceptual record about a decline of a relationship, something anyone can relate to.

♪♫ Listen: “Kancelář” + album stream

Monikino kino on Bandcamp, Facebook, Soundcloud and beehype.

Nod Nod <BR>“Nod Nod”

Nod Nod
“Nod Nod”

Closely associated with Kalle (the duo forms two fifths of Nod Nod, while the remaining members play in a postmetal band called Five Seconds to Leave), Nod Nod have also debuted in 2014.

The self-titled album was released digitally and later on vinyl and was applauded domestically as well as internationally as an exceptional example of emotionally driven and stylistically unique heavy guitar sound. And giving these characteristics, you might also want to try two Czech shoegaze revelations – both DIV I DED and Manon Meurt have released their debuts in 2014 as well.

♪♫ Listen: “Soldier” + album stream

Nod Nod on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Prodavač <BR>“Malý ráje”

“Malý ráje”

Already known to beehype followers, Prodavač is a band stemming from the remains of a popular indie-pop act Sporto. Joyful and free-hearted, but by no means naive, this is the kind of music to relate to very personally.

As the band manages to speak in an instantly understandable manner while sticking to their original sound, their full-length debut “Malý ráje” is full of unlikely pop hits.

♪♫ Listen: “Šteřim slova” + album stream

Prodavač on www, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

Rouilleux <BR>“Scatter Your Soul”

“Scatter Your Soul”

Since the days of their debut, Rouilleux have transformed significantly – not only thanks to the acquisition of a number of other key musicians from the Czech experimental scene. While we might call them a rock band, they surely do not follow any rules and their style ranges from strict experimental to grunge infused rock.

“Scatter Your Soul”, the successor to their 2011 debut “Zugswang”, is a distressing album with a very contemporary feeling – in case you don’t observe the present times through rose-tinted glasses.

♪♫ Listen: “Eat” + album stream

Rouilleux on Facebook, Bandcamp.

Schwarzprior <BR>“iddqd”


Already known in their circles for quite some time, Schwarzprior – coming from the brusque region around the city of Ostrava – have finally debuted with an album named after a cheat code from the first-person shooter Doom.

Rather radically disconnected from traditional Czech guitar underground scene, their abrasive music is filled with dark basses, 8bit electronics as well as gothic and industrial overtones.

♪♫ Listen: “Železem rty” + album stream

Schwarzprior on Bandcamp, Facebook.

Tomáš Vtípil <BR>“Syntax Error”

Tomáš Vtípil
“Syntax Error”

A true original, Tomáš Vtípil is known as a member of Czech underground favourites DG 307, but is most striking as a solo musician. On his second album, “Syntax Error”, Vtípil creates music often resembling an uprising of the machines, while remaining a delicate poet and suave violinist.

Give him a listen, and give this listen some time to get under your skin. Very few musicians are capable of making you wanna dance and tripping you up at the same time.

♪♫ Listen: “Chyba

Tomáš Vtípil on www, Soundcloud.