Sunday, 21 January 2018

VVLVA - PATH OF VIRTUE (World In Sound LP, CD).

With neo-classical flourishes and heavy rock riffing Path Of Virtue, the debut album from German band Vvlva, is a total throwback to when Post-Psychedelic British rock bands such as Deep Purple and Uriah Heep ruled the world……….and it’s great! Channeling early 70s British rock with a tip of the hat to German bands like Birth Control, Path Of Virtue is a heavy, Psychedelic tinged beast of a record that blends epic, spherical Hammond organ passages with hard driven guitar riffs/solos……in no way are Vvlva reinventing the wheel but they are fitting massive Monster Truck tyres to it.

Kicking off with 'Black Sands', the kind of organ-driven classical bombast that Jon Lord and Ken Hensley in their pomp would have been proud of, Vvlva take a well worn musical style and breathe new life into it. Reliving what could be considered a golden age of British rock, Path Of Virtue comes on as part imitation/part homage to the period between around 1969 to 1974 where Psychedelia, Prog Rock and heavy Blues boogie where all mixed together into a potent, heady brew. Dominated by snarling, swirling Hammond organ Vvlva lovingly filch grooves from this era from the funky Blues of ‘Motel Floor’. through the heads down boogie of ‘Dieb der Seeen’ to the slowburning Psych/Prog of the title track. In no way original, and that is really not the point, however Path Of Virtue is a thoroughly enjoyable record that any lover of “classic” Brit hard rock is going to want to check out.

Due for release 16/02/2018 via World In Sound, Path Of Virtue will be available on vinyl (black and limited edition gold pressing) and CD from all tuned in record stores, the usual suspects on line or direct from the World In Sound web store.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

VARIOUS ARTISTS - REVERB CONSPIRACY : VOLUME 5 (Fuzz Club LP, CD).

Back for a fifth instalment, Fuzz Club’s new Reverb Conspiracy compilation hits the shops next weekend. As usual it a lovingly curated, peerless 16 track collection of some of the best fuzzed up and freaked out tunes released in the last 12 months from all around the world and other planets. Featuring a mix of Fuzz Club signings and tracks from bands on other cool, psychedelically inclined Indie labels, these compilations have been likened to a modern-day Nuggets series and hailed by The Vinyl Factory as “a time-capsule-like documentation of modern Psych”, it’s previous four volumes have included music from GOAT, Anton Newcombe, The KVB, The Cosmic Dead, Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation and Ulrika Spacek to name just a few. Psychedelia is a broad church………..whether it be Psych Rock, Garage Rock, Post Punk, Shoegaze, Krautrock or just straight up Psychedelic Rock’n’Roll, the Reverb Conspiracy collections hold a mirror up to the Psych Underground and pulls together some of the best bands currently melting minds, reflecting where Psychedelia is heading at this point in time and also providing an introduction to hot new bands you really need to check out, with Volume 5 including tracks from TRAAMS and their biting motorik Post Punk, cult Italian Psych rockers Julie’s Haircut, the harrowing psychedelic snarl of Portsmouth upstarts Melt Dunes and many, many more.

From Fuzz Club’s very own impressive international collection of bands, Reverb Conspiracy: Volume 5 includes contributions from Dead Vibrations, JuJu, Helicon, 10000 Russos, NONN, Sekel, The Gluts and Spirit Valley which even as a label sampler alone would be pretty special. Newly signed to Fuzz Club and with their debut album for the label imminent, Swedish Shoegazers Dead Vibrations open side one of Reverb Conspiracy: Volume 5 with their epic single ‘Swirl’ which first appeared on the tiny Lazy Octopus Records label last May……..channeling classic early 90s Shoegaze but tempered with an hard edged modern Psych snarl it’s pretty obvious why Fuzz Club wanted to sign this band. Also newish to Fuzz Club are Glasgow PsychHeads Helicon and JuJu (the solo project of Italian multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti) with Helicon’s contribution ‘The Bold Yin’ coming from their recently released debut album that has left a trail of blown minds in it’s wake while the JuJu track ‘Bring 'Em War is a little older, taken from the stunning debut album that first appeared early last year via Sunrise Ocean Bender. Fans of Fuzz Club’s most recent releases should be familiar with NONN, Sekel, The Gluts and, of course, the mighty 10000 Russo’s who’s devastating Distress Distress LP made you realize that everything you thought you knew about Psych Rock is wrong. Slightly falling through the cracks last year was Negatives by Amsterdam based Aussies Spirit Valley and ‘TNNLVSSN’ taken from that record will make you want to do some serious back tracking.

Sprawling over four sides of vinyl, Reverb Conspiracy: Volume 5 has plenty of space for a wide spectrum of Psychedelic hues………………the aforementioned Psych Noiseniks Melt Dunes take Nuggety Garage Rock influences from 60s bands such as the Seeds and ? And The Mysterions and beat the shit out of them with a ton of Punk attitude while Julie’s Haircut follow in the grand tradition of European psychedelic strangeness sounding a bit like Van Der Graaf Generator gone very wrong. Elsewhere the brilliant Dreamweapon contribute the pulsing Krautrock track ‘Monte da Virgem’ and Psychedelic Trips To Death provide menacing discordant Post Punk growl with ‘The Flesh’. With the rest of the record made up with tracks by Avenue Z, Black Heart Death Cult and You Said Strange, Volume 5 is another fantastic addition to the annual Reverb Conspiracy compilations…………………totally accessible, it’s a collection of tracks that is possibly tailored more towards the curious Indie Kid as you don’t need to be a complete Psych Rock obsessive to “get it” and like the previous compilations, Reverb Conspiracy: Volume 5 works as a gateway to a wider Psychedelic Universe.

Due for release 19/01/2018, Reverb Conspiracy: Volume 5 is available as 2 x LP on coloured 180g vinyl in a gatefold sleeve, limited to 600 copies and on CD limited to 500 copies. Available from all the best record stores, the usual suspects online and direct from Fuzz Club (pre-orders being taken now).

Friday, 5 January 2018

NO STRANGE - IL SENTIERO DELLE TARTARUGHE (Area Pirata Records/Psych Out Records LP, D/L).

Crikey, they don’t make records like this anymore……….(No) Strange things are certainly happening in Italy!!!!! Formed back in 1980 by ex punks Salvatore 'Ursus' D'Urso und Alberto Ezzu, No Strange delved deep into the psychedelic experience with three albums on the Italian indie Toast label between 1985 and 1990. Totally trippy and influenced by Indo/European sounds, Acid Folk and Krautrock bands like Popol Vuh and Amon Düül ll, these records drew heavily on early 70s experimental/avant-garde Psychedelia from mainland Europe. No Strange drifted apart at the start of the 90s with solo projects and loose collaborations with a mix of other musicians for the occasional live appearance before a comeback of sorts with their first album of new material for 21 years with the release of the well received Cristalli Sognanti LP in 2011. This was soon followed in 2014 by the double album 'Armonia Vivente Tra Analogie E Contrasti (Harmony Between The Living Similarities And Contrasts)' that consisted of a mix of new songs, demos from the band’s early years plus two impressive live takes recorded in 2013 and to celebrate 30 years since the release of their debut record, in 2015 No Strange issued a mini-LP of cover versions of songs that have inspired band, titled Universi e Transparenze. Fast forward to the now and there is a new No Strange album out as a joint release via the Italian labels Area Pirata Records and Psych-Out Records of the strangest, most wonderful truly psychedelic Acid Folk records you will have heard for quite a while.

Deep at it’s core Il Sentiero Delle Tartarughe is a cosmic Acid Folk record with beautiful melodies but it’s absolutely drenched in lysergic out-thereness hovering in a dream state of Ethno-Psychedelia, Folk and Avant-Garde. Throughout No Strange’s 30 year plus recording career Salvatore D'Urso and Alberto Ezzu have always taken influence/inspiration from the more experimental end of early 70s European Psychedelia with the previously mentioned Popol Vuh and Amon Düül ll coming to mind along with bands such Magma, Gila, Faust, Between, Groep 1850 and Bröselmaschine mixed with the tripped out soundtracks from Italian horror movies of the era and the new LP certainly channels this kind of atmosphere/vibe. The record is dense and a little unsettling with layer upon layer of voices/spoken word (in Italian) and abstract, weird soundscapes sounding like a lost Psychedelic gem from quite a few decades ago unearthed from obscurity………..it took a few listens to actually click, but once you get your head round it Il Sentiero Delle Tartarughe is absolutely brilliant. Ok, it’s totally far out and completely psychedelic in the true sense of the word but strangely accessible at the same time……………………essential listening if you like to explore the stranger corners of the “Psychedelic Experience” or dig Krautrock that is NOT Neu!, CAN, TD and Kraftwerk.

Out NOW, the album comes as quite a lavishly packaged white with blue, red and yellow splatter 12" LP + CD and a digital Book No Strange E Sogni Correlati housed in a cover that folds out into a large poster. Limited to only 300 hand numbered copies and available from most of the online Psych vendors or directly from Psych-Out Records and Area Pirata Records. You can also check it out/stream it/buy the LP or D/L here………………………..

THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

CAUSA SUI - VIBRACIONES DORADAS (El Paraiso Records LP, CD, D/L).

The beauty of a new Causa Sui record is that you are not quite sure what it’s going sound like until it drops. Causa Sui are back with a new mini-LP, Vibraciones Doradas,  the final chapter in a trilogy of sorts, beginning with Euporie Tide from 2013, through Return To Sky from 2016……………….and they have gone proto Metal/Prog Rock on our asses with with their heaviest, most dynamic record to date. Each of these five epic instrumentals is a testament to the fact that Causa Sui have carved out a singular niche for themselves, where vintage Sabbath-isms along with other 70s sounds are filtered through a distinctively post-modern ethos creating a vibrant soundscape that takes in a wide range of influences from each member of the band that are then duly twisted into new forms.

Kicking off with ‘The Drop’ Causa Sui drive a thick John Bonham groove into Can-esque freeform ecstasy before liquefying the groove into a warm ocean of fuzzy shoegazy guitars and wistful synths. It has all the elements of 70s “classic” Rock but bent completely out of shape. On the 11 minute centerpiece, ‘El Fuego’, they create a rushing sonic river of cascading guitars that dip and swirl as the track unwinds, channelling Popol Vuh as much as Palm Desert Stoner Rock. The next two tracks are a contrast between the lush Fripp and Eno-esque soundscaping of ‘Viborera’ and the fuzzed out squall of ‘Seven Hills’ while the closing title track that can only be described as sounding like the Sonic Youth sludge-metal record that never was. Causa Sui's new record conveys everything that's so great about fuzzed-out heaviness, however in stark contrast to the standards of the Stoner/Doom scenes it  manages to be weighty and peaceful at the same moment, forceful, yet vulnerable, ecstatic yet thoughtful. Again, Causa Sui have thrown a gigantic curve ball defying expectations……………..always different, never the same.

Vibraciones Doradas is out now on El Paraiso Records and available on vinyl and CD from all the best record shops, on-line traders or direct from the El Paraiso web store.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

HELICON - HELICON (Fuzz Club LP, D/L).

We have had half a (third) eye on the Glasgow Psych Rock band Helicon for a few years now. Staples of the UK’s underground rock scene, gathering a rapidly expanding fan base both at home and abroad since they formed back in 2009 and from then they’ve gone on to release eight EPs (we thought that ‘Kolorskope’ and ‘Seraph’, their contribution to the 2013 Mind Explosion 12” split EP with Celestial Bums, were absolutely killer tracks), tour Europe several times and share the stage with everyone from the likes of Wooden Shjips, The Warlocks and Dead Skeletons. It’s taken a while…………their debut album has finally landed via the good folks at Fuzz Club and it’s a belter!!

It’s been worth the wait…………….unlike a lot of bands who put a out full albums worth of tunes after only forming 10 minutes earlier to find that they only have an EPs worth of decent material, after several years of evolving through several line up changes, honing their craft and shaping their songs on the road, the self titled Helicon album comes fully formed and without a duff track in sight. Exploring themes of love and loss, drugs and drink, religion and politics, and life and death, Helicon’s new album is a collection of sprawling and expansive Eastern-sounding Psych-Rock with inspiration taken from the cosmic noise of their Scottish homeland (see The Jesus & Mary Chain, Mogwai etc.) to the sitar-led, opium-tainted sounds of India and the Neo-Psychedelic swoons of 90s San Francisco. It’s a mix of brutal, slashing modern Psych Rock with a muscular rhythm section and squalling guitars blended much darker, tripped out adventures in the hazy narcotic netherworld, ethereal and mesmeric at times, crushingly heavy and droning at others………“Helicon’s sound world is one of dark drones and relentless noise. It’s ambitious, gorgeous, intricately structured, and, especially with sitarist Graham Gordon in the band, wonderfully original.” Helicon's debut is a sublimely dynamic record that sounds like all the best parts of Psych history rolled into one masterpiece of an album, eight years in the making this is a record that's certain to propel Helicon's already-formidable reputation to unprecedented heights.

Helicon’s self titled debut album is out now via Fuzz Club Records on vinyl available from all good record stores, the usual suspects on line or direct from the Fuzz Club store with the digital download/album stream available here………………………

THE COLD SPELLS - THE COLD SPELLS (Gare Du Nord LP, CD, D/L).

After some excellent self recorded digital releases on their Bandcamp site since 2012, the debut Cold Spells album had been forecast for quite some time. Due for release on the willfully quirky Gare du Nord label early 2018, we can finally expect Cold Spells in February. Enigmatically titled  “- .​.​.​. . / -​.​-​. -​-​- .​-​.​. -​.​. / .​.​. .​-​-​. . .​-​.​. .​-​.​. .​.​.” (AKA The Cold Spells), their debut album has been four years in the making, lovingly handcrafted in East London bedrooms mixing together a very English brand of Psychedelic Folk with gentle Folktronica. It’s a record that sounds simultaneously out of time and timeless.

Sounding not unlike Tunng on a shoestring budget and an acid party at the local folk club, The Cold Spells infuse traditional folk influences with a woozy psychedelic feel enhanced with subtle Electronica and an array of found sounds. Beautifully mellow and serene, tracks such as ‘Wooden Horse’, ‘Roll Me Over’ and ‘Same Old, Same Old’ would not sound out of place on any of the underground Folk compilations from Folk Police Recordings or among the songs from the coterie of talented modern Folk musician’s that were assembled around The Owl Service for their stunning early records from the start of this decade. The album closes with the drop dead gorgeous ‘Maelstrom’ which drags the traditional sea shanty into the now with its mix of glitchy Electronica and minimalism blended with a solid Folk sensibility. It’s a record that would no doubt receive far more attention had it been released a few years earlier at the height of the popularity of Acid Folk/Folktronica, but nevertheless it’s a stunningly beautiful record that fans of bands such as Sproatly Smith, Starless And Bible Black along with the aforementioned Tunng and Owl Service will love………….the Psych Folk Revival revival starts here (maybe).

The Cold Spells debut album is due for release via Gare du Nord Records on 2/2/2018 available on LP and CD from all good record shops or direct from their Bandcamp page where you can also buy the digital download here………..

Sunday, 24 December 2017

THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN'S PSYCHEDELIC ALMANAC 2017 (Weird Scenes, Strange Things and Top Tunes from the Psychedelic Basement)

Well that was 2017, not a classic year for astounding records but there were enough great records to keep us more than interested. We again celebrate the obsessives that run tiny labels out of back bedrooms and garden sheds along with the fantastic bands that make the fantastic music they release. A massive thank you to every one who has taken the time to get in touch and turn us on to their records. As well as supporting emerging bands from the grassroots underground we have also included some pretty well established bands with others that are being regularly name dropped by the….erm….”taste makers” and are close to achieving more mainstream recognition. So here we go with Thee Psychedelicatessen’s Psychedelic Almanac for 2017………………………..Everything on the list is of equal merit, it’s all cool stuff and well worth your time checking out. Support the artists/labels, buy the records and enrich your lives.

THE BLACK ANGELS - Death Song (Partisan Records).

Arguably the most important Neo-Psych band of this decade, The Black Angels return with their first full-length release in four years and their debut for Partisan Records. After a short hiatus, the prime-movers behind the world renowned Levitation Festival are back with a brand new album, Death Song, who’s title acknowledges one of the band’s early influences and from where they took their name…….. ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’ from the first Velvet’s LP. Death Song is an 11-track collection of new songs that offers a sharply honed elaboration on their signature sound…….menacing fuzz guitar and cutting wordplay, steeped in a murky hallucinatory dream. Perfectly comfortable with who they are, The Black Angels feel no need to radically alter their sound to chase a bigger audience and the new album is a natural successor to the Indigo Meadow album from 2013 and the Clear Lake Forest EP from a year later, with a more expansive sound evolving organically. Recorded between Seattle and Austin, ‘Death Song’ features production from Phil Eck (Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes, The Shins) and is a real tilt at crossing over from being a cult band to more mainstream success without sacrificing any of the elements that made The Black Angels such a great band in the first place.


CARTA - The Sand Collector’s Dream (Saint Marie Records).
Outta California comes West Coast Psychedelic/Post Rock/Alt Rock band Carta with a new album of mesmerizing songs. Led by guitarist Kyle Monday, evolving from a loose collection of L.A musicians in 2002 to an actual real live band, Carta have released a series of critically acclaimed albums over the years, being favorably compared to artists such as Gregor Samsa, Tarwater, Stars of the Lid, Low and This is Your Captain Speaking along the way. The Sand Collector’s Dream is the fourth release from the band and no doubt their best to date, it’s a beautiful mix of abstract guitars and ambient electronica that is really hard to tie down to just one genre. Flitting from expansive soundscapes to twisted, stripped back Americana and most places inbetween, Carta have crafted a beautiful record of modern American psychedelic music that twists and turns elegantly through two sides of vinyl. It’s a spellbinding record, with most of the band chipping in on lead vocal duties and guest vocalist Odessa Chen, blending with the men in a series of duets, really stealing the show. Their voices blend together like a Lee Hazlewood with more “haze” and a Nancy Sinatra with more “sin”. It’s an album of vast stylistic breadth, the band’s description of their sound as “paranoid inner-vacuum micro-dub and ruminative post-space hypno-drone” doesn’t really do it justice……………. Just say it’s the missing link between Another Green World and tripped out Alt Rock, what the band so eloquently refers to as “the eternal internal struggle” as they trace a journey from entanglement to solitude, from optimism to defeat. It’s that feeling when your mind is clear but everything around you is fog.  This is the way the world ends—not with a bang, and not with a whimper, just beauty and regret”.


DA CAPTAIN TRIPS - Adventures In The Upside Down
 (Vincebus Eruptum Recordings).
“Cut from the same cloth as tripped out Acid Rock bands such as Monarch, Sendelica and Mythic Sunship, Italian cosmic jam band Da Captain Trips blend languid Dead Head fluid West Coast vibes with spacey 70s Prog/Psych influences in mind bending Adventures In The Upside Down………it’s a concept album of sorts, with seven tracks of instrumental “visionary psychedelia” based on a fantastic adventure of da good Captain floating on the border of reality in the upside down dimension. Working together with Italian Sci-Fi comic artist Roberto Bonadimani who, inspired by the music, has provided several beautiful illustrations for the album cover and the inner gatefold, Da Captain Trips have created a fantastic piece of work that evokes the look, sound and feel of classic early 70s albums that would have once surfaced on the Virgin, Vertigo and Deram labels…………”classic” Rock/Prog fans are going to go nuts for this”.

ELECTRIC MOON - Stardust Rituals (Sulatron Records).
Electric Moon’s long awaited fifth studio album has the feel of a lost 70s Psychedelic Rock album with a mix of post-Lemmy Hawkwind (where the bubble of primitive synths and squeals of an audio generator were replaced with Simon House’s Mellotron, piano and organ) and a heavy krautrock vibe (the stuff that wasn’t Neu!, Can, TD or Kraftwerk) as Electric Moon navigate a trip through the deepest depths of the outermost innermost on their journey through the inner cosmos. With swirling organ and piano, the opening track, ‘The Loop’, has almost a 60s Garage Rock feel until it explodes into a Hawkwind style cosmic chug with guitarist Sula Bassana letting loose his inner Dave Brock. Originally recorded in 2014 and already released as an instrumental version on two previous live albums, ‘Stardust (The Picture)’ has been remade and remodeled and now includes vocals and a dense fog of guitars. It’s deep, dark Space Rock at it’s best with echoes of the trance like Noise Rock of bands such as Loop……………in contrast the breezy eastern flavoured ‘Astral Hitch Hike’ is a psychedelic electric sitar headswirler. Flip the disc and you will find the epic ‘(You Will) Live Forever Now’ which, clocking in at a few seconds shy of 23 minutes, is a classic Electric Moon cosmic slowburner…………..seriously atmospheric with Lulu’s haunting, ethereal vocals way back in the mix and piano and sitar slowly giving way to Sula’s floating psychedelic guitar as the intensity builds. It’s a trip………with slashing wah wah guitar spiraling to infinity before crashing back to earth with waves of sweeping Mellotron. It’s stunningly beautiful and brutally cacophonous all at once, it’s one of the most amazing tracks the band have recorded to date. You need a copy of Stardust Rituals in your life, it’s already one of the essential records of 2017”.

FLOWERS MUST DIE - Kompost (Rocket Recordings).
Again Rocket Recordings are well on the money and have brought another excellent band to everybody s attention. Named after an Ash Ra Tempel song and coming on like a supercharged Amon Düül II, Flowers Must Die are taking Krautrock inspired Psych Rock to places way beyond any normal comprehension of Psychedelia. On the surface it seems that the band are one of the many astral travelers that criss cross the highways and byways of time and space with sprawling cosmic soundscapes beamed back from the stars………but it’s not that simple. Look past the Krautrock influences of CAN, Bröselmaschine, Faust and the other groundbreaking German bands along with the Space Rock squall of early Hawkwind you will find a cacophony of beautiful noise that takes in Soul, Disco and Jazz with inspiration from such dissident sources such as Bobby Hutcherson, Angelic Upstarts, Skip James, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Blue Öyster Cult and Oscar Sulley & The Uhuru Dance Band. Yet another discovery from the fertile Swedish freakscene by Rocket Recordings and although grounded by their love of the early 70s Underground, Flowers Must Die debut album for the label, Kompost, shows the band honing their improvisatory freak outs into more coherent songcraft amidst mind bending spectral Techno and cosmic Disco shapes, where the angular Post-Punk twisted Pop of The Sugarcubes meets the narcotic noise of prime Royal Trux at their wasted best………………cool or what???

THE GALILEO 7 - Tear Your Minds Wide Open! (Damaged Goods).
“Newly signed to the legendary Damaged Goods label, Medway mindbenders The Galileo 7 return with their fifth album of scorching 60s influenced high-energy, Psychedelic Garage Rock’n’Roll. Releasing top quality records of Psych/Pop nuggets since 2010, Tear Your Minds Wide Open! Is a welcome addition to their discography with 12 tracks of catchy, memorable tunes, seriously gnarly guitar, darkly humourous lyrics, four-part harmonies, searing swirled out Hammond organ, pin-point bass work and gloriously crash, bang, wallop drums, in a Keith Moon meets Thom Mooney (The Nazz) vein…………..it’s a glorious distillation of the period around the end of 1966 when the Mod bands started growing their hair, buying their threads from Granny Takes A Trip and swapping the thrill of speed for a more Psychedelic experience. It’s not quite full blown Psychedelia but has echoes of the period when bands like The Who, The Action, The Creation, The Small Faces, The Poets, The Pretty Things and The Attack had started dropping acid but their music still had a solid Rock ‘n’ Roll spine, way before they were getting it together in the country or working on concept albums.”

THE GREEK THEATRE - Broken Circle (Sugarbush Records).
“Broken Circle is the second and long awaited-album by Sweden’s premier West Coast Psych act The Greek Theatre. The first album, Lost Out At Sea, was a gem of an LP and took many people by surprise such is its quality. This brand new album is the sequel of sorts but goes much deeper into full-on Psychedelia yet retains…….and even improves on…….their excellent songwriting from the first album. Sounding like a long lost recording from the vaults, Broken Circle evokes the hazy daze of Stillwater, Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moby Grape and Love, with nine tracks of shimmering, sunkissed Psychedelia, this is one of the most beautifully mellow albums we have heard for quite a while……..we doubt if you will hear anything more tripped out and blessed this year.”

ALDOUS HARDING - Party (4AD).
We caught Aldous Harding live a couple of years ago with about 20 other like minded souls in the basement under the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham. It was one of the most intense gigs we have been to……..both spellbinding and a little scary in equal measures. Following her excellent self titled debut album, Party is a much more sonically adventurous record with a mix of sparse Alt Folk songs and gentle Folktronica and as Drowned In Sound said “Running to nine songs, the album features no missteps. Whilst there's nothing here that seems likely to trouble daytime radio, there's plenty that's likely to accompany you suitably through the end of a tumultuous evening or the emotive climax of an on-screen relationship in TV shows and films in years to come. There is something both abstract and individual and yet universal about the way that Harding writes and presents her trials and triumphs of the heart.” Our favorite left field Alt Folk/Folktronica LP of 2017.

JUJU - Our Mother Was A Plant (Fuzz Club).
“Sonically there is very little change in the JuJu signature sounds forged on the first album. The pulverizing bass lines, heavily-reverbed guitars, textured walls of sound, gospel drones and crooning vocals are all present and correct and with its rhythmic, otherworldly psychedelia alternating between the Teutonic sheen of Neu! and the funky Afro-Beat rhythms from Western Africa, Our Mother Was A Plant summons all kinds of spirits from down town Lagos to the neon lit streets of Dusseldorf. It’s the exploration of African/Mediterranean influences that makes JuJu stand apart from the endless Psych bands still channeling the, albeit classic, sound of Hawkwind, CAN and the Stooges, featuring a guest appearance from Capra Informis (the masked djembe player in Swedish Psych titans Goat), JuJu's second album takes you well off the beaten track into uncharted Psychedelic spheres. With it’s nagging Krautrock groove and swirling guitars, ‘Death By Beautiful Things’ is the starting point for JuJu’s latest adventure………..it’s a slowburner of a record as tracks slowly unfold into strange and beautiful shapes on Gioele Valenti’s sonic canvas with the standout tracks being the funky Gospel tinged ‘And Play A Game’, the Afro-Beat inspired ‘I Got Your Soul’ and the massive Goat style grooves of the tracks featuring Capra Informis (‘In A Ghetto’ and ‘Sunny After Moon’. Again Gioele Valenti has produced another peerless record (following the debut JuJu album couldn't have been easy) that may even be better than the first and is no doubt one of this year’s essential LPs. For existing fans of the supremely talented Gioele Valenti Our Mother Is A Plant is not going to disappoint……….for those of you that have yet to wrap your ears around the JuJu experience, you really need to check this out.”

THE LORDS OF ALTAMONT - The Wild Sounds Of The Lords Of Altamont (Heavy Psych Sounds).
“Cool……………..The Lords Of Altamont are back with a new long player. L.A’s finest bad ass biker bar band return to action with the long awaited follow up to their 2014 release The Lords Take Altamont, firmly adhering to the old maxim “If it ain’t broke…..don’t fix it”. The Wild Sound of Lords of Altamont is another hi-octane white knuckle ride mixing together 60s Garage/Punk and scuzzball 70s Heavy Rock riffing in a full on brutal sonic assault………….it ain’t big and it ain’t clever, but that ain’t the point.”

THE MOONLANDINGZ - Interplanetary Class Classics (Transgressive).
If there was a band in 2017 that split opinion between hipster wank and a genius blend of sleazy Rock ‘n’ Roll and 70s Glam Rock stomp and nowhere in between, then it’s The Moonlandingz. Certainly not everybody’s cup of tea, however they are a absolute blast……as The Guardian said about Interplanetary Class Classics “It should be an unholy mess, but songs as diverse as ‘The Strangle of Anna’ (an outsider ballad sung by Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor), ‘Black Hanz ‘(motorik Electro Psych) and ‘I.D.S.’ (about Iain Duncan Smith, with the chorus “40,000 years of Job Club”) are held together by really sharp songwriting, and laden with pop hooks. There will be more considered and crafted albums released this year, but few that are so much fun.” 

OH SEES - Orc (Castle Face Records).
“With Orc, the band consolidate the strengths of their joint 2016 releases, A Weird Exits and An Odd Entrances, streamlining their grab-bag experimentation into a more fluid flow and quasi-conceptual framework (well, at least as much as we can assume its fantastical references to castles, warriors, and beasts are somehow connected). Here, the shred-ready opener “The Static God” isn’t just another case of Oh Sees doing their motorik-maniac act, but rather a last-blast rocket ride to parts unknown, its stratosphere-breaching velocity eventually cooled by a cloud-parting organ drone that hints at the more patiently paced music to come.” - PITCHFORK

PSYCHIC LEMON - Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay
 (Tonzonen Records).
“Never has an album been so aptly titled………..well maybe not since Man’s 2 Ounces Of Plastic With A Hole In It……….Psychic Lemon’s second album, Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay, contains all the ingredients as described on the tin. Although one member down since their excellent self titled debut, Psychic Lemon have seriously bulked up into something more akin to a cacophonous blend of industrial Space Rockers and squalling Indie Noiseniks. Whereas the debut had a core of early 70s Prog/Psych influences the new record is a full on assault of screeching guitars ala early Sonic Youth mangled into submission by Andy Briston and Andy Hibberd’s earth shaking bass all propelled by the dynamic drumming of Martin Law, leaving a trail of absolute devastation in it’s wake…………….it’s the evolutionary step of going from banging rocks together to visiting distant galaxies in sleek sliver starships in one single jump and it’s an astounding progression for the band in the space of around 18 months”.

SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT - One With The Universe (Electric Magic).
It’s been a while……………….Berlin Heavy Psych/Stoner Rock juggernaut Samsara Blues Experiment are back with a new record and, frankly, it’s a bit of a mind blower. Four years on after the release of Waiting For The Flood, SBE have returned with a Blues-infused full throttle journey to the centre of the mind titled One With The Universe, its five tracks flowing seamlessly for an exotic, breathtaking and definitely progressive journey in the land of the Riff. We loved Waiting For The Flood, however it was essentially a really HEAVY Stoner Rock album with any real subtlety buried under the relentless sludge of guitars. Now stripped down to effectively a power trio since the departure of Richard Behrens with guitarist Hans Eiselt now playing bass, SBE have used the space left in their sound to stretch out and explore, still at the core a Heavy Rock band but one taking a trip further into the Psychedelic realm with a new album that fuses all the sounds and influences heard on their three previous records, plunging even deeper in their ongoing spiritual quest.

SLOWDIVE - Slowdive (Dead Oceans).
There is always a concern with “iconic” bands reforming and after, no doubt lucratively, returning to their greatest moments deciding to record new material…………..the results aint always pretty. On the odd occasion it works, the chemistry and magic that originally made the band so great has remained, however going back into the studio can lead to tensions that split the band first time or simply the creative spark has gone. In the wake of the “Shoegaze revival” that has seen many early 90s bands reform, there was a massive commotion when it was announced that there was finally going to be follow up to MBV’s seminal Loveless album which soon died down once everyone twigged that it wasn’t actually very good, sounding like out-takes from the Loveless sessions and half formed ideas recorded sometime towards the end of the 90s. Since the Jesus And Mary Chain have reformed their records have been solid if not spectacular and we are hoping that the new Ride recordings are more Nowhere than Tarantula. After 22 years since the release of their last album, another classic Shoegaze band, Slowdive, have a new album in the record stores……………….and it’s absolutely brilliant!! Still sounding like Slowdive but with a modern reboot, their self titled fourth album is the sound of a band pushing forward and still relevant, not simply revisiting former glories. The new Slowdive LP can be seen as the next step following the more experimental and massively under rated Pygmalion album, although there is nothing quite as good as ‘Souvlaki Space Station’ this is their strongest set of songs on one album the band have ever recorded”.

THE SONIC DAWN - Into The Long Night (Heavy Psych Sounds).
Outta the fertile Copenhagen Psych scene, Danish trio The Sonic Dawn have a slightly more skewed, idiosyncratic vision of 60s Garage/Psych than most bands mining the the same rich seam, their latest record, Into the Long Night, sees the band find real gems from a wider range of influences than most. On the surface The Sonic Dawn mix of 60s Freakbeat and West Coast Psychedelia, pulling in inspiration from jazzy Sitar Pop to heavy Psychedelic Rock, takes in the same acid infused influences as many of their peers, however the new album is deceptively complex, fluidly shifting between late 60s pop, mid 70s fusion and more modern Psych Rock strains crafting a style of familiar elements that is immersive yet decidedly their own”.

SULA BASSANA - Organ Accumulator (Sulatron Records).
“Time has come – once more: Sula Bassana walks the electronic trails again and produces an another album of strange electronic Krautrock! After the successful forerunner Shipwrecked (2016), which was built mostly on analog synths, the sound is a bit more laid back on this album. Organ Accumulator mixes together portable keyboards and little organs with synthesizers, drumboxes, etc..Bangs, whirrs and everything else on display here as the decade-deep Krautrocker conjures John Carpenter, Neu!, Massive Attack and the rest on this set of slow burners.”

THE SUNDOWNERS - Cut The Master (Skeleton Key Records).
“Inspired by an eclectic range of sounds and wide- ranging, very cool record collections, that takes in such diverse sounds as Shocking Blue, The United States Of America, CAN, Wendy and Bonnie, Scott Walker and Emmylou Harris among others, the band are continually honing and evolving their sound with refreshing innovative touches from driving riffs and thunderous grooves to swirling soundscapes and stellar harmonies from the ethereal voices of Skelly and Rowe. With a solid core of Psychedelic Pop sensibility running through album and the 12 tracks linked by Andy Votel’s ambient interludes, this is The Sundowners strongest set of songs to date. Cut The Master is built on the solid foundations laid down for the previous record, with depth and more shade introduced with more of an atmospheric 70s inspired witchy, spook folk vibe added to the already potent mix of 60s Rickenbacker jangle, Psychedelic Rock and Acid Folk. The album opens with the darkly psychedelic ‘Before The Storm’ and then twists and turns through two sides of excellent BritPsych that blends together pulsing motorik grooves, frantic Psych Pop and blissed out Psych Folk in gorgeous psychedelic wide-screen sound. The pick of a record full of fantastic tunes have to be the beautiful ‘Walk On In’, the modern Psych Pop groove of ‘Ritual’ and full on wig out of ‘The Watchful Eye’. Sonically innovative and fresh, Cut The Master is modern British Psych Rock at it best……………inspired by the classic sounds of the 60s/early 70s but also not afraid to evolve and experiment with the sound of their records, The Sundowners are destined to join the long list of great bands that have emerged from the fertile Liverpool Psych scene”.

VUELVETELOCA - Sonora (Fuzz Club).
“Outta Santiago, one of the greatest Psych Rock bands you’ve never heard of…….that is till now. With four albums already under their belt in a decade long career blowing minds in their home country, Chilean Psych-Rock outfit Vuelveteloca are no doubt the missing link between Black Sabbath and Neu! mixing 70s style heavy riffing with trance like rhythmic grooves. Newly signed to Fuzz Club for their fifth LP, Sonora, Vuelveteloca are destined to follow other South American noiseniks such as Follakzoid and The Holydrug Couple in gaining a global reputation with their twisted mixture of doomy Stoner Rock and the kinetic psychedelic rhythms of modern bands like Kikagaku Moyo or King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. Relentlessly hurtling forward at maximum velocity, motorik precision meets the face melting psychedelic swirl of skyscaper guitars as Vuelveteloca tear the Universe a new one with this absolute wild ride of a record.”

10000 RUSSOS - Distress Distress (Fuzz Club).
In 2017 we really have to ask “what is Psych Rock?”. It out grew the 60s template of tripped out folk and R&B a long time ago and the bands from the 80s Neo-Psych scene seem merely quaint nowadays……………..so all hail the new breed. 10,000 Russos are a formidable force within modern Psychedelia; their industrial Psych/Post-Punk has been turning on FuzzHeads across the globe with its stomping, shamanic mantras and otherworldly krautrock slant. At their core the band are a primal and celestial mix of The Fall, NEU! And Spacemen 3 and back with a new album on Fuzz Club Records the Portuguese trio have once again transcended the boundaries of Psychedelia as we know it today; their dark, droning noise is twisted, distorted and pushed to its limit. Distress Distress, a darkly dystopian record that reflects the times, is a trip into the dark heart of Psychedelia where no one gets out alive and is so ritualistic and industrial it sees 10,000 Russos patent heavy and darkly Psychedlic Post-Punk sound pushed within an inch of Techno territory at times, with its abrasive, repetitive beats and motorik grooves”.

CAUSA SUI - Live In Copenhagen (El Paraiso Records)
This is special……….two unique concert performances recorded Causa Sui’s home city of Copenhagen released as 3 x LP Box Set and also available as a triple CD package with bonus tracks. It’s the sound of a band letting the breaks off their studio recordings and flying, turning their tunes inside out as they perform in front of an audience (a rarity in itself). It’s an absolute treat for fans of the band with 140 minutes of music recorded at the release parties of Euporie Tide & Return To Sky”. 

THE LIMINANAS - Istanbul Is Sleepy EP (Because Music).
Ahead of their new album due for release early 2018, French Psych/Pop duo The Liminanas returned with a fantastic 4 track EP produced by Anton Newcombe. Coming on like a mix of Serge Gainsbourg and the Velvet Underground, The Liminanas are one of the most exiting bands to have come out of France for quite a while and get our vote for our favourite EP of 2017. 

CHILLI WILLI & THE RED HOT PEPPERS - Real Sharp (Proper Records).
“From the early 70s Camden freak scene wing of Pub Rock, Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers had a short career that closely mirrors that of Pub Rock legends Brinsley Schwarz………………both bands played unfashionable, unpretentious Country Rock in a Britain dominated by Prog and post psychedelic heavy Rock, retreating to the pubs to find an audience, both hardworking and hardgigging racking up the miles and the amount of shows played and both bands having a direct connection to the formation of Stiff Records. However, while the Brinsley’s now have cult status as a massively influential band, the Chilli’s have been near forgotten and are a mere footnote in the history of 70s British music. Originally a duo of guitarist Martin Stone and multi-instrumentalist Phil “Snakefinger” Lithman, who both had an impressive Psychedelic Rock pedigree……………….Stone had been a member of 60s Freakbeat/Psych Pop band The Action who morphed into the acid fried, couldda been contenders, Mighty Baby while Lithman had relocated to San Francisco in the early 70s and became part of The Residents inner-circle, later becoming a more permanent member following the demise of the Chilli’s………The band expanded to a five piece for live work bringing on board Paul “Diceman” Bailey (banjo, sax, guitar), Paul “Bassman” Riley (….errr….bass) and forthcoming Attractions drummer Pete Thomas. What they may of lacked in the Brinsley’s ear for a tune and the songwriting smarts of Ian Gomm/Nick Lowe, Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers made up for it in spades with sheer musical ability and could comfortably go toe to toe with the best American Cosmic Country bands of the era. By 1975 it was all over…….following the Naughty Rhythms package tour which made stars of Dr. Feelgood and also included one of the finest British Funk/Soul bands of the 70s, Kokomo, the Chilli’s split and in the 40 years since slowly faded into obscurity. It’s about time that this great band are brought to a wider audience………….Proper Records have put together Real Sharp, a beautifully packaged anthology on 2 CDs which has included most of the Chilli’s recordings that they made in their short three year lifespan. Both their studio albums, Kings Of The Robot Rhythm and Bongos Over Balham, have been remastered by Paul Riley and are included with demos, live tracks and aborted studio sessions with Mike Nesmith at the controls along with a booklet with full liner notes and the artwork the legendary inkmeister Barney Bubbles provided for posters, merch and album covers”.

GREEN SEAGULL - Scarlet/They Just Don’t Know (Mega Dodo 7” single)
According to our admittedly not very reliable sources, the Sixties are finally over……….it’s the 70s where it’s at maaaaan with proto metal riffing, trips to the furthest stars and Prog Rock concept albums. However London Psych Pop supergroup of sorts, Green Seagull have not had the memo and are still partying like it’s 1967. Channeling the spirit of Carnaby Street, Middle Earth and Granny Takes A Trip, Green Seagull create a kaleidoscopic whirl of swirling psychedelic organ and guitar with sumptuous his/her harmony vocals. When most modern British Psych Rock bands are attempting to burn planets and rip a hole in the universe with relentless sheets of noise, Green Seagull’s lovingly crafted retro sounds are quite a refreshing contrast……..if you dig The Dukes Of Stratosphear then you are going to love this band, keep ‘em peeled for their debut LP out early 2018. They released two singles this year which were both crackers……………..it was a hard decision to pick our favourite single for 2017 from the two but in the end we went for the seven inch single they introduced themselves with.

THE VACANT LOTS - Departure (Fuzz Club)

It’s been another year of amazing releases from Fuzz Club and we could have happily populated all of our end of year list with Fuzz Club product. Although there have been some great reissues this year (mainly to cater for the surge in Dad Rock vinyl sales and apparently it’s been 50 years since this Sgt Pepper bloke taught the band to play), we have chosen the Sonic Boom produced The Vacant Lots debut album mainly because we were dumb enough to miss it first time round. Originally released by Sonic Cathedral in 2014, Departure has now been reissued on 2 x LP with bonus remixes by the late great Alan Vega and Anton Newcombe. With a mix of influences that takes in Suicide, The Velvet Underground and The Jesus And Mary Chain among others, The Vacant Lots demonstrated their impeccable skill on their debut album blending them all together in a psychedelic riot of fuzzed up guitars and motorik grooves “As you might have guessed, Departure is a difficult record to analyse in any terms other than those artists who have clearly influenced its creators, but it also demonstrates that there is such a thing as being derivative but also kind of inventive. Anyone can rip off a Jesus and Mary Chain song, but few are smart enough to pair the atmosphere of their early demos with the drones of Silver Apples (‘Paint This City’), or use a White Light/White Heat-type chord progression as a canvas for sparkly, New Order-style synth magic (‘Make The Connection’).” LOUDER THAN WAR 

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present English Weather (Ace Records).
Neatly side stepping the bleedin’ obvious Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs curated our favourite compilation album of 2017. English Weather is a very personal choice of Brit Prog/Psych tracks from the late 60’s/early 70’s that avoids the behemoths of the era, concentrating on mainly the more obscure acts. With a smattering of better known bands/artists such as Caravan, Van Der Graff Generator, Camel, John Cale, Daevid Allen and Matching Mole it’s an alternative view of the post psychedelic years. 

Finally a very big thank you to everyone in Internet land that that takes the time to read our musings on psychedelic rock……………we hope we have managed to turn you on to some great music along the way.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN